Todi does not have recipes that are exclusive to the town itself, but there are undoubtedly dishes which, while being popular in other areas of Umbria as well, are typical of Todi and are therefore musts for any visitor or tourist coming to this hill-top town. The town’s most traditional cuisine has rural origins and is therefore distinguished by a prevalence of simple raw materials which involve very simple preparation in some cases, or long and complex preparation in others. These are the main dishes that one absolutely has to taste to “enjoy” the best of Todi.
Tasty, rustic, simple: these features certainly describe the starters of Todi.
The most popular almost always include torta al testo also known as pizza sotto il fuoco (pizza under the fire) served with cold cuts: in addition to the most common ham, salami, capocollo and dried sausage, it is definitely worth trying coppa also known as ‘coppa di testa’ and spalletta.
Bruschette are a must, simple and dressed with just salt and Umbrian extra virgin olive oil – plus garlic, if you like it – or more elaborate, with truffle or liver sauces.
Schiacciate (flat bread) is also very traditional, usually prepared with tomato or sage and onion.
Lastly we have panzanella which is usually enjoyed as a starter, but also as a main entrée, especially in the summer, prepared with stale bread – at least according to tradition – soaked and then dressed with salt and oil, with the addition of tomatoes, onions and cucumbers.
Rural tradition is once again the star of the table, fresh pasta in particular: gnocchi with meat sauce, pappardelle with wild boar sauce, tagliatelle with truffle sauce are the mainstays.
Another typical dish is pasta dressed with a special tomato sauce prepared with the parts of the chicken that are usually not consumed – the offal and feet – or sauces made with asparagus – asparagus and sausage or asparagus and pancetta.
The most traditional dish of Todi is probably palomba alla ghiotta (‘tasty’ common wood pigeon) indeed also called palomba alla Todina (‘Todi-style’ common wood pigeon): this is an actual delicacy that few know how to prepare properly, because the recipe is very complex and also because it is not always easy to find the main ingredient: namely, the common wood pigeon.
Wild game in general is often part of meals in Todi: a typical dish is uccelletti allo spiedo (birds on skewers), for example.
Roast is extremely popular, especially with pork meat which follows the tradition of “nothing going to waste”: and therefore, in addition to the most well-known parts, products made from this animal in Todi include puntarelle (spare ribs), fegatelli (pork liver bundles), stinco (hock), mazzafegati (pork liver sausage), sanguinacci (blood sausages) and the previously mentioned coppa.
Todi’s most traditional desserts include maccheroni dolci or pasta dolce (sweet pasta), which is, as the name suggests, pasta prepared with a sweet base of walnuts, bread crumbs, chocolate and alchermes. The Christmas pinoccate also deserve a special mention, with their typical diamond shape made with sugar and pine nuts, strufoli, frappe and castagnole which are typical fried desserts of the carnival period, and tozzetti, hard almond biscuits that are usually eaten dipped in vin santo.