Pranzo in Trevi, Umbria

trevi church

As Paola and I walked through Spello, we were hailed with a merry beep! Beep! Beep! And a “Ciao, Cara!!”

spello car

It was Sicilian Angelo, looking, if possible, younger and more enthusiastic than the last time I saw him. I banged my head on the window frame of his little car in my eagerness to greet him. I asked him about his family and found out that his daughter now runs a restaurant in Trevi, specializing in fish.

I like fish.

Then and there I decided we needed to meet Angelo’s daughter and sample her fine fishes. Even if they were actually peaches.

Keith and I decided on when, and I mentioned this to Paola, who told Angelo, who told his daughter, who told Angelo, who told Paola that she was looking forward to having us.

This was not a lie. When we walked into Maggiolini, she was waiting at the bottom of the stairs to welcome us with her father’s infectious grin. We settled in our seats and Patrizia guided us through her menu recommendations and I asked after her mother (the woman who, you’ll remember, was responsible for the overwhelmingly incredible New Year’s cenone).

We began our meal with fish bruschetta that rocked my toasted-bread world. Napped in a green sauce, the fish was bright, and a touch of anchovy added just the right umami depth. Exquisite. Our primi were creative and delicious—from Siena’s gnocchi with clams and mushrooms to Keith’s paccheri with squid in a pistachio pesto sauce. Even though I was full, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sample the roast trout, It’s such a classic Umbrian dish—just a trout seasoned with a spring of rosemary and roasted, but every bite is packed with flavor.

For my contorno, I was quick to order the agretti, as I've never seen it outside Italy. It's a succulent that grows in the Mediterranean basin, and though I've cooked it once, I've never had it prepared by someone who knows what she's doing. It was lip-smackingly delicious, topped with dots of lemony sauce. Gabe loved it so much he finished mine, even though he was completely stuffed after his meal of seafood pasta and a huge salad.

We declined desert, but she brought us some chocolate truffles and we patted our bellies and declared all to be right with the world.

Thanking Patrizia profusely we took our leave and strolled around Trevi. The town lies midway up a mountain, so it looks over fields dotted with sheep and is backed by a sheer green slope. It’s a village of tight turns, faded frescos, and a frequent burbling over of wisteria. It made me wonder why we didn’t spend more time in Trevi when we lived in Spello. There’s lots to explore—a theater, a museum, and really just every time I turned a corner I’d have to stop and admire the textures and colors.

There’s so much history in Trevi I wish I understood. I hope that by frequent visits back to dine at Maggiolini, I’ll gain an even deeper appreciation for the big glories of this little village.