On the hill top next to Montegiove you will find the old medieval hamlet of Greppolischieto. The village was renovated some 40 years ago by the Fendi family and is currently used as private holiday homes, with only one family living there permanently.
It has an unreality above it, almost completely out of time. As our friend and blogger Ishita from Italophilia writes after we visited Greppolischieto together:
“Greppolischieto has a tiny piazza, picturesque lanes and stunning countryside views. There are no bars or trattorias here, only uninhabited homes and lost stories. The little village is an absolute stunner yet slightly haunting too. Everything is eerily quiet and empty. It is undoubtedly a special corner of Umbria!”
One of our favourite walks is the trip back and forth to Greppolischieto to enjoy the stunning view over the Trasimeno lake and the fairy tale like nature on the way up there.
Meringues or kisses as they are called in Denmark are so easy to make and they are absolutely fat free, just egg whites, sugar and in this recipe I have added some chopped pistachio. Whats not to like!
3 Egg whites (room temperature)
120 g sugar
25 g finely chopped pistacchio nuts
Preheat the oven to 100 degrees celcius and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until completely stiff, then while beating the eggs add sugar, a tablespoon at a time. Mix until the meringue mixture forms stiff peaks.
Carefully mix/fold in the chopped pistachio nuts.
Using a piping bag pipe a dollop of the meringue mixture onto your baking sheet.
Bake for around 60-90 minutes, remove from the oven and allow the meringues to cool before serving.
Today the weather has been absolutely stunning with March sun and spring in the air, and we started replanting and planning the patio outside the “La Casetta” apartment. We have reused the old wine barrels from the wine cellar as planters so absolutely top level recycling. The castle carpenter cut them in two and fixed all the hoops to the barrels so nothing will fall apart over time. Now the new plants just need some time and more of the nice Italian sun to grow into nice big bushy plants.
This summer we had the honor to have Australian artist Beatrix Rowe and her fantastic sister Ruby staying with us for a month. Two super sweet girls full of energy and creativity.
Beatrix decorated the walls in the laundry room and in the pool house and made a fabulous coat of arms in the wine cellar with an updated Misciattelli Mocenigo Soranzo family crest. No wonder she has such great success with her own fashion brand “Prawn Cocktail”, check her out on https://prawncocktail.net
At Castello di Montegiove we are lucky to have our own truffle reserve with black truffles. We very often organise truffle hunts for our guests and it is always a great adventure to experience how the truffle hunter and his dogs are collaborating to find the funny little round truffles growing below the ground. For this recipe I am using the black Montegiove truffles.
375 g Risotto rice
50 g Fresh black truffles, grated (leave some to grate over the risotto for serving)
1 small onion, chopped
4 tblsp. Olive oil
1 ½ l boiling warm Broth
½ glass of white vine
20 g Grated Parmesan cheese (or as much as you like)
30 g of butter
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Heat the oil and half of the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat, add the onion and let it fry for a couple of minutes, add rise and let it all cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the wine and let it evaporate, then add ½ cup of boiling broth to the rice and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth ½ cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 15-20 minutes.
At the same time heat the rest of the oil and butter in a small pot and add the grated truffles. Warm up over a low heat, add the truffle mix to the risotto.
Remove the pan from the heat, add the Parmesan cheese, stir well, season to taste with salt and pepper, leave the risotto with the lid on for a minute to rest, then serve on warm plates and grate fresh truffles on the top.
The best thing about these first days of the wine harvest is the newly pressed red grape juice “il mosto di vino rosso” a delicacy closely linked to autumn. For us at Castello di Montegiove it marks the moment when the grapes pass from the vineyard to the cellar.
In the evening we gather around the big table in the kitchen with a glass of fresh pressed sweet grape must and drink it together with roasted chestnuts from the Umbrian mountains around Montegiove. We eat them with a pinch of salt and somehow, we always end up eating way too many, the combination of the sweet must and the salty chestnuts is just delicious.