Tuesday, June 24

World Cup Mania in Small Town Italy - Forza Italia!!

As the temperatures rise, so does the excitement of the 2014 World Cup in our tiny town of Piobbico. Each match is televised on the streets and it's a surely a scene not to miss. In a village of 2,000 there are 3 bars and 4 TVs showing the matches. The crowds grow, beer and wine poured, arms flail, chairs fly and curses spew out in dialect. I love every minute of it, even though I could care less about the matches (horrible I know, but I'm still an American football kinda girl) it's the love & passion the locals have for this sport that I just can't get enough of.

So even though this video is not about food - it is a slice of life in Italy. "Taste of Italy" Episode 8:  World Cup 2014

Thursday, June 19

Good Organic Gardening: Living the Dream (Growing & Cooking on an Italian Farm)

Here' a very nice piece about our garden & Jason's theory on cooking in this lovely Australian magazine "Good Organic Gardening." The four page article, written by Sandy Moore, an Australian guest, beautifully shares our story & a few of my photos in the June 2014 issue! I think she really nailed it!!!

“In the kitchens of New York, it’s more about what’s in style,” says Jason. “Here, it’s about what’s in season. We cook and grow totally with the season. It’s about taking the freshest- possible ingredients that the Earth is giving you and doing the least amount with them.” Jason believes his job now is to get out of the way, taking the ego out of the kitchen. “Nature has made perfect ingredients, so why would I want to transform them into something else? All I want to do is cook them to highlight them and make them the best they can be. It’s a fundamental change in thinking.”

"In the winter months, Jason and Ashley make their own sausages and salami from scratch, curing them in the cool winter breeze that passes through the rafters of the house. The cupboards heave with preserved tomatoes and other produce from the garden. They jam, jar and preserve to extend the season. "
"Jason and Ashley’s vision for the future is to continue teaching guests to shop locally, grow what they can and eat seasonally. This was the perfect way to begin our Italian food adventure and, with their generous hints, tips and knowledge shared, we knew we had more exciting times ahead.

A farm-to-table experience is enriching and the interaction with locals gave us a deeper understanding of the real Italian culture. As a bonus, it was away from the tourist hotspots, so offered a quiet, harmonious ambiance. "
 - Good Organic Gardening, June 2014

Saturday, June 14

Light, Floral & Lemony Elderflower Syrup, Just Add Sparkling Water, Prosecco or Gin!

Elderflowers or fiori di sambuco are in bloom in Italy! This flower from the elderberry tree makes a lovely light floral lemonade-like flavored syrup to be added to drinks (sparking water, vodka, gin or grappa), desserts or sorbets - depending on your mood. It makes an amazing vinegerette over salad as well! This can be served along breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner - perfect a for hot summer's day!
Syrup of Elderflower
Sciroppo di fiori di sambuco:

A jar stuffed full of elderflowers (nice big heads), gently shake off any insects & trim any excess branches/leaves
1 lt. of water
1 oz of lemon juice or 20 gr citric acid
1.5 kilo of sugar

Stuff a large jar with fresh picked elderflowers (pack them in!). Fill jar with water to the top.
Let sit for 24 hours.

Filter well the add the lemon juice or citric acid and sugar. Let sit in the sun for 3 days (shaking the jar every so often so the sugar doesn't solidify at the bottom)

Then pour the liquid into clean sterilized glass bottles. Close them.  Place in the refrigerator.

To serve, pour 1-3 tablespoons of the syrup into a pint glass and add water or seltzer. Or you can add a tablespoon to a couple shots of vodka or gin.

Monday, June 9

Wild Cherry Liquor from Le Marche, Visciolino

 A thriving local tradition in Le Marche is making homemade liquors/liqueurs to be served after dinner as a digestivo.  Using pure alcohol or grappa infused with fruits & herbs such as visciolino (wild cherry), nocino (walnut vanilla), brugnolino (wild plum/sloe) & many more!

Visciole is a tart wild cherry found in abundance in the Candigliano Valley of Northern Le Marche and its leaves make the most delicious & delicate after dinner cherry digestivo. Visciolino is made with 100 leaves of the cherry tree + 10 leaves from a peach tree along with red wine, sugar & pure alcohol. The recipe below is simple & passed to me by our dear neighbor Mama Mochi, traditionally made at the end of May/early June.

Wild Cherry Liqueur

1 liter of red wine
100 leaves of visciole (wild cherry tree)
10 leaves of a peach tree

Let soak for 10 days & filter.

Add 600 grams of sugar
1/2 liter of grappa or pure alcohol

Mix well, incorporating the sugar.

Bottle & enjoy! You can let it continue to season or age as well - keep in cool dark storage.

Friday, June 6

{Video} Taste of Italy: Porchetta - Whole Pig, Slow Roasted (The Original Food Truck)

Porchetta is one of our most favorite things! A whole pig, de-boned, filled with herbs like wild fennel and rosemary, rolled back up and then slow roasted...what's not to like?! This slice of heaven can be found at the weekly markets in Le Marche! Jason explains the recipe and the secret to ordering it the next time you are in Central Italy!

"Taste of Italy" is our webseries of shorts (under 2 min.) of life on our farm in Italy, the food, cooking classes, garden and more!
A shot of that porky goodness at a lunch feast at our farmhouse

Sunday, June 1

Podcast from Italy: Local Elections, Wine Tasting, The PH Factor and SlowFood

After an update on the weather and the garden we dive into a discussion on PH and Jason's new interest in micro-nutrients in soil and 'listening' to the plants. This Spring the farmhouse has been all a flutter with baby birds and nests in the trees & windowsills. Endless cherry picking... Jason shares a recipe for fried elderflowers using a super simple beer batter. Local elections are all the buzz around the region and we share our favorite marketing strategies.  A few festivals from Cantine Aperte (Open wineries throughout Italy) to SlowFood's return to Cagli for Distinti Salumi. 

Listen to our latest episode of "Podcast from Italy" on iTunes or Stitcher Radio!
at Terracruda Winery
Be sure to follow us on instagram for daily photos & videos @ashleybartner:
from the Cantine Aperte event:
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