Sunday, December 9

The Hunter's Hideaway {Eating Out in Le Marche}


So where do we like to go when Jason wants a night off from cooking? If it's not to the sea for fish then it's the 'hunter's hideaway' high up in the hills above neighboring Apecchio.  A no-frills, no menu, family-run, filled with locals, place to eat grilled meat known as Acquapartita or Martinelli's (the family name). The house/restaurant are one in of the same because that's all there is up there. (For any of you that have visited our inn/cooking school they are even more remote than us!) As you climb higher and deeper into the foothills of the Apennines you begin to wonder if you've made a wrong turn as there is nothing but a few farmhouses and far reaching views of the rich fertile valley below. You'll know you've arrived once you see a half dozen country cars and mud covered panda 4x4's parked haphazardly along the side of the road.

The warmth of the fireplace and smell of grilled meats welcomes you and ignites my growing hunger. Now, settle in, because this is gonna be good!
The menu varies a little by season, usually there are three pastas and three sauces to choose from. During the fall and winter is best to visit while hunting season is open. I suggest ordering TWO pastas: half moons (agnolotti) filled with meat paired with the wild mushroom sauce and pappardelle with boar (cinghiale) sauce. For the meat course, if you have a buona forchetta (hearty appetite) I suggest that the table order TWO dishes: share a plate of mixed grill which will consist of sausage, lamb chops and pork ribs AND the grilled steak with aged balsamic, arugula and parmesan (tagliata di manzo). Then go for the gold and order the fried potatoes, they taste so good because they are fried in strutto and not to be missed! Just to round it off nicely get the salad, it's light and fresh and just what you need after all that! Some opt for cheese at the end of their meal, delivered as a whole wheel of pecorino on a wooden board with a knife to slice as you like. 

(that's the guy from Pesaro to Jason's left and the most delicious dessert from his mamma.)
On our most recent visit we were befriended by the table next to us, intrigued since I was taking so many pictures of my food, they began to comment on what they thought would make a good shot! We joined tables, introduced ourselves, poured more local red wine and chatted about food. The two guys told us that they have been coming here to this restaurant for over 30 years, when it was just this one tiny room. Now they escape work in Pesaro (over an hour away) every Friday for lunch in the mountains here among old friends. They asked Gabriele to bring us some plates and the tort from the back. As it arrived at the table they lite up and said "Please have a slice of tort made by my mamma." Incredibly and wonderfully Italian, the man from Pesaro beamed with pride. Yes, he loves a big lunch here, followed by dessert made by mamma, "because she makes it best." And it really was the best way to end the meal.


Acquapartita / Martinelli's / Hunter's Hideaway
Localita' Acquapartita 19, 61042 Apecchio, Italy
+39 0722 90216  - It is best to call to make sure they are open before you make the drive. I recommend reservations and booking for lunch.
You'll always find trucks, trees, a hunting dog and a full belly outside!
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