Dining in Italy: Vissani**

The next stop with tre forchette in our culinary tour is Casa Vissani, by lake Colbara on the road between Orvieto and Todi in Umbria. Because the restaurant is located outside a town, it is very convenient that it also has some luxurious guest rooms. The hotel and restaurant are very different from Reale, where we were a few days ago. Instead of minimalist and a bit distant, here it’s luxurious and warm. This is also why “casa” is included in the name, it’s as if we’re visiting chef Gianfranco Vissani’s home. We have booked a “1 night for 2”, which includes aperitif, 5-course degustation, bed and breakfast for 2 for 495 euros. Matching wines with the meal are 75 euros per person.

The aperitif is a good Franciacorta made from pinot noir. The first amuse bouche is a nice mushroom omelette. This is served in the ‘salon’.

The second one is a fake egg, actually made from cheese, with some pancetta.

And finally parmigiana di melanzana, one of my favorites and cooked very well.

Then we move to our restaurant table. On this Tuesday night only one other table is occupied, also with a Dutch couple. The grissini are the best we’ve had so far, with pistacchio, peanut, and semolina flour.

The final amuse bouche are ham mousse with cucumber, red prawn with peas and dried leeks, and cheesy ravioli. All very nice. 9/10

The first course of the degustation is a play on a traditional dish from Calabria called “Lagane e cicciari”, a wide pasta from Calabria (lagane is closely related to lasagne, but made from semolina flour and water instead of 00 flour and eggs as in Bologna) with (black) chick peas. The pasta is included in two ways in the dish: crunchy deep fried and very soft, almost like a cream. Raw sea bass completes the dish. It works very well with a Vermentino from Tuscany. The wine is rounder than Vermentino from Liguria, and that works very well with the creamy pasta and fish. 9/10

The second course is one of contrasts. Lobster, foie gras, mashed potato with garlic, and citrus ice cream. The advice is to take a bite of everything at once, which produces a nice contrast between hot and cold, between fresh and round, between chewy and tender. The lobster is slightly overcooked to my taste, but that does enhance the contrast with the foie gras. I am not sure if this was deliberate, or caused by the absence of the chef. The wine pairing with a white ‘cuvée secrète’ from a nearby winery in Umbria is again excellent. The sommelier of Vissani has restored our faith that wine pairings are in fact possible in Italian restaurants! 9/10

Risotto with parmigiano foam, caviar, chives, and veal demi-glace. Perfectly cooked risotto and a great combination of flavors. Unfortunately (but understandably) there is not enough caviar to include it in every bite. With the caviar, the wine pairing is outstanding with a chardonnay from Umbria that is like a Meursault (except that it is from a ‘tufo’ rather than chalky terroir). 9/10

Duck breast that is nicely perfumed with rosemary, with yellow tomato and shrimp. The duck breast is perfectly cooked with nice crispy skin. The combination with the yellow tomato jelly thingy is okay. The wine pairing with a sangiovese-bordeaux blend from Umbria is nice. 8/10

The sweets and desserts are nice, and a good pairing with a moscato passito from Umbria.

The desserts include a berry panna cotta and orange ice cream with crispy chocolate. 8/10

We had a great evening at Vissani. The service is excellent and friendly with a personal touch, 9/10. As mentioned above, the wine pairings were very good and outstanding for Italy, 9/10. The food is very good. Just like the atmosphere it is very enjoyable and a bit classic. 9/10 for the food, which is in line with the two Michelin stars.

3 thoughts on “Dining in Italy: Vissani**

  1. Have been ‘daydreaming’ over this one for the last five minutes! Nothing seems contrived, somehow one gets the feeling of being in a very luxurious country home: like the look of the eggplant, the marvellous looking risotto and the ‘lasagne . . . . methinks you must be very happy with your choices of restaurants on this holiday 🙂 !’ . . .


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