Monday, December 21

Celebrating Christmas in Italy with a Living Nativity ~ A Favorite Holiday Tradition

Every year small towns across Italy come together to celebrate Christmas with a living nativity or presepi viventi - this is our most favorite holiday tradition in Italy. Sadly, this year the festivities were delayed due to horrible weather in Piobbico. Well, you can't expect baby Jesus to sit out in the cold all night, can you?! Read about last years living nativity in Piobbico here: Natale 2008 Piobbico Living Nativity or better yet....check out the video below.

By Marche (web tv of the Marche Region) has created this beautiful video of the living nativity scenes & Christmas celebrations throughout Le Marche and they just so happen to start with our very own Piobbico:

~ Tanti Auguri per un Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo ~

Thursday, December 17

Buon Natale ~ Spice Up Your Holidays with this Festive Recipe

Buon Natale ~ Merry Christmas
Click below for a festive holiday recipe to add a little spice to those cold winter nights - Spiced Wine or Vin Brule'. Recipes vary from region to region - but this is our favorite!
Click to play this Smilebox recipe: Happy Holidays ~ A Festive Recipe from La Tavola Marche, Ashley & Jason

In case you have problems viewing the card you can find the recipe for how to make Spiced Wine or Vin Brule': spiced wine recipe here!

Wishing you all a festive holiday filled with pasta & prosecco!
Tanti auguri per un anno pieno di salute, felicita' e cibo delizioso!

~ Ashley & Jason Bartner
La Tavola Marche Agriturismo & Cooking School
Le Marche, Italy

Monday, December 14

An Italian Christmas Feast ~ Holiday Menu Ideas

Ready to start menu planning for the holidays? It may be a pot-luck party or 'bring out the nice china' feast - we've got the recipes for you! Here is the Christmas Day Menu at our Farmhouse & Cooking School in Italy:Aperitivi
Vin Brule' - Spiced Wine

Salumi Toscano, Formaggio (Aged & Semi-Aged Pecorino), Prosciutto di Umbria
Fegatini - Chicken Liver Crostini
Faro Salad with Radicchio & Ruccola
Cipolline sotto Aceto - Little onions soaked in balsamic
Smoked Salmon Canapes
Crostini con Lardo & Tartufo Nero (lard & black truffles)
L'Anguilla - Eel with Bay Leaf & Tomato - OUTSTANDING!

Lasagna Bianco with Porcini

Roasted Rack of Lamb Chops

Roasted Potoates

Mandarin Oranges
Visciolino (Home made cherry liquor)
Nocino (Home made walnut liquor)
Limoncello (Home made)

Buon Appetito~ Fore more festive Italian recipes visit our recipe box!

Friday, December 11

Eat, Speak, Italy: Learn Italian in the Marche countryside

Learn to speak conversational Italian while sitting around the table in the rustic kitchen of our 300 year old stone farmhouse - now that's authentic! Learning even just the essentials will transform your trip into an experience - have the confidence to fumble through a conversation with locals & most importantly - order food!In collaboration with Scuola Italia a prestigious center of Italian Language and Culture based in Urbania, we have created a personalized Italian Language course at our wonderful farmhouse in the Marche countryside. (Only 40 minutes to Tuscany)

Eat, Speak, Italy: A food & language lovers holiday
4 days, 3 nights ~ 310 Euro a Person

~ Five course feast on the night of your arrival with local wine
~ 1 Language lesson
~ 1 Half day cooking class with local wine
~ Breakfast daily
~ Accommodations in self-catering apartment with kitchen, private bathroom, wood beam ceilings & tile floors

(*Based on double occupancy, low-season, apartment Pesca. Including taxes.)

A qualified teacher will accompany your learning process step by step. In a friendly and informal atmosphere you will enjoy yourself while learning the Italian basics - from greetings to how to order! On nice days classes will be held al fresco - outside under age-old oak trees. Guests are welcome to visit our garden & enjoy lunch from the farm to the table.

We have created an array of language packages/programs available for you to choose based on your holiday. Stay at our farmhouse during your holiday with our self-catering guest apartments.
Combine your language lessons with cooking classes, horseback riding, guided hike, wine tasting & more!

Learn Italian in Italy!
Class sizes 2 - 10

Individual lesson of 60 minutes: Euro 40
Individual course of 5 lessons (of 60 minutes): Euro 190
Individual course of 10 lessons (of 60 minutes): Euro 370

Course of 5 lessons (of 60 minutes) for 2 persons: Euro 240
Course of 10 lessons for 2 persons (of 60 minutes): Euro 470
Teaching material is included.

Contact for more details:

A different language is a different vision of life. ~Federico Fellini

Sunday, December 6

The Best Lasagna. Period.

Photo credit to our Guests from

Lasagna ahhh, a classic meaty cheesy mess. But it doesn't always have to be - This recipe however is one of my favorites & not that cheesy Italian restaurant cliche'. The key is to use fresh pasta in this recipe - for a lasagna that is light & delicate. If possible use your own tomatoes, we use jarred tomatoes from the garden - you just can't get that kinda flavor from a store bought jar.


Ragu (see recipe)
Parmesan cheese
4 sheets of pasta to cover your dish

In your casserole dish ladle a little of the ragu.

In plenty of boiling salted water, cook your pasta to al dente (to the tooth). Cook only 1 -2 sheets at a time (otherwise they will stick & it will be a mess)

Lay down the sheet of pasta in your dish, ok if it comes up over the edge of the dish (that will make for the good crunch bits!)

Add a ladle of ragu - cover completely but don’t over do it - less is more.

Dot bechamel.

Now a generous sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Repeat these steps ending with sauce on the top layer of the pasta

Bake at 375/190 C oven for 15-20 minutes until the top is brown & bubbly!

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