On a June evening we found ourselves strolling the streets of Orvieto in search of espresso cups. Wandering from shop to shop we came upon Bellochia ceramics. There we purchased a magnificent centerpiece for our dining table and received an excellent tout from the owner, Elizabeth. Just right up a tiny jasmine-lined viccolo and near the end is La Pergola. It was early when we arrived and in our pitiful Italian we asked if we could come in and just enjoy a bottle of wine until they were open for dinner. The staff began to explain that this was a restaurant and NOT a wine bar. Once we made it clear that we wanted to eat they insisted that we come in and they would open the kitchen. Open it they did. I started my meal with prosciutto and melon....sweet, dark orange cantaloupe wrapped in salty air-cured ham...so refreshing on a warm evening and one of my favorite flavor combinations. I followed the melon with a primi pasta course of homemade tagliatelle in a roasted tomato and pepper sauce. I do not normally eat red sauce but this was exceptional as it was richly flavored with pork sausage....slightly hotly spiced pork sausage. My wife had the baccala (salted cod) wrapped in a shell of shredded potatoes and baked. That didn't sound too appetizing to me but she insisted that I taste it. It was surprisingly good. My secondi was an entrecote, beautifully prepared, crispy outside and reddish-pink inside, drizzled with the local oil, fresh cracked pepper and coarse salt and finished with a generous shaving of black truffle. Perfetto! All this washed down with a well-priced Sagrantino de Montefalco red, the Umbrian wine made from dried grapes. For dessert, a sheep's milk cake drizzled in molten chocolate and heavy cream. A very good steer, a very good, family run restaurant....just what we like about Italy!
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