Wednesday, August 20

Gelati Makes Me Happy!

Summer has brought gelati - buona gelati - good anytime-I've had it for breakfast, lunch, dinner & dessert! (We are fatties, what can I say, we'll shout out - "What time is it?" the answer..."Gelati-thirty!")Good anywhere - find a stool, wander down a cobble stone road, sit around a fountain or dangle your legs in the water - it really doesn't matter....Now what does matter is the flavor selection. This is serious business. Do I order a single flavor - or maximize my cone with 2 gusti (flavors) that compliment eachother...stick with the tried & true (for me caffe & pistacchio) or head towards the fruity side with something like melone (cantelope) which can be sooo good too! Jason sticks to lemone for something fresh & ciocolate (chocolate) & fior di latte (like a light vanilla). Sometimes I like to switch it up when we try out a new Gelateria - ohh I've never had this before...that doesn't always end up to be a good choice. I've had a few major disappointments.So what does gelato mean? It comes from the Italian word gelare "to freeze". Gelati is usually made from fresh milk & sugar combined with fresh ingredients. You want to find artisanal shops that make their own for the best, creamiest, freshest tasting gelati. Most gelateria's are closed in the winter around our neck of the woods- making spring & summer the only time to taste this treat fresh - so a girl's gotta get her fill!

Flavors: lots of hazelnut varieties (with chocolate or nutella for example), coffee (always a winner), pistacchio, one time in Rome I had cinammon - it was amazing - (one good cone, deserves another - I went back for seconds!!) Then the fruits - fragola (strawberry), frutti di bosco (fruit of the woods - berries)- when this one is made with real fruit it has such a rich dark color & can be out of this world! The list goes on & on.....

We feel it's our duty to try each spot in the area, really sample the flavors - find the best spots for guests, family & friends who come & visit...or at least this is what we tell ourselves after we've had gelati everynight for a week!

Favorite Spots around here:
Cafe del Corso in Piobbico
Cafe del Teatro in Urbania
Pino Bar in Fano

(All time favorite is in Volterra, I can't remember the name...)

A note on the pictures: I am not a super fatty, double fisted with the gelati - I am just holding Jason's ... i swear...

Tuesday, August 19

Eat Meat

It's never a dull moment here - the other day a neighbor stopped by (the same gentleman that delivers our wood) with a huge box of what else...meat! 18 kg or 32 lbs worth of straight beef!
He had just slaughtered a cow - Chianina, the big white cows of Le Marche & wanted to drop some off. 
Jason had no idea what was in the box as it was pushed to his face, the man spun to jump back in the car with a happy wave to say Ciao!
The box contained:
3 lbs ground beef
6 Rib eye steaks
40 slices of fettine pissaiola - veal for the pan
A huge eye round
4 filet mignon
4 oso buco
3 fatty rib eye steaks
beef with bones for stew
meat for brodo (broth) 
bones without meat for brodo (broth)

Now that is what I call a serious box of meat!  We have yet to get a bill for all this meat, but we can't believe that we could be lucky enough that it's a gift! We'll see....We're just happy eating our way through it & serving the delicious local meat to our guests.

Thursday, August 7

Everything's Peachy!

Peaches a plenty!! This has become our summer staple - we eat this brightly colored stone fruit almost daily - juicy, delicious & running down your chin & hands! Ahhh the bounty of summer fruits-we buy them buy the case!! I have started jarring/canning/perserving & making jams or marmalades as well as fillings for pies. Each batch comes out a little better than before! Jason has mastered peach sorbet & it is to die for - so light & refreshing any time of the day! This is a wonderful way to end a summer dinner. 
Sorbetta di Pesca
Peach Sorbet

3/4 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
2 1/2 lb. soft, ripe peaches, peeled, quartered & cores removed
juice & zest of 1 lemon
(1/4 cup grappa - to taste)

Find the freshest, ripest & softest peaches possible (or pears will work really nicely too!)
Combine sugar & water in a pan on the stove. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat & simmer for about 3 minutes.  Add peaches & continue to simmer for 5 minutes (unless they are super soft - then you don't need to cook them down).  Remove from the heat for 5 minutes, then add lemon juice  & zest.  Pour everything into a food processor & pulse until it's a puree.

(If you want to spike it with grappa, add it now, give it a stir & taste. The grappa shouldn't be too boozy or overbearing when you taste it - just nice & subtle. If you add too much alcohol it won't freeze.)

Pour the mixture into a shallow earthenware or thick porcelain dish (put this in the freezer before you begin to make freezing a bit faster). Put the dish in the freezer & whisk it up with a fork every half hour - make sure the scrap the edges & bottom too. After a couple hours (almost 3 hours of mixing) it should start coming together as a smooth frozen sorbet. 
Make sure that you are on top of the stirring to avoid forming ice crystals.
It will keep about 3 days in the freezer before it starts becoming icy.


Monday, August 4

Slow Food & Eating Seasonally

We recently worked on an article for Ecoescape (a green travel guide and online directory of environmentally friendly places to stay and visit.  It is a meeting place for green travellers to raise awareness of sustainable travel and responsible escapism in the UK and Ireland). We focused on Slow Food & eating seasonally at our agriturismo La Tavola Marche.  Slow Food is not about cooking in a crock pot ( a common misconception) but about eating locally, seasonally & protecting the heritage, tradition & culture of the food - which is exactly what we do every day, every meal!

Check out the article here -Ecoescape, Slow Food in Italy.

Friday, August 1

Eating Your Way Through Le Marche! August 2008

Agosto - August, the end of summer yet the festivities continue & so does our series!

August 2008

Pesaro

Pesaro dulcis in centro - Wednesday to Friday
Evening shopping, concerts, exhibitions, entertainment for kids, creative workshops, food tastings, guided tours, culture walks, lectures & more.

Cinema sotto le stelle - Cinema under the stars
Starting at 9pm

Acqualanga
Regional summer truffle festival, gastronomic specialties a
ll day in Piazza Mattei

Frontino
The triumph of the black truffle, convention, truffle market, gastronomic stands, arts & crafts, wine tastings, music, dancing & live entertainment in the old center


Gabicce Mare
Mercatino di prodotti naturali - Thursday & Sunday at 8:30pm
Natural products market at Gabicce Monte, Piazza Valbruna

Macerata Feltria
Mostra mercato di preziosi d'epoca - 1st weekend, Thursday - Sunday
Antiques market, jewellery, ornaments, lamps, lace, carpets, artists, muscians, gastronomic specialties, fashion show, vintage cars & motorcycles and more! Starts at 6:00pm

Montefelcino
Meractino del feudatario - 1st & 2nd Tuesday
Feudal market, evening time market of almost antiques, curiosities, collector's items, gastronomy, Renaissance costume procession, musical attractions and artistic exhibitions. Starting at 6pm in the old center.

Acqualagna
Fagiolata in Piazza
Bean soup in the town's main square at 8pm
0721.796741

Barchi
I sapori del castello - 1st weekend
Dishes from the past, cellars, crafts, choral & instrumental concerts, live entertainment & fireworks display. Starting at 6pm

Fano
Festa del mare - 1st weekend
Sea festival in the harbor area

Cantiano
Polenta festival - over the grill - taste of local food & products starting at 4pm

Cantiano
Sagra del Tartufo - 2nd Saturday
Truffle festival at 4pm

Cagli
Giuoco dell'oca - 2nd Sunday
Historic revival with procession in costume and battles between the local districts - starting at 4pm

Apecchio
Casteldelci
Palio dei Comuni - 2nd Sunday
Inter-district feud and ancient games

Cagli
Local district festival, tastes from the past in Pianello di Cagli

Sagra del bostregno - 14th & 15th
Bostregno festival - a local specialty in the afternoon in the old center

Belforte All'Isauro
Tombolone e ballo in piazza - 14th & 15th
Open air bingo & dancing in the town's main square

Borgo Pace
Sagra della Panzanella - 14th & 15th
Festival of panzanella - local bread

Orciano di Pesaro
The antique market of San Rocco, XIX century market with inns, merchants, minstrels, music, gastronomy & more - staring at 4pm in the old center

Cantiano
Festival of the wild boar starting in the afternoon in San Crescentino

Cantiano
Crayfish from the river festival

Cantiano
Le Rocche crossbow tournament, gastronomic stands starting in the afternoon in the old center.
(San Leo)
San Leo
AlchimiaAlchimie - All day on the 26th
This event is a tribute to Giuseppe Balsamo, better known as Count Cagliostro a famous figure in the Masonic circles of the 18th century, who was imprisoned into the fortress of San Leo and died there on the 26th of August 1795. Live entertainment in the old center with lectures, dinner and a spectacular fireworks display from the fortress.

Apecchio
Ancoragosto - last Friday
End of summer festival at 10:00pm

Borgo Pace
Festa della patata rossa - last weekend
Red potato festival in Piazza del Pino

Of course there are tons more festivities, these are specifically for the Pesaro-Urbino area - all within an hour of our Agriturismo/farmhouse making for the perfect day trip into the Le Marche hill towns!


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