Friday, October 13, 2017

Panicale Opera Festival & Ristorante Lillo Tatini

Built in 1858 in the historic centre of Panicale, Teatro Cesare Caporali holds the honour for being Italy’s second smallest theatre. There were originally twelve box seats built for the twelve most influential families of Panicale but eventually that expanded as popularity for the refined entertainment grew. With an elegant and richly decorated interior, the Teatro Caporali now hosts many events during the year, including the annual Pan Opera Festival for which we had tickets to Rossini's 'L'occasione fa il ladro'. A short one-act burletta meaning "little joke", it's a comic opera of what happens when the wrong suitcase is picked up and the subsequent tale of mistaken identity. When Don Parmenione and Count Alberto cross paths at an inn on a stormy night they set off a train of events that will determine their future happiness. A thoroughly enjoyable production in the tiny but exquisite Teatro Caporali, Rossini brilliantly contrasts the characters intentions in this burletta to convey, for all of the opera's comedy, a very serious message: that true love will always win the day.

Pan Opera Festival 2017 in the historic Teatro Cesare Caporali of Panicale 
collaborates with artists from all over Italy

As a culinary encore to our operatic evening, we strolled over for late dinner at Ristorante Lillo Tatini, our true love and favourite restaurant in Panicale. Welcomed by Bianca, the lovely daughter of owners Patricia and Vittorio who were on holiday, we enjoyed a bubbly glass of Prosecco as we swooned over Lillo's menu of exceptional Umbrian-Tuscan dishes. Wanting to spread our wings and try starters we hadn't ordered before, we chose the Collo di pollo ripieno di carne, verdurine bollite e salsa verde, a typical Umbrian "fried bread" with cauliflower and pecorino cheese, as well as the Patate, tartufo e lenticchie con pecorino fuss, a lovely dish of potatoes, truffles and lentils served over melted pecorino. The wine list at Lillo Tatini is always a joy to look over, and this evening we selected a bottle of Croce di Febo Amoremio Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 2010, a rich full elegant wine made with the best organic Sangiovese grapes, picked by hand in the winemakers vineyard in Montepulciano. To follow, we ordered the handmade Tagliatella with Cintasenese Pork and Chianina Beef Sauce, my favourite pasta from when we had lunch at Lillo earlier in the month, and the Cappelletti Ripieni di Carni Miste al Tartufo, an outstanding traditional Umbrian handmade pasta stuffed with Chianina Beef and Cintasenese Pork with truffles, that was full-flavoured and absolutely delicious. As a dolce to finish our sensational dinner, we shared a Semifreddo con Pistachio garnished with an artful swirl of spun caramel. Sitting next to us was a table of six who had also been to the opera, and we shared how much we enjoyed the show but especially how we all adore dining at Lillo Tatini — forever and always. Grazie Bianca.

Enjoying a glass of wine at Lillo Tatini Enoteca on Piazza Umberto before the opera 

Tickets for two to the Pan Opera Festival at the Teatro Cesare Caporali in Panicale

Goretti Fontanella Bianco Umbria, a fruity and floral combination of Trebbiano and Grechetto 

Watching the world go by with a glass of wine at our lovely table on the Piazza

Teatro Caporali is just through the arch from Piazza Umberto on via Cesare Caporali

Theatre-goers sharing a glass of bubbly outside the Teatro before the performance

The small but exquisite Teatro Caporali designed by Alceste Ricci in 1856

A mix-up with bags leaves Count Alberto's suitcase in Parmenione's possession, and with his servant Martino, open it to discover the portrait of a beautiful young woman

A tale of mistaken identity: Berenice changes places with her maid, and Parmenione pretends to be Count Alberto with very different reasons for pretending to be someone else – Parmenione to enjoy the thrill of the chase, Berenice to test the steadfastness of the man she is to marry

The magical setting of Lillo Tatini on Piazza Umberto I in the historic centre of Panicale

The beautiful suede menu at Lillo Tatini is like unwrapping a gift of untold gastronomic pleasures

Warm, sophisticated and inviting, Lillo Tatini is a culinary paradise with an exceptional menu 
of superbly prepared dishes 

Bianca graciously brought two lovely glasses of chilled prosecco for us as we arrived for dinner

The homemade warm breads are utterly irresistible 

Chef Ardent's sensational anchovy butter

Bianca opening our bottle of Croce di Febo Amoremio Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 2010

A full, rich and elegant wine made with the best organic Sangiovese grapes, picked by hand in the winemakers vineyard in Montepulciano

Collo di pollo ripieno di carne, verdurine bollite e salsa verde
(typical umbrian "fried bread" with cauliflower and pecorino cheese)

Cercando sotto terra: Patate, tartufo e lenticchie con pecorino fuso 
(potatoes, truffles and lentils with melted pecorino)

Quel Ghiottone del Fattore: Tagliatella “tirata a mano” al ragù di Cinta senese e Chianina (handmade tagliatella with Cintasenese pork and Chianina beef sauce)

Fresh grated Pecorino for our pasta dishes

Elmetti di Bordino: Cappelletti ripieni di carni miste al Tartufo 
(typical Umbrian handmade pasta stuffed with beef and pork meat with truffles)

Absolutely delicious cappelletti stuffed with a fragrant mixture of Cintasenese pork and Chianina beef served with a flurry of truffles in a creamy pecorino sauce

Semifreddo con pistacchi

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