Saturday, May 31

Fisherman's Cooperative

For super fresh fish from the Adriatic try Al Pesce Azzurro on the beach in Fano.
It's the local fisherman's cooperative - they catch it, cook it & serve it to you the same day!
For an incredible deal I must say - 2 antipasti, 1 primi, 2 secondi, 1 contorno (veg), 1/2 litre acqua minerale, 1/4 litre D.O.C. vino & pane all for 10 Euro a person for lunch! No skimpy servings either - we could barely finish all our food & tons of fish! No frills, no choice, self-serve (slide your tray style) - totally perfect!  Arrive early because locals start lining up 20 minutes before they open.
Open for lunch 12:00pm - 2:00pm  & dinner 7:30pm - 10:00pm (closed on Mondays)
You will find the restaurant on the sea front, between Sassonia Beach & the fishing port.

Monday, May 26

A Leisurely Day in Urbino

The most famous town in Le Marche is Urbino which is about a 30 minute drive from our Agriturismo.  So, what do you do in Urbino when you just want to stroll around, the museums are closed & your getting kinda hungry? 
Here are our favorite pictures, places to eat, spots for a picnic & market days.  
Enjoy a caffe or aperativo in in outdoor cafe in the main square- Piazza della Republica & people watch! There is a large university in Urbino so there are always tons of students out & about. 
For dinner try Taverna degli Artisti (Via Bramante, 52) - many many years ago it used to house art students & still has the remnents on the ceilings of their work! A wonderful dinner, romantic & lively - very reasonably priced. 
After dinner, wander your way through town making your way back to the Piazza della Republica for gelati - try the spot on the corner - Romana!
The weekly market passes through Urbino every Saturday - eat your way through the streets.  Gather enough bread, cheese (pecorino of course!), maybe a porchetta sandwich (whole roasted pig stuffed with herbs & rosemary) and head for a picnic overlooking the valley!
Our favorite spot is Parco della Resistenza for incredible views of Urbino, the Metauro Valley, Monte Nerone & even the Adriatic Sea! Just relax & breath it in - don't forget your bottle of wine! (The main picture of Urbino at the top was taken at this park, same with the one below)
Thursdays in Urbino are the craftsman Market - find handmade goods from shoes & handspun yarn to paper & many other artisanal oddbits - perfect for gifts to take home from your holiday!
Another great picnic spot & place to stroll to is the statue of Raphael. Locals are passionately proud to live in the birth place of this famous artist. Its a bit of walk straight uphill, but worth it for the statue & views (and that's where the Saturday market is located as well)
Urbino has recently been honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site! It's history is rich especially in its influence in art not only in Italy but around the world. Most known for its famous residents of Raphael & the Duke of Montefeltro there are many museums & a fantastic botanical garden & beautiful palaces & cathedrals to take you back in time to the 15th century.  Even if you only have time for an afternoon stroll through its windy streets & steep stone steps Urbino is not to be missed!

Holiday Apartment Rentals in our Agriturismo

Here is the first look at some new pictures of La Tavola Marche at Agriturismo Ca'Camone

Relax outside at the pool & picnic area

Apartment Ciliege Dinning room/Kitchen
(Apartment Ciliege sleeps 4, with 2 bedrooms & 2 bathrooms.  Available for 150Euro/night or 800Euro/week June-August)
Second bedroom of Ciliege

The views from Apartment Mela:

Master bedroom of Apartment Mela
(Apartment Mela (apple) is huge with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a large fireplace & vaulted ceilings! Available for 166Euro/night or 896Euro/week June-August)

Second Bedroom of Mela
Kitchen of Mela

Trekking Path starting in our backyard!

Children's playground with swings, slide, clubhouse & tons of fun!

View from the third floor

The Dinning room - ready for our fabulous four course dinner!

Book Now at La Tavola Marche for a idyllic countryside vacation - we have 5 spacious apartments for holiday rental in our agriturismo or farmhouse each with their own kitchen, wood beam ceilings, tile floors, exposed stone & cozy fireplaces!

Thursday, May 22

91st Il Giro d'Italia!

Well we missed Lance, but we cheered like crazy for Italy's version of Tour de France. Il Giro d'Italia is a long distance bike road race from Sicily up to the Dolomites & then ending in Milan after 23 days of biking! They go from the tip of the boot up through tiny towns, along the coast, into the hills & over the mountains-it's crazy! Giro literally means trip, so The Trip of Italy!In Urbino we went wild at the finish of the 10th stage of the race (a 34.9km leg from Pesaro to Urbino). The giro continued the next day for a 199km stretch starting in Urbania & ending in Cesena with a super hard climb up to San Marino! It was a crappy rainy day & the rider in the lead crashed going 60mph sliding downhill & then limped across the finish line!
Yellow is the color for the leader of Tour de France, but Pink reigns supreme for the race leader in Italy - so we suited up & wore all the gear! (Meg even ended up on RaiSport! - a TV channel) For 10 Euro you can have your very own "Giro Kit" complete with Pink T-shirt, hat, backpack, sunglasses, stuffed animal keychain and a hot pink chain/necklace-thing for your cell phone - so pretty much an awesome deal!

Sponsors were giving away tons of shwaag, we loved it! There was a huge party in Urbino - everyone cheering on their favorite teams & riders, people from all over the world lining the streets! We walked the whole course through town & hooted & hollered from the beginning where they entered Urbino to the finish line - putting out the giro vibe! It really was cool to be part of & you could feel the energy for sure-I'm already planning my return for next year!

Monday, May 19

Is it considered B & E when the front door is open??

So yesterday Meg & I went on a bit of an adventure...
On the way to chop wood (yeah, we're hard core like that!) we stumbled upon an old abandoned house - our curiosities went wild!We snooped around the outside, peaking in the windows & checking the doors...when the front door opened for us we looked at each other & said "Is it breaking & entering when the door is unlocked & the house has been abandoned for years & years?
or is it an archeology discovery?!"

We went for the latter & headed in - not before we called out " Permesso" in shakey Italian (the universal Italian phrase made before entering a house), scaring ourselves a little bit...ah because what if someone answered!

We crept in & explored the remains/ruins of the house. We found huge old wine casks, dusty bottles, a few random shoes (none matching), animal troughs in the floor when it must have housed animals at one point, and some cool wooden grain grinder of sorts & tons of rat poop...

We headed upstairs, now totally freaked hand in hand and rounded the corner to find a huge fireplace! We barely made it to the next room when Meg was buzzed by a bird or bat?! So we figured this was a good time to make our way back out! We were totally freaking ourselves out! We have plans to go back with supplies (mainly a flashlight & camera) to continue our archeological discoveries - not committing a federal offense, thank you!

Sunday, May 18

Chicken Liver Crostini

A totally Italian antipasta is Crostini - toasted bread. In Le Marche crostini con fegatini di pollo chicken liver is a must!
Normally I am not a big fan of liver, but this recipe comes out delicious.

Serves 4-6
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 carrot, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
6 chicken livers, trimmed
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
scant 1/4 cup dry white wine
1-2 egg yolks
juice of 1 lemon, strained
2 sage leaves chopped
2 juniper berries (optional)
4-6 whole-wheat bread slices, toasted
salt & pepper
Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the carrot, onion and celery and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until . Dip the chicken livers into the vinegar, pat dry with paper towels and add to skillet. Pour in the wine and season with salt & pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned on the outside. Remove the chicken livers from the skillet and chop finely, then return them to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes more. Beat together the egg yolks and lemon juice in a bowl. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the egg yolk mixture. Spread on slices of lightly toasted bread.
Serve immediately.

The Cat Man

The newest pics of i gattini (the kittens).
Jason is known around the house as "the cat man" he has rounded the corner on cats vs. dogs & totally loves the kittens. This has nothing to do with food or Le Marche, but they are just cute pics. 

Are we turning into the crazy cat people....ahhhhh!

Friday, May 16

Spaghetti alla Chitarra con Verdure Primavera ~ Recipe

Perfect for spring - looking for something fresh & light, delicious & a little different? This it it!
This dish is a great way to incorporate all the fresh vegetables of spring.  It's roots are Roman as they called it vignarola or vignole but it is found all over Le Marche!
A versatile dish that you can make as a primi - pasta dish or as a stew/soup by adding more vegetable stock.  

It is so simple, Jason has made this for many dinners this spring as his "go to" pasta - everyone has loved it! (One group of Italians even asked to take the rest home with them!) The longest part is the shelling of all the fava.  (For the vegetarians out there, sadly, just omit the prosciutto)

Please, please use fresh pasta in this dish - it will make it much softer & worth the effort or cost. We used Spaghetti alla Chitarra a local pasta, but you probably won't find that in the States, so try regular spaghetti, linguini or  fettucini.

serves 6

12-16 oz. of fresh pasta
4-5 small artichokes
sea salt & pepper
1 leek, outer leaves removed, cut into 3-inch lengths, washed
1/2 lb. chard (or other nice leafy greens)
extra virgin olive oil
1 small white onion, chopped
3/4 cup of vegetable stock (add another 3/4 cup if you are making into a stew) - use the water you will using to blanch the veggies in.
12 oz. fresh shelled peas
12 oz. of fresh shelled fava (or half a grocery bag full of the beans)
one bunch of asparagus
4 thick slices of prosciutto
small bunch fresh mint & parsley (we have both growing wild)

Put artichokes into a pot of cold, salted water & bring to a boil.  Boil for about 10 minutes or until tender (you can check by inserting a knife into the heart) and drain. (Tip: Jason puts a plate on top of the boiling water of artichokes so they don't pop out & stay under water!)  Allow to cool, then peel off the outer leaves until you find the pale tender ones, remove the choke (fuzzy white parts) using a spoon. Cut the hearts into quarters.

Fill the pot with new water, add salt & bring to a boil.  Blanch the fava beans for a minute, remove from water with a slotted spoon.  Blanch the leeks for 3 -4 minutes, until tender, and the chard until just wilted.

Heat a large saucepan, big enough to hold all the ingredients, and add a good splash of oil.  Cook the onion, low & slow for about 10 minutes until soft.  Cut the tough parts of the asparagus off the bottom & discard, cut into quarter inch pieces. Sauté for 2-3 minutes with onion. Then add the vegetable stock (the water used to blanch the fava, leeks & chard) and the peas, bring to a boil.  Cut the prosciutto into bits & add in - simmer for about 10 minutes, until the peas are cooked and soft and the prosciutto has flavored it all nicely.

Chop leeks into strips, run a knife through the chard & stir into the pan.  Add the artichoke hearts & fava beans and let simmer for a few minutes.  Finish with salt & pepper to taste a small bunch of chopped fresh mint & parsley. Add a few glugs of olive oil.

Toss with pasta & drizzle with a bit more olive oil for the bright flavors & colors of spring! Sprinkle with fresh grated parmesan or grana padano.

Note: you may need a few spoonfuls of pasta water if the dish looks too dry.

Tuesday, May 13

Eating Your Way Through Le Marche! June 2008

This begins our extended year-long series on "Eating your way through Le Marche"
Created to help you plan your trip & to promote the delicious gastronomic traditions & festivals of Le Marche check back often for our monthly installment. (If you are planning your holiday months in advance just email me for more information!)
June 2008

Market along the streets of the town

Monte Grimano Terme
Sagra dello spignolo (1st weekend, Saturday afternoon, Sunday all day)
Mushroom festival (spignolo) with typical products, tastings, games, music, dancing & fun.

Fiera del castello (1st Sunday)
The castle market fair all day.

Sagra dei vincigrassi (1st Sunday 6pm)
Vincigrassi - local lasagna festival

Borgo Pace
Festa della schiacciata (1st Sunday - all day)
Schiacciata festival - a special bread made with rosemary. Food & wine, games & religious procession.

Caprile Agrishow (1st weekend)
Market fair of food products, live entertainment, visit the gardens with ancient waterworks, gastronomic stands all day.

Gustosa (2nd Sunday & Saturday)
A Tribute to agriculture with a harvest festival and other events. All day fruit & vegetable market in the town center.

Sagra della lumaca (3rd Sunday)
Snail festival

Monte Porzio
Salciccia n't canton (3rd Sunday & Saturday before starting at 3pm)
Sausage festival with live entertainment & shows with historic re-enactments & tournaments.

Sagra della rana (last Sunday 6pm)
Frog festival - Folk & gastronomic festival based on the frog with dancing.
Festa del pane (last weekend)
Bread festival - local traditions linked to the history of bread & food in the old center & the ovens of the area. Take a bread baking class at La Tavola Marche & learn how to use a wood-burning outdoor oven!

Monte Grimano Terme
Sagra della lumaca (Weekend at the end of the month - check web site for updates)
Snail festival

Bellino dell'Enohobby- Wine & Oil International Festival (check the site for updates on the date)
National & International extra virgin olive oil competition L'Ociolo d'Oro; national wine competition Bollino dell'Enhobby; show-cases of tastes, islands of taste, tasting stands, theme dinners in Palazzo Gradari.
Fiera di San Cipriano (Check web site for dates)
Feast of San Cipriano traditional fair displaying & selling a variety of goods, food & wine, live entertainment all day.

Continuing All Summer:
Sant'Angelo in Vado
Summer in Sant'Angelo in Vado - only 10 minutes from Agriturismo Ca'Camone.
Exhibitions, music, theater, street performers, sport, games, live entertainment, tastings of typical products, local festivals & monuments open to the public.

Gabicce Mare
Mercatino di prodotti naturali (June - September on Thursdays & Sundays at 8:30pm)
Natural products market

Musical events, theatre, sport, gastronomy, exhibitions, evening markets & much more along the seaside area of Marotta & in the old center of Mondolfo
The pleasures of the table in the Middle Ages, medieval dinners in the restaurants of the old center.

Giovedi al castello (Thursdays at 9pm June - August)
Thursdays at the castle, re-enactment of the closure of the gate to the village at vespers, procession in period costume, fire-eaters & more!

Of course there are tons more festivals than listed here - many religious & handcrafted items
visit the Official Tourism Site for Pesaro e Urbino for more information.
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