Rustic indulgence in a warm Le Marche sun
Italy is always a journey and an experience. No senses are left un touched in beautiful Le Marche. The Le Marche region faces the Adriatic sea and is more rustic but equally beautiful to Tuscany. The Sibillini Mountains show a different side every hour with is snow covered peaks and clouds hovering around them. It is only a forty minute drive from our friends house and you can change shoes for ski boots and head down the slopes! Luckily I have friends who live there and I get to visit every year and what a treat it is!
If you drive forty minutes the other way you end up right at the sea front covered with sandy beaches just waiting for summer to arrive full force! We went to Portonovo by the beach as it was market day. There was street after street with vendors selling everything from food such as vegetables, cheese ham and salamis to clothes, fabrics, bags and kitchen gear.
The broad beans have just come in to season and give it just a little longer and you will see fresh broad beans and peccorini cheese served as a snack everywhere. There are even festivals dedicated to this particular combination. The peccorini cheese they eat is a lovely sheep’s milk cheese, ofte sold on the UK as an aged cheese, but here served fresh and plentiful and if I could have my way it would have its with its natural place at every meal!
Italy is so much about food and they love festivals, there is even an annual lasagne festival!
Porchetta is a famous dish, mainly from the Rome and Lazio area but also in Le Marche, it is a savory, fatty, and moist boneless roast of pork. The body of the pig is gutted, deboned, arranged carefully with layers of stuffing, meat, fat, and skin, then rolled, spitted, and roasted, traditionally over wood and served in a bun. They sold it everywhere at the market and it is also flavored with fennel, garlic, herbs and oh it is delicious.
On the way home from the market we stopped at a roadside restaurant, it didn’t look like much but it was quite full and we just had to try it. It was a great meal, showcasing what is so great about Italian food, the outstanding quality of the produce and the refined simplicity of the flavour and texture combinations.
As a starter I had a simple dish of bressaola with peppery rocket, flavour packed parmegiano reggiano, some local olive oil and a wedge of lemon.
As a main I had an insalata di tonno, light but still very filling.
For dinner we ordered pizza from the local take away place and I honestly got a little jealous as even if we have nice pizzas locally this is another level and close to pizza heaven! One of them in particular was a white pizza so no tomato base with potatoes, rosemary, cheese and salsiccia (sausage). I am not a big pizza lover but I could so easily have eaten two of them in a row with the risk of actually bursting! Some things just invite to indulgence and this is why you fall in love with Italian food, again and again.
It might be that the food tastes even better because I know that when I wake up, looking out over the mountain tops and valleys to the sound of sheep on their way to the best grass on the hill, the sun will send warming rays of sunshine making the day technicolour bright, showcasing the landscape.