Food & Wine of Le Marche
Food in Le Marche
The local produce in Le Marche is some of the most amazing anywhere in the world… wander the local markets or attend food festivals (Sagre) during your visit to see the passion of the local farmers and purchase some of the delicious produce on offer. It truly is a beautiful experience which gives you so much insight into the traditional Italian way of life!
Food and wine are of vital importance to all Italians, but in Le Marche they take on a new significance. Peasant-based; the emphasis is on home-grown, local ingredients, freshly picked or killed for immediate consumption. Restaurants are almost always family-run, often with several generations involved. Nonna might make the pasta while Nonno tends the olive groves and vineyards, and the latter tend to be on a smaller scale than those of Tuscany and Umbria. Both of them probably cultivate the orto, or vegetable garden, and the fruit and nut trees. The younger generations are usually involved in cooking and serving the delicious meals. You have not lived until you have savored the intense flavours of Italian tomatoes, melons, asparagus, beans, garlic – I could go on for hours…
The food served is based on traditional recipes handed down through the generations. Some restaurants continue to serve these dishes exactly as they would have been produced decades ago, while others have begun to introduce a modern take on the old recipes. The priority at all times is to use fresh, local produce and a minimum of fuss. Within Marche there are areas which have their own particular specialities or “cucina tipica”. Local festivals regularly celebrate such specialities as the fava bean (we know this as the broad bean), polenta, unique wines, cheeses etc.
Restaurants - near & far
There is an astonishing range of truly excellent restaurants within easy driving distance of La Vecchia Scuola, some as close as 10-15 minutes’ drive. You will find a hard copy document in the villa which includes some of our own personal favourites which you may wish to visit during your stay.
Dining in the villa
The kitchen of La Vecchia Scuola has been set up with meticulous care and is equipped for gourmet cooking if guests wish to cater for themselves. Top quality cutlery, excellent sharp knives and heavy copper-based stainless steel saucepans are supplied. There is a fully functional pizza oven in the loggia overlooking the glorious Regnano valley with firewood supplied. Adjacent to the glamorous pool there is also a built-in stone barbecue (gas-fired) if guests wish to cook outdoors on a balmy evening.
Hire lovely local Claudia to cook / host cooking classes
If, however, guests would like to eat at La Vecchia Scuola but do not wish to cook themselves, we can offer the services of our friend, Claudia, who lives within sight of our house across the valley. Claudia, who is fluent in English, Italian and German, is happy to cook whatever dish you desire and can provide suggested menus. Claudia also offers wonderful cooking classes which you may like to participate in. Claudia’s passion is creating delicious, authentic meals, using only the freshest ingredients sourced locally, and where possible, of organic origin.
Wines in Le Marche
Unlike regions like Tuscany and Piedmont, famous for their Brunello and Bardolino wines, little is known about the fabulous wines produced in Le Marche. Many Marche wines have the DOC or DOCG accreditation. Among the reds are Rosso Piceno, Lacrima di Morro d’Alba (an unusual wine with the hint of violets) and Vernaccia, which comes from a tiny area around Serrapetrona which is only a 30 minute drive from the villa. Not to be missed is the sparkling red Vernaccia di Serrapetrona from Alberto Quacquarini with its velvety, peppery taste. A fine aperitivo before your dinner at Osteria dei Borgia!
Most unique among the white wines is Verdicchio which was first grown by the Etruscans. The Verdicchio grape is particular to the Marche and is grown in the region of Metalica and Jesi. A light wine with a delicate fruity note and hint of bitter almond on the palate, Verdicchio is the perfect accompaniment to salads, cold meat and seafood.
Most restaurants have their own vino della casa (house wine) which are usually very acceptable wines and very reasonably priced. Near the house are two wineries – Saputi (near Colmurano) and Il Pollenza (near Tolentino) where you can purchase wine in bulk for less than two euro per litre. Flagons are provided in the house as are details of the whereabouts of the wineries. Both of these wineries also have excellent bottled wines. We can recommend the Porpora (red) from Il Pollenza and the Castru Vecchiu (red) and award winning Ribona (white) from Saputi. It is well worth visiting both these wineries as they provide a distinct contrast between the family owned Saputi cantina and the splendid surroundings of Il Pollenza.