Gubbio Food Experience is the name of a gourmet collective in the Italian town of Gubbio in Umbria which organises itinerant dinners across the city in the spring, summer and autumn, plus food festivals and events all year round.
Gubbio Food Experience partners with four of the city’s top restaurants to achieve this, and coordinates with Gubbio’s annual National White Truffle Festival, which takes place between the last weekend in October and the first weekend in November. This year, Gubbio’s White Truffle Festival runs from October 31 – November 3 2019.
So put Gubbio Food Experience on your Umbria bucket list when planning the best things to do in the Umbria region and get ready for the meal of your life!
Gubbio Food Experience: the Gubbio White Truffle Fair
While Gubbio has been celebrating this prestigious, seasonal ingredient – the white truffle – for nearly four decades, under the new management of Gubbio Food Experience, the last couple of years have seen a bunch of additional initiatives mushroom above and beyond the usual truffle fair.
Highlights of the fair last year included a massive tent, featuring food producers and experts from all over Italy selling their wares; an ample choice of restaurants in the historical centre for dining on truffles; plus an incredibly well coordinated effort in the city’s streets. Definitely one of the best things to do in Umbria.
Right across Gubbio, 22 historical stores and workshops – dubbed the Vie dei Sapori, literally the roads of flavour – offered special tastings, pop-up lunch spots, special offers and more as Gubbio went truffle mad for a week at the end of October.
The event opened with a gala dinner in a castle overseen by a top chef and prepared by a team of local chefs – undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Umbria. There was also an impressive show cooking afternoon with Italian TV chef, Simone Rugiati, who coordinated a dinner prepared by the same four top Gubbio chefs, which was then served to the thrilled audience.
As well as representing my first taste of a Gubbio Food Experience event, the Gubbio truffle fair served as the introduction to a host of incredible artisans, restaurateurs, producers and experts in Gubbio which will definitely bring me back to this unique town in Umbria, and which I hope will inspire you to try a Gubbio Food Experience for yourself, and tick one of the best things to do in Umbria off your bucket list.
Gubbio Food Experience: four essential restaurants in Gubbio
The Gubbio Food Experience folk regularly partner with four of Gubbio’s most prestigious restaurants which are a great bet any time of the year when visiting Gubbio.
These include Officina dei Sapori, where Giacomo Ramacci reigns in the kitchens, serving robust local cuisine with meat dishes a speciality. Another key Gubbio restaurant is Cucina 89 where you will find yourselves in the very safe hands of Daniele Cernicchi who excels in serving seasonal, local ingredients.
My weekend in Gubbio started with a lunch at La Locanda del Duca, a gourmet Gubbio restaurant serving hearty dishes with considerable flair, with chef Roberta Picchi at the helm. Located on perhaps Gubbio’s prettiest street, with views of Gubbio’s castle, this cosy restaurant is a must for lunch or dinner when visiting Gubbio.
The meal started with this tremendous dish of fresh egg pasta tagliolini, served with shavings of black truffle, porcini mushrooms and crispy pancetta, all topped with an edible chrysanthemum flower.
Then we moved onto a delicious serving of pork fillet wrapped in pancetta, roasted with chestnuts and Jerusalem artichoke before concluding with a raspberry and chocolate tart for dessert. Simply sublime and an excellent way to savour seasonal ingredients. Definitely one of the best things to do in Umbria.
I also got to dine at Dulcis in Fundo, presided over by chef Alessio Manucci, which is an elegant modern restaurant which serves abundant truffle dishes in truffle season, and offers typical Umbrian food all year round.
Here, I kicked off with a delicate Chianina beef tartare served with a chiffonade of raw vegetables. This was paired with a sensational Sangiovese wine. I then moved on to a dish of wild salmon, caught in nearby seaside town Ancona, served with pumpkin puree. For dessert, I plumped for a soft sponge served with zabaglione cream and cocoa, while my dining companion ate a wonderful white chocolate and truffle special.
This was a delicious dinner and rounded off a perfect weekend in Gubbio with Gubbio Food Experience.
Gubbio Food Experience: gateway to the city’s artisans
The white truffle festival’s Vie dei Sapori, coordinated by Gubbio Food Experience, were made up of 22 local stores, workshops and local producers who handed out lots of samples and tasting portions for the city’s visitors, as well as popping tables and chairs out in the streets for people that wanted to pause and eat during the Gubbio truffle festival.
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From handmade home decor to the freshest pasta, I encountered a street full of local heroes that I can’t wait to meet again when I go back to Gubbio. Definitely one of the best things to do in Umbria.
Macelleria ‘Da Pompeo’ is one of Gubbio’s oldest butchers, and was acquired by current owners the Bei Angeloni family three decades ago. Expect sublime, local cuts of meat, cured pig-cheek, known as guanciola, plus plenty of wonderful home-cured salamis, containing truffle, liver, wild boar and figs as well as regular sausage pork. As an official supplier of top local producer Gubbio Salumi, you’re in great hands. Perhaps the real star of the show is butcher Marcello, who will not only advise you on the best cut of meat for dinner but also serve you with a little local gossip!
Macelleria Da Pompeo | Via Cavour, 6 | Gubbio
La Paesana is a fresh pasta workshop which prepares fresh egg pasta daily in line with local traditions. This wonderful store is also a great place to pick up conserves, jams, and convenient sauces to dress the pasta once you take it home.
La Paesana | Via Castel D’Alfiolo 42 | Gubbio, Italy
Don Navarro is Gubbio’s cult craft beer joint, a welcoming drinking hole with a rotation of Italian and international craft beers on tap. We tried an easy drinking local brew dubbed Italian Don, an Italian pale ale which is made just along the road in Perugia, by Fabbrica Birra Perugia. A visit to Don Navarro is just a great way to get to grips with the rising Italian craft beer scene and if you really love it, they even have rooms above the bar with private taps of beer next to the bed! Full details below in the Where to stay in Gubbio section. Definitely one of the best things to do in Umbria.
Don Navarro | Piazza Bosone | Gubbio, Italy
Gypsea is a traditional stucco workshop which has been serving the people of Gubbio for more than two decades. Its easy to fall in love with Patrizia’s charming handmade designs, which range from small gifts and souvenirs to home decor masterpieces.
Gypsea | Largo del Bargello 1 | Gubbio, Italy
Pasticceria Gentilotti is one of the town’s oldest bakeries and confectioners and was one of my favourite stops in Gubbio. There are great regional differences in Italian sweet and pastry making, so visiting this magical store was an opportunity to try some amazing local goodies. These including a wonderful savoury panettone made from cheese, baked like soft brioche bread, which would make a wonderful accompaniment to salami, cheeses and chutneys.
We also tried the seasonal delicacy, fave de morti, traditional almond cookies baked around Halloween time, the Gubbio favourite, rose di Sant’Ubaldo, named after Gubbio’s patron saint, and sugar-coated mostaccioli di San Francesco. All just delicious!
Pasticceria Gentilotti | via Risorgimento 14 | Gubbio, Italy
Delizie al Tartufo is the ultimate savoury truffle store for the truffle mad person in your life. From truffle oil through to a truffle liqueur, truffle-based condiments, salami infused with truffle and more, it’s pretty difficult to leave this shop without having made a purchase!
Delizie al Tartufo | Via Cavour, 3 | Gubbio, Italy
Martintempo Lounge Bar is the perfect bar for lounging in the afternoon or evening, with a raised decking area outdoors for warmer weather or some great people watching. Find your cosy corner for an afternoon tea, a pre-dinner drink, or come here for cocktails after dark. Expect a Gubbio cool crowd but also warm and friendly service with a smile. Definitely one of the best things to do in Umbria.
Martintempo Lounge Bar | Via Baldassini 42 | Gubbio, Italy
Gubbio Food Experience: next events
Gubbio Food Experience has been wowing the people of Gubbio and visitors to the city with a series of itinerant dinners which are set to continue all through 2020. Give a like to the Gubbio Food Experience facebook page to keep up to date on their next delicious encounters, or simply if you’re planning a trip to Gubbio and are looking for the best things to do in Umbria.
Where to stay in Gubbio
BUDGET: Hotel Alla Casella
This budget stay in Gubbio enjoys one of the best locations in town, right on the edge of the medieval centre. It’s just outside the walls so taxis can easily arrive and serves an abundant breakfast. Many of the rooms have beamed ceilings, and a few of the bedrooms overlook the charming river that runs along the edge of Gubbio’s historic centre. It’s the perfect low cost stay in town with doubles starting from €40. See more photos and reviews or book here. Via Mazzatinti 2 | Gubbio, Italy
FUNKY: La Sosta Navarra Bed & Beer
La Sosta Navarra Bed & Beer is a craft beer drinkers dream and bills itself as one of the only Bed & Beers in Italy. With only a handful of rooms, it’s perfect for young travellers who like to party, as the beds are located directly above the bar. It’s also located right in the medieval heart of Gubbio. The real USP is the fact that there are private taps in every room from which guests can serve themselves their own late night ale. I have to admit, I can’t wait to come back! Doubles from €70. See more photos and reviews or book here. Piazza Bosone | Gubbio, Italy
PAMPER: Park Hotel ai Cappuccini
Offering a large indoor pool, the four star Park Hotel ai Cappuccini is set in a converted 17th-century monastery, near the historical centre of Gubbio. It features the largest wellness centre in town. The rooms of the Park Hotel are located in the cloister or in the modern wing of the monastery. Free parking is available. In-house dining options include Restaurant Nicolao, offering a wide range of traditional Umbrian dishes. Doubles from €160. See more photos and reviews or book here. Via Tifernate | Gubbio, Italy