Thursday, October 29

Monday, October 26

Eating Your Way Through Le Marche ~ November 2009

Just in time to get a few more truffle festivals in before the close of the season! But this month is all about olive oil! It's the perfect time of the year to try fresh pressed extra virgin olive oil....mmmmm...peppery, green & delicious- soooo good on bread!

November 2009

Typical menus at fixed prices in diverse restaurants, osterias & trattorias of the province of Pesaro e Urbino

Mostra mercato dell'olio e dell'oliva 1st & 2nd Sunday
This event promotes the PDO (protected designation of origin) olive oil from Cartoceto with the participation of local producers. Starting at 3pm in the old center.

Fiera nazionale del tartufo - 1st & 2nd Weekend
The most famous truffle festival in Le Marche! The national truffle festival specializing in the promotion of the truffle & other typical products of the area & season. Truffle stands and tastings of both truffles & local dishes; arts & crafts, conventions & live entertainment. Starting at 10am in Piazza Mattei

Fair celebrating the Talamello cave cheese - soooo good!!
from 9am in the old center

Mercatello sul Metauro
Evento enogastronomico
Wine & food exhibition, conventions, tastings, stands & "islands of taste" - all day in Palazzo Gasparini & Piazza Garibaldi

Castagna in piazza - 11th
Chestnuts in the piazza - in the evening Mercato Vecchio

San Leo
Giornata del ringraziamento - Thanksgiving Day
Thanksgiving Day, an event to celebrate the fruits of the earth, the farmer world & ancient traditions. Refreshments & live entertainment all day

Sapori e aromi d'autunno - 3rd & 4th Sunday
Autumn fragrances & flavors - exhibition of local typical products & agricultural machineries, local crafts, tastings of specialties. The fruit & vegetable market is running as well. All day
Mostra mercato dei vini novelli dell'Italia centrale - last weekend
Vino novelli is the new wine of the season, just picked grapes! Exhibition & market of new wines from central Italy, new wine competition in collaboration with the Associazione Italiana Sommelier (Italian Sommelier Association) & guided wine tastings. Market of typical local products & opening of the 'fossa' (caves where cheese is housed maturing for months). Festivities start at 10am Conventino dei Serviti di Maria

Nel castello di Babbo Natale - Last Sunday of November (continuing through the 3rd Sunday of December)
Christmas market in the castle - how festive! I will be there for sure...hopefully with some hot cocoa!

Throughout the Region
A special day in which the public is allowed entrance to the region's oil mills & invited to taste the year's new olive oil!

In several restaurants of the province of Pesaro e Urbino it is possible to taste the extra-virgin olive oil of Cartoceto with typical dishes of the rural cuisine of the past, baccala' - dried salted cod

Saturday, October 24

Motorcycles & Mushrooms ~ A Revved Up Truffle Festival

What seems to be an unlikely combination couldn’t be more of a perfect fit! Every weekend in October the streets of Sant’Angelo in Vado are filled with vendors selling mushrooms & truffles in all forms for the 46th Annual Mostra Nazionale del Tartufo Bianco - National White Truffle Show.But the party really gets started on the 3rd weekend when the sounds of revved up motorcycles echo through the streets for the motoraduno - an Italian Sturges! Motorcyclists from all over the world unite in this tiny town, lining its cobble stone streets with thousand of bikes from the classic Moto Guzzi to the crowd pleasing Ducati.
I love hitting up this festival becuase the streets are filled with the most handsome Italian bikers!Now here is the inside scoop - head to the registration tent & buy a wine mug for 6 Euro & you can drink for free at three cantinas in town. The mug is party friendly - full equiped with a necklace so your cup is always near! The cantinas are jam packed with bikers drinking & singing - you can't help but have a good time!
(me & my mug)

My favorite wine of the night was the Brule' a mulled spiced red wine perfect for those chilly fall nights! With a mug full of wine we'd meander down the street stopping to listen to jazzy vocals in one piazza & classic rock in another. We popped into a packed little cantina that was opened for dinner, shared a bottle of wine with some friends & had a great plate of passetelli with mushrooms & white truffles. Later we visited Enoteca Vinitaly (we know the owners) and they just kept on feeding us - more wine & this time polenta with mushrooms & truffles - a huge bowl for each of us - they called it just a taste - we called it our 2nd dinner! We rolled ourselves outta there just as the rain started to fall -full bellies & time to head home!

Sunday, October 18

Crispy, Light, Flaky & Delicious ~ Fried Anchovies with Sage

If you have not tried anchovies before - you must try them now! Get over any weird apprehensions or that its just bait or a punchline for a joke about pizza ("extra anchovies")! These little suckers are delicious & actually good for you! Baked, fried & grilled - they are ohh so good and worth a try. If your not up to it, then pass me your plate because I love'em!
Here is my favorite - Fried Anchovies - the recipe below adds a sage leave to each piece of fish as well for an extra burst of flavor & color.

Fried Anchovies with Sage
Acciughe fritte con Salvia

1lb of anchovies cleaned, spine removed
sage leaves (optional - if you are not a fan of sage just omit)

1 cup of flour
1 egg
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
seltzer water

vegetable oil for frying

In a bowl combine flour, eggs, salt & baking powder. Slowly add in seltzer water & mix until forms a thin batter. Cover with plastic & set in the fridge for at least an hour.

Heat oil in a pot to 350 degree.

Remove batter from fridge and mix once or twice (batter will have separated)

Take a sage leaf & anchovy put them together & dip into the batter - allowing access batter to drip off.

Fry 20 seconds a side until golden brown.

Remove from oil & drain on a paper towel.

Sprinkle with salt & serve immediately.

Pairs great with prosecco or white wine.

Tuesday, October 6

Let the Truffle Festivals Begin!

This last weekend kicked off "Truffle Season" in Le Marche! The first festival of the season was in our neighboring town of Apecchio. We saw lots of familiar faces (from Doctor Gaggi to the Fusciani brothers selling meat & cheese), drank lots of wine (at 0,80 cents a glass) & sampled truffles in a whole array of products -
At these festivals you can find loose truffles, truffle slicers, truffle oil, truffle cheese, truffle jams, truffle pasta, truffle rice, truffle salumi, truffle infused anything & everything!! The purest will tell you to only buy the truffle itself - nothing else can compare or capture the flavor like a truffle shaved over the top of pasta with butter or in a frittata. Keep it simple - it's the truffle you want to smell & taste!

According to our local truffle hunting expert, it is still a bit early in the season. (Note the prices for tiny black truffles.) We are eagerly waiting for a bit of fall rain & then there is expected to be a boom of truffles & mushrooms!

I must say that Apecchio does a great job hosting this festival - lots of food stands, arts & crafts, antiques, live music & even a climbing wall for kids! Did I mention all the meats & cheeses.....

If you are lucky enough to be in the area then mark your calendar!
Here's the next set of Truffle Festivals to hit up this season~
Sant'Angelo in Vado - Mostra Nazionale of the White Truffle second weekend of October
Cantiano - 2nd weekend of October
Piobbico - 18 October
Acqualagna - Fiera Nazionale of the White Truffle 25-31 October & 1,7,8 November

See you next year in Apecchio or maybe even in Sant'Angelo next weekend!

Looking for accommodations during your Truffle Holiday? click here

Friday, October 2

Italian Comfort Food: Stuffed Tomatoes with Rice & Shrimp

Stuffed Tomatoes
Pomodori Ripieni

serves 4

4 ripe round tomatoes (about the size of a tennis ball)
4 tablespoons of rice
1/4 yellow onion, chopped
clove of garlic, skin removed
herbs of your choice, I use basil or parsley
olive oil
salt & pepper

Wash your tomatoes & slice off the tops, with a spoon, hollow out the flesh of the the tomato being careful not to pierce the cup you are making.

Save the pulp & juice, pass through a food mill or give it a turn in the food processor, blender, etc.

In a small pot, brown 1 clove of garlic in a glug of olive oil.

Remove & discard.

Then on low heat, slowly sauté your onion until it is translucent - approximately 10 minutes.

Add in your rice & sauté for 1 minute, then raise heat & add tomato pulp.

Season with salt & pepper.

Bring to a low simmer for a minute or two. Remove from heat and add in herbs.

NOTE: If you are using a different rice other than long grain white rice, you will need to par-cook the rice first, for example brown rice, wild rice, etc.
Also this is where you can be creative. Incorporate shrimp with the onions or a little ground veal or sausage if you like also veggies work great too.

Spoon mixture into cups of tomatoes and replace the tops of the tomatoes.

Bake in a casserole dish with a little olive oil rubbed on the bottom at 375 F/ 190 C for 20-30 minutes.

When the rice is cooked and the tomatoes have started to split it’s done.

Serve hot warm or cold with a drizzle good olive oil atop.

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