Umbrian Cookbook

Suzanne Carreiro's book about the cuisine and culture of Umbria.

Suzanne Carreiro’s book about the cuisine and culture of Umbria.


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[The Dog Who Ate the Truffle] While Frances Mayes may have convinced readers that “under the Tuscan sun” is the only way to live in Italy, Carreiro, a California-based food critic and journalist who lived a year and a half in Umbria, is equally convinced that once Americans discover Umbria, they will fall under its spell. After chatting and working with a number of home and professional cooks, Carreiro gathered a mix of authentic recipes-including classics such as gnocchi and pizza as well as regional specialties like Parmesan Egg Drop Soup-and blended in some entertaining anecdotes about the people and places of Umbria. The result is an amusing and informative cookbook cum travelog that celebrates the culinary treasures (such as wine, cheese, and truffles) and cultural heritage of the region. VERDICT This good introduction to Italian cooking, Umbrian style, is also a tasty literary treat for armchair travelers and cooks, and it deserves a place on the shelf next to such culinary memoirs as Sergio Esposito’s Passion on the Vine, Chris Stewart’s Driving Over Lemons, and Mayes’s Under the Tuscan Sun.-John Charles, Scottsdale P.L., AZ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.


The Dog Who Ate the Truffle is an intimate look at Umbria’s ancient traditions and authentic recipes that are passed along from one generation to the next. The author, Suzanne Carreiro, takes readers on a culinary journey, introducing them to the people and places that became part of her life during the 1-1/2 years she lived in Umbria’s town of Umbertide. Each of the ten chapters features authentic recipes–some exclusive to the small villages in Umbria.

This email from Sons of Italy Book Club Selections: Spring 2011 

I am pleased to tell you that the book below has been selected by the Sons of Italy National Book Club for its SPRING 2011 selections.   The Sons of Italy’s book club is dedicated to works on Italy and on Italian American issues, themes and history.  Five fiction and non-fiction books from mainstream publishing houses are selected each quarter for a total of 20 titles per year.  | Your books have been reviewed in the Spring 2011 issue of Italian America Magazine, the most widely read publication in the United States for Italian Americans.  They also are now permanently posted on the Sons of Italy Web site ( We encourage readers that belong to the Sons of Italy to choose one or more of the books each quarter and to discuss it during their monthly meetings.  We also encourage them to buy copies of the books to donate to their local public and school libraries.  We are sending you today a copy of the issue in which your books appeared. | Selected book: The Dog Who Ate the Truffle: A Memoir of Stories and Recipes from Umbria, by Suzanne CarreiroCongratulations and Best Wishes, Dona De Sanctis, PhD, Editor-in-Chief, Italian America Magazine, the most widely read magazine in the U.S. for people of Italian heritage.

How did I land in Umbria to live and write an Umbrian cookbook? Basically, a winemaker I worked with in Tuscany suggested it. Umbria’s wine is going to be big, he said. Umbria was affordable and  possibly more beautiful, and definitely less crowded, than the Tuscany I loved. And at that time, there wasn’t a cookbook on Umbrian cuisine.

Living in Umbria was an adventure, as you might imagine! Tagging along with the legendary truffle hunter whose dog ate the truffle. Scouring the forest for wild asparagus with Luigi. Making ravioli with eleven-year old Alberto. Learning to roast Umbrian porchetta from a local butcher. Rolling pasta with eighty-year old Rita. Enough adventures, recipes, and stories to fill more than one book.

I found my country apartment online–where I didn’t know a soul. I never would have imagined how lucky I would be when I sent my payment in for the rental. Mario, the young man, unknown to me, who would be my neighbor, ended up being like a son–and as we got to know each other, his family “adopted” me.

Because of these friendship–and the other great people I became friends with, the book evolved into a very intimate look at the region’s culture and food. I learned first hand about Umbria’s culinary traditions, many of which can be traced back two thousand years to the Etruscans—roasting meat on a spit, making wine, pressing olives to make oil, making cheese, and cooking with saffron, pepper, and bay leaves. The Dog Who Ate the Truffle is an intimate look at these ancient customs and the people who pass them on from one generation to the next.

If you or a friend are heading to Umbria or just enjoy armchair travel, I think you’ll find my Umbrian book is worth having.