Good Food and Great Wine in Italy’s Hidden Region

Italy’s Le Marche is a hidden region, its patchwork of rolling hills dotted with stone farmhouses surrounded by sunflowers, olives groves, and grapevines. Here you’ll find the classic Italian lifestyle of great food, wine, and cultural attractions, all for around $2,000 a month for a couple, including rent. The cuisine is varied and delectable, whether you’re in the hills or on the sea. Here are some of the specialties you should try:

Olive all’Ascolana: Big, mild, green olives are pitted and stuffed with mixed meats, then breaded and fried. A lighter version, stuffed with fish, is served along the Piceno coast.

Ciauscolo: Soft, spreadable, smoked salami, served on bread or bruschetta.

Brodetto: Seafood stew served throughout the coastal areas. Each province has its own version; for example, in Ancona it is tomato-based, while in the san Benedetto area it’s broth-based.

Tagliatelle: Fresh-made egg noodles are the favored pasta for Sunday pranzo (lunch), served with a variety of sauce options. The most unusual version is tagliatelle fritte, from Monterubbiano—a cream sauce is put on the pasta, which is then formed into balls, fried, and topped with a rich tomato sauce.

Maccheroncini: A thin, angel-hair pasta made in Campofilone, usually served with wild-boar sauce.

Formaggio di Fossa: Sharp yet delicately-flavored sheep’s-milk cheese from northern Marche that is aged in underground pits. (Fossa means hole or pit.)

Spezzatino: Various stews are popular. Made with rabbit, veal, or pork with vegetables.

Vincisgrassi: A decadent version of lasagna, used for celebrations. It’s luxuriant, with truffles and prosciutto.

Vino cotto: Literally “cooked wine,” the wine is boiled to concentrate it and then served as an after-dinner liqueur.

Arrosticini: Grilled skewers of tiny cubes of succulent lamb, it actually hails from the neighboring Abruzzo region, but it’s found all over Le Marche, as well.

Anisetta: Anise-based sweet liqueur, especially loved around Le Marche for its digestive properties. The most famous is Meletti, made in Ascoli Piceno, though other distilleries make it, too.

Discover more about life in Italy’s hidden region.

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