Saturday, January 17

Spring Cooking Program

La Tavola Marche has created a deliciously unforgettable holiday!
This Spring for those looking for something off the beaten-path, a story to take home from your holiday & to experience Italy how the locals live - this is the cooking holiday for you!

  Learn to make sausages from scratch, slow roast rabbit in the style of porchetta in the wood burning, gather wild edibles & learn enough Italian to order at a restaurant!
Join us in the kitchen - April 25th - May 2nd 2009




Arrival in Italy!


Welcome to La Tavola Marche!  Arrive to Prosecco in the Garden 

Four course feasts complete with house wine


Cooking Classes

Sweet & Savory - Tiramisu & Sausage making class! First we will create the classic Italian dessert and then get elbow deep in meat! Full lunch to follow serving the freshly stuffed sausages & fluffy tiramisu.



 Parliamo Italiano  

2 Language Lessons - learn the basics of Italian in Italy from a wonderful local teacher, each lesson is approximately 2 hours followed by a light lunch



Forno Legna!  

Forno legna- We will fire up the wood burning oven and slow roast rabbit in the style of porchetta!


Foraging & Pizza Dinner 

Wild Edibiles trip into the woods & along the Candigliano River with a picnic lunch packed by the Chef (weather permitting)

Pizza made in the outdoor wood burning oven - pick your topping & learn how to throw the dough!



Wine Tasting

Taste the wines of the region with a wine tasting of local reds & whites and the famed Verdecchio



Accomodations

Rustic romantic apartment rental at La Tavola Marche Agriturismo complete with wood beam ceilings, tile floors, exposed stone & cozy fireplaces!


Includes

~Dinners (at La Tavola Marche with house wine & dinner's out 2 nights at selected local Osteria's) 

~Breakfast daily

~Afternoons at leisure to explore the beautiful medieval hilltop villages, read, relax, horseback riding or anything you fancy!

~ Aperitivo served in every evening in the garden

~Apartment rental for 7 nights accomodations (cleaning, linens, heat)

~All taxes

~All classes

(Maximum of 8 guests)



€1,250 per person  



For more information, all the details & to book email: info@latavolamarche.com

Friday, January 16

50 Things We've Learned in Italy....

After one crazy year in Italy - my how things have changed! We can decidedly say we feel at home.  2008 has flown by with a new adventure everyday - it is hard to believe that 13 short months ago we were sitting in the Consulate General's office in NYC begging for our visa's.

We never could have done this on our own & the lis is long for those we owe thanks!  It is surreal that we live in this country, live on our beautiful land and get to live our dream...see we're sounding like Italians already!

Here are 50 Thing’s we’ve learned, little observations & funny tidbits (in no particular order)

  1. Ashley learned to drive stick 
  2. According to the Italians - Ashley looks Italian, Jason looks German
  3. Italians are very superstitious
  4. Caribineri jokes in Italy are like blonde jokes in America
  5. Finally how to curse properly!!
  6. Wet wood doesn’t burn
  7. How to be a neighbor
  8. Soccer is life
  9. Pancetta & porchetta are the best things on earth

  10. Swimming pools are a gigantic pain in the ass
  11. Water is not to be taken for granted
  12. Problems with the house only occur when there are guests here
  13. Stone houses are very cold in the winter, but perfect for the summer
  14. It takes 3 days to properly mow the lawn!
  15. Spare parts for ANYTHING take 2 weeks
  16. Time is flexible...
  17. Telecom italia are bastards!
  18. Don’t drive through the center of Urbino or you will surely get a ticket
  19. Latte crudo is the best milk ever

  20. How to drive like an Italian - using both lanes & passing like crazy
  21. How to cope without college football & the NFL
  22. Cook in a forno legna - wood burning oven
  23. Mid-day naps are great!
  24. The weather report is never right
  25. The obvious ... tons of recipes
  26. Running an agriturismo is a lot of work
  27. People actually read our blog
  28. Italian tv is hysterical and full of collagen & botox
  29. Awaking to the sounds of gun shots from hunters is now normal
  30. Italians love festivals! And they do it right!

  31. Italian coffee is the best on earth
  32. Getting your oil changed for the car is ridiculously expensive
  33. Red wine is a remedy for many ailments
  34. Everyone knows about gardening, plants & wild edibles
  35. Energy in all forms is crazy expensive
  36. On any given day, any given town may be closed to honor a saint
  37. Posted business hours are just a suggestion
  38. How to make sausages from scratch
  39. Italians have not forgotten about WWII
  40. Just because it is a nice restaurant don’t be surprised if the bathroom consists of just a hole in the floor

  41. Being wet or having a fever can kill you
  42. Everything has its own season - from the fruits & veg to the bugs & birds

  43. I love living here
  44. There is a proper outfit for everything - motorcycling, biking, hiking, shopping, soccer games, hunting & yard work
  45. They report on the pope’s health everyday in the paper
  46. Prices are negotiable
  47. Always have coffee & something sweet for unexpected drop-ins 
  48. State-run health care is great!
  49. There must have been a town meeting upon our arrival - everyone seems to know who we are before we meet them “ohhh the americans”
  50. We will never move back to the States

We've Been Blogged!

I am happy to share that the award-winning web site - Blog from Italy has written us up in a nice article - Slow Down at La Tavola Marche.

Here is a snippet:
"Expat Americans Ashley and her chef husband Jason run the idyllic La Tavola Marche in Le Marche, Italy.  American Ashley Bartner's enthusiasm for life and living in Italy becomes apparent as soon as she starts talking about how she and her husband, highly trained chef Jason Bartner, decided that Italy was the place for them to rent apartments at their La Tavola March Agriturismo."


Click here to read the story in its entirety & to subscribe to Alex Roe's fun & very informative informative blog on all things Italian!

Click HERE to make a reservation at our idyllic farmhouse / agriturismo!

Saturday, January 10

55 Pounds of Sausage, 25 Pounds of Salami - Vegetarian's Beware!

Last week we got together with our new friend Vittorio outside of Fano (on the coast) for a day of sausage & salami making! Vittorio has a sausage making haven in his backyard - all in old converted garage. He has been doing this for years not for work but for the pleasure of it & the passion he has for the meat!


In a little over 4 hours we had produced 55 pounds of sausage & 25 pounds of salami - all from absolute scratch!

Vittorio takes his sausage making VERY seriously - so seriously, that he has no real recipe, all done by the eye. All winter he turns hundreds of kilos of raw pork into sausages, salami, lonzo and pancetta all for his lucky friends & family! Winter is best for curing meats with the cold air passing through the tiny prick marks left in the casings.


It is a bit ambitious to make sausages at home, especially if you are reading this in the States so I won't type out the entire recipe - BUT if you make your way out to Le Marche this Spring the 25th of May - 2nd of April we have organized a sausage making class & week of cooking classes!

Sausage Making Basics:

Find the best pork shoulder possible
Salt & pepper
Half a glass of white wine

Grind it all up together & stuff it into casings.
Simple!

The sausages can be eaten immediatly or hung to dry for about a month in a cool dry place. Then placed under oil, lard or in a vaccum sealed bag - this is will last for a good six months.



Of the 15 kilos that we made about 12 kilos are being dried for our guests to devour this spring & summer. So the next time you are at La Tavola Marche you just may be lucky enough to try our homemade goods!

At one point I heard Vittorio call to his wife - "prendi un pentolino e forchetta" (bring me a little pan & a fork) ... Oh I knew what this meant - SAMPLE TIME!! And boy was I right - not long after the sweet smells of sizzling sausages filled the garage. After all the meat, I was a bit parched & asked for a glass of water - Vittorio grinned - "No bevi il vino!" (no drink the wine) I love that wine is perferred at all times over the inferior aqua.


I laugh to myself thinking of a particular episode of Seinfeld where Kramer uses Jerry's apartment to watch a movie - cut to Jerry opening the door with tons sausages hung from the ceiling - what is going on in here? "You said I could watch a video....an instructional video on how to make sausages!" For some reason this gets me everytime! Now we look like Jerry's apt with vines of meat hanging from our 200 year-old wood beam rafters!

It was a great way to spend a cold winter morning - elbow deep in meat! Grazie Vittorio!

For more information on our cooking classes & sausage making email me:
info@latavolamarche.com

Saturday, January 3

A Feast Fit for A King - Happy New Year

Happy New Year - Felice Anno Nuovo!!
I can't believe we've been living in Italy for a year! Incredible!! (More on that later...)
The holidays are holly jolly here so were were excited to celebrate the New Year with a house full of guests! We worked day & night - cooking & cleaning for our big party on New Year's Eve - Capodanno (or cap of the year) for a group of 28 young Italians.  They were ready to eat & party!  The fires were roaring, the kitchen was filled with food, the ground covered in snow, firecrackers popping & the vino flowing!  The menu created by Jason was awesome & every little thing was homemade! 

Aperitvo
Prosecco

Antipasti
Salumi Toscano, Formaggio (Aged & Semi-Aged Pecorino), Prosciutto di Umbria
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!

Primi
Lasagna Bianco with Porcini

Secondi
Zampa di Maiale  & Cotocchino con Lenticchi - Stuffed Pig's Foot and Lentils (don't know how to sugar coat that one- pig's foot is pig's foot - not my fav.)
Arrosto di Maiale - Pork Roast with White Beans

Dolce
Apple Cake
Paneforte
Chocolate
Nuts
Mandorin Oranges

Digestivi
Grappa
Sambucca
Spumanti
Limoncello

What a night - it didn't end til about 5am!!
Tonight we are headed to La Bafana festivities in Urbania!!
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