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Ada Stifani's record, Umbria's first starred woman: what's Ada Gourmet like?

Andrea Febo
copertina ada gourmet

If Perugia is in the midst of gastronomic excitement, much of the credit goes to Ada Stifani. The culinary solidity of the first woman awarded a Michelin star in Umbria.

Photos by Lido Vannucchi

The story

Ada Stifani is a curious woman. Her eyes light up with a bright sparkle when it comes to food, and seeing her move in the kitchen, alongside her team, is rewarding for those seeking a story to tell. It's as if by entering her restaurant and shaking her hand, one could sigh with relief from the comfort her hospitality brings. In fact, you immediately think it will be a beautiful meal.

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We are in Perugia, that great castle perched between two rivers, which, on a hill 450 meters above sea level, separates the Tiber River from the Chiascio River. Here, everything tells a long and complex story. The walls, the alleyways, the Renaissance splendor alternating with the austerity of the Middle Ages, and all the surrounding countryside, make the capital of Italy's green lung one of the most fascinating cities in the country.

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Thus, amid history, art, and religion, the generous nature of this land has allowed its inhabitants to increasingly assert their enogastronomic potential. Ada also thinks so, being originally from Lecce, she knows a thing or two about good food.

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The Restaurant

The alley where we find ourselves comes straight from the Minimetrò, which stops at Pincetto, but you can take the long way around passing through squares and cathedrals until you descend the stairs of the monumental arch of Porta Marzia, right behind the Rocca Paolina. Ada Gourmet resides at the crossroads of Via Guerriera and Via del Bovaro, a street level that has all the appearance of a reserved corner.

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The entrance has a deep breath in the spaces that unfold inside, while the kitchen is a glass theater that amplifies the sense of warm light reflecting on the construction bricks. In two smiles, you reach the main hall, a combination of materials and well-lit design, with high ceilings and a balcony that increases its capacity for welcoming without discomfort for privacy. Large tables, comfortable light, and on a Friday lunch, around mine, three tables of young people.

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The dishes

The amuse-bouche is a bomb dive. There is flavor everywhere in an enveloping manner, and to surprise is a Taco with hazelnuts, burnt milk, and spiced bread, a bite that tells a personal style built on simple yet intense flavors. The first course, in a la carte journey, is the Artichoke with spiced zabaglione and blackberries. A satisfying dish, rough in textures and pleasant in intensity contrasts found between mint and red fruits. The zabaglione is not intrusive, and the salt crystals at the base are small enhancements of short-lived vegetable persistence.


Ada Gourmet amuse bouche

The Trout served with Garum and wild herbs breaks all the straight lines of flavors tasted so far. From intense savory to citrusy, the sweet fish meats are very tasty and balanced by a delicate garum. Perhaps, in this dish, only the wild herbs are missing, which would have contrasted everything with a bit of bitterness and spiciness.

Ada Stifani sgombro melone e caffe
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From the menu comes a Spaghetti with root juice, yolk, and chamomile. The cooking of the single grain in root water is perfect, and the creaming, with savory yolk and alpine butter, makes it fragrant and tasty. For seasoning, a marjoram oil that plays with very intense vegetable peaks. If I think of a plate of plain pasta as a provocation of substance to the simplicity of a popular tradition, in a gastronomic key, I believe it is one of the best.

Ada Stifani Spaghetti al Pesto di Foglia di Vite Tinca Sagrantino

Following the current of fresh water in the land of pork butchers, I taste an Eel in a pan with black garlic and frisella. A game of textures for lovers of strong tastes. The eel has soft and juicy meats, with a good presence of a fatty component cut by the bitter and smoky notes of the grill. The sauce of its pan is really good, and the wafer with black garlic gel closes the bite in aromatic crispness.

ada stifani Petto di piccione il suo pate e coulis di mais

The palate cleanser is the true surprise of the lunch. Seeing it, I calmly thought it was yet another excess of sweetness that, in a non-course served with a spoon, came out of the canons of its role. In tasting it, I kept some doubts about being a purebred palate cleanser, but in a bowl comes a fresh raw yogurt with a perfectly balanced apricot jam in sugars, seasoned with rosemary and trout eggs. Three spoonfuls of absolute freshness in a whirlwind of sweet and salty that leave your mouth clean. Excellent for lightness and balance in taste construction.

ada stifani dessert crescionda salentina

It could be the perfect dessert, also because the Sheep's Yogurt with plantain and mango served afterward didn't hold up to the comparison very well. Interesting are the vegetal notes of the banana, constant the excellent balance of sugars, but overall, a dessert out of the chorus of a path characterized by an intensity of taste.

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On the lower floor, in the ancient tunnels of an underground Perugia, Ada Gourmet hosts her cellar, on which a research project is being built that alternates classic wine labels with those of select wineries that best complement the cooking style. The service is attentive, light, and well-coordinated.

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Ada Stifani ha una cucina curiosa. Rispetta il giusto punto di cottura di ogni cosa, lavorando su componenti aromatiche che ti lascia al palato in lunghe persistenze che cerca nei grassi. Un bilanciamento che valorizza carni e vegetali in piatti dal gusto pieno, ma di grande pulizia. Ada Gourmet è uno di quei posti dove ti viene voglia di tornar per vedere che succede in cucina.

Ada Stifani has a curious kitchen. She respects the right cooking point of everything, working on aromatic components that leave a long persistence on the palate, seeking in fats. A balance that enhances meats and vegetables in dishes full of taste but of great cleanliness. Ada Gourmet is one of those places where you want to return to see what happens in the kitchen.

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Ada Gourmet

Via del Bovaro 2,- 06121 Perugia

Tel: +39 3493130982


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