Welcome to the "New" Friends

Welcome to the "New" Friends

Monday, 17 June 2013


Our world famous bruschette drenched in Sabina D.O.P. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
You will find Friends Café is ideally situated, first of all, because of our proximity and easy access from Casperia's main gate, the Porta Romana. Just a few dozen easy steps up past the gate and you are at Piazza Umberto I, arguably one of the most charming piazze in the Sabina. Here, seated at one of Friends' outdoor tables you can enjoy the ebb and flow of life in this hilltown. 

Friends Cafe seen from Piazza Umberto I at sunset courtesy of Ina Dennekamp

While you sip on a Negroni, or a glass of bubbly Prosecco you will see the townsfolk of Casperia of all ages ascend and descend the stone stairway that leads up past our restaurant to the Piazza Comunale.

The steps leading up to the Piazza Comunale, courtesy of Giorgio Clemente
Nonne and nonni weighed down with their afternoon shopping are escorted up the winding stone cobbled steps by their children and grandchildren and sometimes the family dog, to many a "Ciao!" or  "Buona sera!" from friends and neighbours chatting in the piazza. 

During the afternoon hours after school and the early evenings it is not unusual to see a number of our youth, and sometimes not so young, enjoying an impromptu game of calcio, or football (soccer for you Americans and Canadians) on the piazza. Casperia is a friendly town. If you like to kick a ball, feel free to join in. Just be aware that an enthusiastic kick very often results in the ball going over the wall and bouncing all the way down to the Petrocchi Bar. If you are playing a game with one of our young people, they will usually oblige by running down and fetching the ball. And sometimes, if you are lucky, you will find someone who was chatting down below will catch the ball and kick or toss it back up for you. If you run after the ball yourself, well, it is great excercise and we at Friends Café are happy to provide you with liquid and solid sustenance to help you recuperate once you make it back up the stairs.

Our world famous Sabine sunset-coloured Negronis
We have a simple menu, but one that features fresh pasta made at a family-run pastificcio just outside the town gates. Most pasta lovers are familiar with fettucine, the thin flat ribbons of pasta which we serve with a hearty mushroom sauce, but you may not be familiar with stringozzi, the traditional hand made pasta typical of the Sabina and parts of Umbria, where it is known as Umbrichelli.

Here is an excellent video that shows how stringozzi is made by hand. In this video you will see children from our town learn how to make Stringozzi Aspresi using just flour, water and salt, and using their hands.

Here at Friends Café we serve stringozzi two ways: one with a traditional Bolognese-style tomato and meat-based Ragù. The other is something new we introduced to the menu this year. 

New Menu, as of April 2013
 The stringozzi noodles are dressed with red chillies, Sabina D.O.P. extra virgin olive oil and a mixture of hard cheeses.  The initial response from most of our foreign visitors who taste this version is to exclaim, "Oh, my God!" So we felt we really had no choice and decided that that is what it should be called.

Toasting the launch of Stringozzi O.M.G., April 2, 2013
Of course, Friends is proud to offer a variety of wines, beers and mixed cocktails, from G&Ts to our famous Sabine sunset coloured Negronis, to go along with your meal. If you are a white wine lover, you will probably enjoy a bottle of crisp, dry Pecorino from Abruzzo.   

And when you see the spectacular Sabine sunsets from the comfort of your table here at Friends Café you will want to have something to toast with. Alla salute! Cin cin!

Sunset as seen from Friends Cafe in Casperia

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