The Marche region enjoys a splendid position and encompasses the imapassible Sibillini mountain range to the west, rolling hills in the middle and the beautiful Riviera del Conero with its crystal-clear sea to the east, offering a variety of remarkable local products too. When the region was included in the Papal State it was regarded as the area’s Granary owing to its abundant cereals, especially wheat. Since then there have been countless farms tha have struggled to keep up with the tradition of going green and respecting the land, by adopting organic cultivation of cereals such as barley, buckwheat, legumes, especially lentils, potatoes etc.. Also important is the beef production in the region and the Marchigiana breed that under the IGP (Identificazione Geografica Protetta) it has recently gained European recognition as the White Calf of the Central Apennines.
The Marchegianos were only basically sheperds : there was hardly a farm that did not have one or two sheep to meet the requirements of the family. The sheep were inexpensive to rear and did not require much care. What is more they made available considerable quantities of milk that were then turned into cheese. Pecorino cheese is obtanied exclusively fromt he sheep’s cheese of local origin. It can be eaten as it is or used in some typical local recipes, from first courses to sweets. As the story goes, the great Michelangelo himself was a glutton for caciotta of Urbino.
Another fantastic cheese, the pecorino di fossa, is aged in natural canvas bags and stored in pits of tuff, and makes a perfect appetizer if accompanied by local honey and chutneys produced using traditional methods.
Farming fammilies have always raised animals, either to help with twork in the field or to get products to be sold at the farmers’ market. The pig was an exception because it was acquired, reared and processed for the use of the family. The pig would become fatter and fatter until the time came to be slaughtered. After the animal was killed and processed the dismembered parts would be made into lonze, ham, bacon, sausages, etc. The salami of Fabriano as well as the Carpegna ham are amongst the tastiest products derived fromt he pig.
The mountains and woods of the Marches are rich in truffles making truffles an important business in the region. Both the white and black variety are especially prized. These pricey little nuggets, cloaked in earthen sheath, can be eaten shaven on pasta dishes, especially home-made tagliatelle, or in lots of unique local products that incorporate this delicacy, such as truffle honey to accompany pecorino cheese, truffle butter to crown a delicious risotto, or even truffle chocolate candies infused with white truffle.
Typical dishes include vincisgrassi Marche, a delicious lasagne, the olive ascolana (meat-filled deep-fried olives), the Brodetto (fish soup), tagliatelle Campofilone with truffles, cappelleti in capon broth and so on.
All above so very yummy dishes must be matched with the Marches’s excellent wines such as Rosso Conero, Rosso Piceno, Lacrima di Morro d’Alba, Bianchello, the White Bonfumo, White Piceno, Passerina, Verdicchio, etc. Dessert wines are the ruby-red Vernaccia di Serrapetrona or Vino Cotto (cooked wine). What about lacing your coffee with a drop or two of the aromatic, thrilling local anisette ?
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