My Home From Umbria with Grub Club
It’s warm, the sun is still bright at 6pm and Exmouth Market is buzzing in a manner I would normally associate with a European market square. Londoners are happy! All chattering away over glasses of wine or beer, sat under this large and beautiful church, which is the venue for tonights event. It’s the perfect setting for an Italian feast.
And speaking of buzz, our host Assia is the kind of person who makes excitement fizz in your blood. She is warm as today is, and as energetic and positive as any other Italian I have met. Is it just me, or does a certain friendly mischief seem to beam from every Italian’s face, as if to invite you out to play and break the rules? Maybe it’s all that sunshine.
She greets us personally at the door, taking my hand to bring me inside. Everyone is offered a complimentary glass of red wine to go with wild boar salami from her family farm, La Casella, and Pecorino della Val d’Orcia. Both are divine. It’s actually quite difficult to stop myself stuffing the wild boar salami into my bag for later, it is so delicious. Olive oils from the farm are also available for purchase.
We have decided to buy the wine provided by Assia – the Redi Nobile Montepulciano. I had been sceptical about taking a bite of Pecorino with a sip of possibly stripping red, but the wine is soft and fruity rather than overly tannic. Primarily made from sangiovese grapes from the rolling hills around the village of Montepulciano, not to be confused with d’Abrusso’s leathery red wine made from the montepulciano grape (that I do also love), it is considered one of Italy’s best reds. It tastes even better with the salami.
Everyone here is just as passionate about the provenance of food as they are about how it is cooked, in a genuine way and not at all obnoxious, which makes the experience interesting and real. The menu brings ingredients from Umbria that shine through simple, well cooked dishes.
Unlike most Italian food I have come across, these dishes aren’t what you would call ‘bold’, though the artichoke stuffed rabbit is beautifully complex – they are subtle and pleasant. Peppery olive oil, smoked provolone cheese, grassy asparagus, tart artichoke, and lightly gamey rabbit – every flavour is delicately pronounced in a well planned menu.
All this paired with the ambiance of an old church hall lit with fairly lights and candles and the vibrance of Assia, and you really feel you are at a friend’s dinner party in Italy, with exceptional food, chatter and plenty of gorgeous wine. The only niggle I might add is that dinner was served at such a late hour that by the time dessert was served we had to wolf it down and rush out the door. But then, it was really all worth the wait.
My Home from Umbria – The Menu
Aperitivo with DOC italian wine Pecorino della Val d’Orcia and La Casella salame
Courgette flan over a base of italian cheese cream
Timballo made with asparagus and smoked provola cheese
Rabbit stuffed with artichoke with a fresh fruit and green salad
Crostata with handmade custard cream and seasonal fruits
A bit on Grub Club – my new favourite source for dinners out:
Assia’s “My Home from Umbria” epitomises Grub Club style – beautiful home-style cooking with professional flair, communal tables set out for Londoners and any hangers on to experience unique and exciting culinary events. Make sure to check Grub Club out for an alternative (and in some ways superior) dining experience. There are loads of events to choose from, all with tantalising menus in a range of cooking styles. I’ll be turning up to my next one very soon, and hosting one myself if I get the chance! Thank you Grub Club and Assia for a beautiful evening!
Join Assia this Friday, 15th of May for another fabulous supper club! Book here!