A trip to Italy is at the very top of my bucket list. The wine, the food, the ancient architecture – it all beckons to me on a regular basis. Until I make it there, I’ll be spending a lot of time at Via Umbria in Georgetown.
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This new cafe and market brings the best of Italy to DC by offering cooking classes, authentic Italian products and luxurious Italian dinners in a beautiful and welcoming space.
Via Umbria also offers an extensive selection of Italian wines, many from lesser known regions. I was surprised by how affordable many of the bottles were.
I was invited to try one of Via Umbria’s Italian dinners highlighting cuisine from Liguria, a small coastal region in the Northeast part of the country near the border of France.
Dinner started out with a brief wine tasting of Ligurian wines for purchase to pair with dinner. I had never tried these varietals before, but enjoyed them both very much. We chose a bottle of the Pigato, which was light, crisp and refreshing.
We were also excited to find a very affordable bottle of Sciava that my friend Diane had recently recommended. This wine is beautiful, and if you ever see it you should definitely grab a bottle or five. It goes with practically anything, and is also pretty delicious on its own.
After choosing our wine, we went upstairs for dinner. The beautiful, bright space and gorgeous table piled with Ligurian antipasti was a true delight.
I loved the communal seating, which gave us the opportunity to chat with the other diners at the table. We sat next to a lovely couple from Denmark and across from the dinner’s host Alessandro Anfosso. Sharing food, wine and stories with fellow food lovers always makes me positively giddy.
Via Umbria’s head chef Johanna Hellrigl outdid herself with the night’s spread. The antipasti course consisted of baked mussels with pomodoro and Parmigiano Reggiano, tuna stuffed peppers, calamari and crostini with an assortment of spreads from Alessandro’s family company based out of Liguria.
The primo course offered a paste duo of traditional Pansotti ravioli in walnut sauce and Ligurian trofie pasta with sage pesto. The pesto was out of this world. We picked up a jar to recreate this dish at home.
For secondo, an involtini of salmon with olives and sun-dried tomatoes, served over spinach.
This may have been the first salmon dish I’ve ever eaten in its entirety, the sun-dried tomatoes and salty olives wooing me past my distaste for salmon.
After a dessert course of Italian cookies, we returned to the shop to shop some of the flavors we’d tasted at dinner and spent the entire ride home talking about everything we want to buy next time and events we want to try out.
If you’re looking to learn more about Italian cuisine or purchase hard-to-find Italian products, meats and cheeses you cannot go wrong with Via Umbria. Check out their upcoming events page for a list of upcoming wine tastings, cooking classes and special dinners.
About the Author
Kacy Kish writes for Mezze Weekly in Washington, D.C. and with our readers she shares her own international culture experiences through food, drink, while highlighting cultural events and more to check out around the DC area. Kacy also writes for her blog, Bad Sentences where you can follow her own journey through food, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.