Sat

19

Oct

2013

Full moon at La Mela Rosa B&B in the foothills of the Sibillini Mountains

Autumn is a truly splendid time to be in Amandola and its environs.
Autumn is a truly splendid time to be in Amandola and its environs.
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Wed

09

Oct

2013

Autumn Festival in Montefalcone, Le Marche this weekend

Tastes of autumn - street artists;typical local dishes to sample; truffles, cheeses, walnuts and other goodies for sale.
Tastes of autumn - street artists;typical local dishes to sample; truffles, cheeses, walnuts and other goodies for sale.
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Sun

06

Oct

2013

Truffle festival in Amandola, Le Marche

Truffles!!  Only baby ones but the hunt was fun.
Truffles!! Only baby ones but the hunt was fun.

Friday afternoon saw the arrival of 15 bloggers in Amandola for a Blog Tour organised by our local tourist association, Sibillin segreti e sapori.  Great dinner on Friday evening at Casa per Ferie Fillide (Thanks, Katty Lupi!) then Saturday the bloggers were divided into 4 interest groups - the mountains, the historic borghi, wine (including paper-making and soap-making using grapes skins) and truffles (truffle dog training, hunting and eating lots of truffles, even a truffle massage!).  Saturday evening everyone was reunited for a splendid dinner at Agriturismo Biologico La Conca (Thanks, Mirela!) with dolci provided by Angela from Angela Garden B&B. She's a fabulous maker of cakes and tarts!

 

We had one of the truffle bloggers staying with us and so it reminded me that Amandola's truffle festival is coming up on the first and second weekends in November.  So, if you are interested in truffles, come and visit Amandola and the Sibillini, where you can join a truffle hunt, eat a dish of pasta with truffles, even buy some white truffles (only about €1,000 per kilo.....!!). 

 

 

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Thu

12

Sep

2013

International Workshop at Monte San Martino, Le Marche

From 9 to 22 September, there is an international workshop, organised by the Fine Arts Institute of Macerata, taking place in Monte San Martino.  There are currently seven young Italians, five Rumanians and five English art students wondering about Monte San Martino with their drawing pads in hand.

 

Come along to the exhibition and final event at 5pm on 22 September.

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Thu

05

Sep

2013

ITALY AVIATION DAY EXPO 2013 - AIR SHOW DEL FERMANO 6, 7 & 8 SEPTEMBER.

Teatro L'Aquila, Fermo
Teatro L'Aquila, Fermo

Starting tomorrow afternoon, 6 September, 2013, and ending on Sunday evening with a gala dinner is the Italy Aviation Day Expo at Fermo. 

 

On Friday, from 6.30pm on, there are a number of sporting demonstrations including an exhibition bout by the Italian and European lightweight boxing champion, Vittorio Oi, a display of rhythmic gymnastics by the female World Champions from the Aeronautica Miltare sports group and a kickboxing competition.

 

There will be stands open in the afternoons, an airshow at 3pm both Saturday and Sunday and a concert by the Aeronautica Miltare band at 9pm on Saturday in Fermo's Teatro L'Aquila.

 

For more information (albeit in Italian!):

 http://www.aviationday.it/programma.htm

Esibizione della Banda dell’ Aeronautica Militare presso il Teatro L’ Aquila Fermo

Aeronautica Militar

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Tue

27

Aug

2013

Le Canestrelle, Amandola 2013

0 Comments

Fri

23

Aug

2013

Kind compliment from recent guests at La Mela Rosa

Our guests' bike and me being a bikie......sort of!
Our guests' bike and me being a bikie......sort of!

 

 

Some recent guests from Ravenna arrived on their motor bike and decided to join us and two other guests for dinner at La Mela Rosa. It was an enjoyable evening and they even liked my Australian "cuisine"! 

 

Rob and I were quite touched when they told us on leaving that their stay had been more like visiting old friends than staying in a B&B. 

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Tue

20

Aug

2013

Torneo Cavalleresco Castel Clementino, Servigliano

Sunday, I went with a friend to the last day of the Torneo Cavalleresco in Servigliano.It goes for nine days with different events each day - medieval music, dinners, games.

 

Sunday's event was a little like Ascoli's Quintana but on a smaller scale. We watched the procession of the representatives of the five contradas, all dressed in medieval costume, as they walked, to the beating of the drums, from Castel Clementino to the sport field (part of a prisoner-of-war camp during WWII) where the Giostra dell'anello took place. As real jousting is out of the question (too much blood and gore and probably no volunteers!), the five riders, one for each of the contradas, race against the clock on a figure of eight track carrying a lance which they use to take 3 rings from a tower on the middle of the track.  

 

Beautiful horses, wonderful horsemanship and incredible skill with the lance - an event worth seeing. 

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Sun

11

Aug

2013

Hot air ballooning in the Sibillini!

Up, up and away near San Ginesio, Le Marche.
Up, up and away near San Ginesio, Le Marche.

During a recent Wednesday morning shift at the Information Point in Amandola, I had an enquiry for hot air ballooning. My immediate thought, but fortunately kept to myself, was "I seriously doubt it"!!  Within two phone calls, I had discovered that there IS hot air ballooning in the Sibillini and I had spoken to Simone of ballon.it. 

 

Ballon.it is a team of 6 pilots with many hours of experience, who have participated in national and international competitions. Their national instructor has crossed the Alps in a solitary flight of 250 km in 4 hours. 

For  several years they have done tourist flights in hot air balloon in central Italy from different take off areas  including San Ginesio and other areas near the Sibillini National Park in Le Marche.  They have  balloons for different needs, from a minimum capacity of 2 passengers to a maximum of 12.

 

Simone told me that it's best to go up early in the morning although they will do late afternoons if the clients have a strong preference.  For more information  or to book a flight, have a look at www.ballon.it.

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Mon

05

Aug

2013

Straw Hat Festival at Montappone, Le Marche

Some Montapponses showing us how they flattened the plaited straw.
Some Montapponses showing us how they flattened the plaited straw.

On 26 July, Rob and I went to the Straw Hat Festival in Montappone, about 40 minutes from La Mela Rosa.  It's a lovely old village, situated on a hill like most of the medieval villages in the region.  With the help of some young and enthusiastic Montapponese, we learnt about the life of the contadini (peasant farners), the factotum, who stood between them and the powerful landlords, and how the farmers started making the straw hats in the 1800s to augment their meagre living. 

 

We then moved on to see the various stages of making the hats the old way, including the machine for dividing the straw according to size and the chest in which the straw was laid with some smoking sulphur to whiten it.  At one stop, we were given what looked like red wine but which was 50% red wine, 40% cherry syrup and 60% lemonade. It was cool, sweet and refreshing and, being unsophisticated drinkers, we loved it!  

 

There was traditional music as well as a live, modern concert later in the evening.  Lots of good things to eat and some great hats to buy.  

 

Montappone still makes straw hats - all the population (1,200), except for those who are retired, work in the industry. 

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Thu

01

Aug

2013

The plain of Castelluccio di Norcia - flowers & more flowers.

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Thu

25

Jul

2013

It's a Harry Potter broom!!

Amandola's "magical" broom.
Amandola's "magical" broom.

 

 

Actually, it's not a Harry Potter broom but the broom that the street sweepers use in Amandola.  They have the usual motorised street sweeper, but they are often to be seen sweeping with one of these brooms.  I just love them!

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Sun

21

Jul

2013

New things happening at Tomeo!

Miss Hepburn's cape......well, it could be!
Miss Hepburn's cape......well, it could be!

Tiziana and Elisabetta of Tomeo Design in Santa Vittorio in Matenano are currently creating some elegant and unique wedding dresses.  They have been invited to participate in a fashion parade for emerging designers to be held in the Basilicata Region on 28 July and 3 August, 2013. 

 

As well as preparing for the parade, they have also produced some fabulous '50's style outfits, including a fabulous black and grey strapless dress, and some short capes - 

very "Audrey Hepburn"!

 

Of course, Tomeo are still creating their unique bags and now a range of bracelets.

 

For more information email Pauline; info@lamelarosa.net 

0 Comments

Tue

16

Jul

2013

Beautiful Monte San Martino, Le Marche

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Mon

15

Jul

2013

“Beautiful B&B -- Great Host and Hostess.”

The terrace outside Bedroom 3
The terrace outside Bedroom 3

This is what some recent guests had to say about us on tripadvisor:

 

Mela Rosa is a wonderful bed and breakfast located a few minutes outside of Amandola and at the foot of the Sibillini Mountains. The house and grounds overlook the surrounding countryside, providing beautiful vistas of farms and fields. Rooms are attractively decorated, comfortable and inviting. The proprietors, Rob and Pauline, are warm and welcoming. They made us feel like we were visiting old friends. They are extremely knowledgeable about the area and made terrific recommendations for restaurants and nearby hikes in the mountains. This is a must if you are staying in the area.

 

We'd enjoyed their company too!

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Sat

13

Jul

2013

Tibetan dinner under the stars at Smerillo

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Tue

09

Jul

2013

Red currant jelly!

Beautifully labelled by Rob.....!!
Beautifully labelled by Rob.....!!

 

Thanks to our kind friend, Giovanna, who has lots and lots of red currant bushes at her Country House, La Querceta di Marnacchia, we were able to make some delicious red currant jelly last weekend.  I think it's usually served with lamb in the UK but here, in the Marchigiani tradition, we are eating it with cheese - mostly peccorino.

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Mon

08

Jul

2013

Sapa - a recent discovery at La Mela Rosa B&B

Sapa - made at Ortezzano, Le Marche
Sapa - made at Ortezzano, Le Marche

A friend recently told me he had bought a bottle of Sapa from the new shop in Amandola run by the Anessi family (see my blog, Amandola has a new shop of 10 June, 2013)).  I'd never heard of Sapa and was interested to find out more, particularly as our friend said it was delicious.  

 

I have discovered that it is a condiment, typical of Marche, Emilia Romagna and Sardegna, used a lot by the contadini (peasant farmers) in the "old" days.  It's a thickish syrup made from the mosto (unfermented grape juice) of either white or red grapes.  It was used as a sweetner in cakes & sweets as well as to improve dishes such as polenta.  Our friend ate it with some cheese and loved it.

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Sat

06

Jul

2013

As my mother would have said "pride goes before a fall" but anyway.....

Amandola - 5 km from  La Mela Rosa B&B
Amandola - 5 km from La Mela Rosa B&B

..... I'm still going to copy here some extracts from a tripadvisor review written by some recent guests.

 

My wife and I are professionals in our late 30s from the Northeast US. We visited Italy for a family reunion in Tuscany in late May. With four extra days to ourselves, we wanted to find a location where we could do vigorous day hikes and relax in the evenings. Some research on the internet led us to Sibillini National Park, and we found La Mela Rosa on TripAdvisor. It worked out better than we could have hoped. The positive reviews below are accurate: Pauline and Rob are wonderful hosts, the setting is beautiful, breakfasts were tasty. Let me add a few details that you might find useful.

Location: LMR is about 2 miles from Amandola, perched in a rolling valley. The roads through the valley are dirt, so a SUV is helpful. It's a lovely area for walks. The vistas are nothing but idyllic farms and small mountaintop towns.

Rooms: We thought the rooms struck a just-right balance between contemporary and traditional. Not cluttered. Very clean, well appointed, not-quite luxury. Hand-made soaps in the large bathroom. Comfortable firm mattress. No TV or WiFi.* Just what we wanted. At their prices, the value is amazing.

 

Surrounding area: There is absolutely no ugly development. From what we saw, this part of Le Marche is entirely old small towns and small farms. There are dozens of tiny hilltop towns, each with cobblestone streets, a few shops, one or two restaurants, and views of the sea, hills, and mountains. My wife and I agree it was the most beautiful "man-made" (cultivated and inhabited) landscape we've ever seen.

Restaurants: Each of our dinners in Le Marche was unique and enjoyable, but the most memorable was at an agriturismo called "La Conca" near Smerillo. Pauline called ahead in the morning. The only customers, we were served a creative, tasty, home-made, home-grown meal with home-made wine on a small organic farm overlooking snow-capped mountains with the sun setting. 

Rob and Pauline: My wife and I are not "bed and breakfast people." In fact, we generally find B&Bs too cutesy. We go on vacation to spend time with one another, not with B&B proprietors. But in this situation, the B&B is what made the trip a success. The experience would not have been the same without Pauline giving recommendations, making arrangements, and drawing maps. Moreover, Rob and Pauline are lovely people with rich experiences, and we enjoyed sharing stories and learning about Le Marche over tea in the late afternoons.
 

Le Marche and Sibillini National Park are either unknown or undesirable to most tourists. I cannot understand why. We saw no other Americans and only a handful of Germans and Brits in 4 days. The only other guests at the LRM were Italians (getting away from Tuscany!). I hate to let a secret out, but the Marche felt a lot more like "real Italy" than Montepulciano, where we encountered tour buses and irritable English-speaking waiters. If you like a slower pace of life, hiking, and beautiful scenery, I don't think you will be disappointed by a stay at La Mela Rosa.

 

By the way, the guests rated us "excellent"!

 

*Actually, there is Wi Fi. 

 

0 Comments

Thu

04

Jul

2013

Something new & different at Smerillo, Le Marche

Smerillo - this house always has lots of flowers outside.
Smerillo - this house always has lots of flowers outside.

On 12, 13 & 14 July, 2013, there will be four Tibetan monks visiting Smerillo from Rome.  The monks, of course, are in exile from Tibet.

 

At 6pm on Friday at the Church of Saint Catherine, the monks will start making a sand mandala, a spiritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism which represents the Universe. At 8pm, there will be a traditional Tibetan meal eaten together under the stars in the small piazza behind the church.

 

On Saturday and Sunday, there will be instructions from the monks on meditation, music, a walk with Forestcamp's donkeys and a picnic lunch - a different way to spend the weekend.

 

To book the dinner call Marco on 347-6820066.  Cost: €15 per head. Proceeds to TSOPEMA (non-profit organisation)

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Mon

01

Jul

2013

Firefly season!

The fireflies WERE there amongst the trees......  Pity about the flash!
The fireflies WERE there amongst the trees...... Pity about the flash!

The magical fireflies are back!  Just lovely to sit outside having dinner and watch them darting amongst the walnut trees.

 

A recent guest had this to say about them:

 

"Besides the making of new friends, my most cherished memory of the trip is taking the girls outside at night to watch the fireflies.  I have not seen fireflies since I was a child (40 some odd years ago) and sharing that magical moment with the girls is one that I will always remember."

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Sat

29

Jun

2013

Cycling in Amandola and the Sibillini Mountains

Cycling is not new to the Amandolese.
Cycling is not new to the Amandolese.

Cycling is a passion for a lot of people in this area, either on a mountain bike in the Sibillinis or on the road heading for the coast.  We even have our own fearless, Australian downhill racer who competes with the Smile Bike Team from Potenza Picena near Macerata in the Gravity Cup and other competitions.

 

The Amandola Bici (Bike) Club heads off for a ride every Sunday about 9am from Bar Stazione. They welcome anyone who would like to join them for the ride. Franco Copponi, owner of the Conad Supermarket and mountain biker extrordinaire would happily have you join him on a ride in the Sibillinis - if you are fit enough, of course!

 

If you are over this way and want to cycle but don't have a bike, there are a number of places to rent either a mountain bike (Agricamp Picobello at Montelparo) or a road bike (contact Pauline via email info@lamelarosa.net or phone (39)0736 848664).

 

As you can see from the photo, the passion for cycling is not new to the Amandolese!

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Tue

25

Jun

2013

Silk stockings from Amandola.....!

The mulberry tree - more like a green "afro" than a "hat" perhaps!
The mulberry tree - more like a green "afro" than a "hat" perhaps!

 

Yesterday I was looking at an old house at Casa di Tasso, just outside Amandola. In the garden was a gnarled, old tree which wore a "hat" of green leaves.  I asked the owner about it.  He told me that it was a mulberry tree and that it was the last of many that had been on the land.  The trees were all male as the farmers didn't want any fruit. The leaves were used to feed silkworms which may have got a disease if they ate leaves stained with the fruit and/or the juice.

 

Until the Americans started selling nylon stockings in the early 1940s, the area had produced silk which was sold for silk stockings.  

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Fri

21

Jun

2013

Great idea from "Aria" - handmade bags & belts at Monte Urano, Le Marche

The snakeskin "flower" from Aria, Monte Urano, Le Marche
The snakeskin "flower" from Aria, Monte Urano, Le Marche

Last Thursday, when visiting the artisans with Luciana from CNA Fermo, we also went to see Ariana of Aria, handmade bags, belts, coats...  Ariana has a wonderful selection of snakeskin bags in all shapes and sizes as well as belts, "patchwork" coats and cloths.

 

She kindly gave us a gift as we were leaving.  It was a snakeskin "flower" with a stretchy cord attached and a key ring & clip.  The idea is that, if you have one of those bags in which you can never find your keys, you loop the elastic around the handle, attach your keys to the clip and drop the "flower" and keys into your bag.  It's fabulous and it works!  No more bad language and much fossicking for my ever-elusive car keys!  They are very reasonably priced at only €15.

2 Comments

Thu

20

Jun

2013

Benedictine Monastery Santa Maria delle Rose, Sant'angelo in Pontano

The nuns at Monastero Santa Maria delle Rose.  They look happy.
The nuns at Monastero Santa Maria delle Rose. They look happy.

I've yet to visit but I've recently heard that the Benedictine nuns at Sant Angelo in Pontano weave their own cloth.  They have rebuilt the original looms and will make all kinds of things to order - towels, sheets, Christening outfits, tablecloths, curtains, bomboniere. 

 

Unlike most monastic orders, this monastery is growing and the average age is much lower than the norm aided by the younger women that are entering.  Apparently, when they are officially accepted into the order, they arrive on their father's arm wearing a wedding dress and then leave in the nun's habit with their hair cut.

 

It's possible to go and visit the monastery to see the looms and the nuns at work.  They will accept orders if there is something you especially want made.

 

Have a look at  http://www.santamariadellerose.com/Arte-Telaio 

 

0 Comments

Tue

18

Jun

2013

Virtually hand-made shoes from Bruno Parmigiani, Montegranaro, Le Marche

Andrea busy glueing
Andrea busy glueing

Last Thursday, I had another interesting trip with Luciana from CNA (artisans' association) in Fermo.  This time, we visited Bruno Parmigiani who began making shoes for men under his home in 1976.  Until 2000, Signore Parmigiani made shoes for others and didn't have a brand himself.  That changed when his daughter, Monia and her husband, Andrea (selected, so Monia tells me, because of his interest in making shoes...!!), took over the business (now called Calzaturificio Termical) from her father and made his name the brand -  "Bruno Parmigiani".

 

The business now has it's own premises across the road from Signore Parmigiani's home.  Although machines are used to stitch, glue, cut the leather soles, etc, the shoes are virtually hand-made as there is always someone (Andrea or his father-in-law Bruno) carrying out the various tasks at the machines, one shoe at a time.

Andrea tells me everything is used and/or recycled.  The form (which used to be wooden) is made in plastic to their design specifications.  Later, when the style is no longer made, the plastic forms are sent back to the manufacturer where they are melted down to make new ones.  Even the heels are made from compressed leather that has been shaved off the soles.

 

They make about 100 pairs of shoes per day - 99% mens' shoes although they have recently introduced a casual moccasin for women in suede. The shoes cost €75 - €85, are all leather and very elegant.  If they don't have a client's size, they will make them within a week and send them to the client.

 

www.brunoparmigiani.it

 

 

 

0 Comments

Sun

16

Jun

2013

Making shoes at Bruno Parmigiani, Montegranaro, Le Marche

0 Comments

Fri

14

Jun

2013

Just something I thought was interesting here in Le Marche

The old and the new
The old and the new

 

 

Not sure who makes the € notes - the individual countries or the European Union.  However, the new €5 note cannot be used in automatic machines such as for petrol or parking and, if run through a counterfeit detector, it shows as a fake!

0 Comments

Mon

10

Jun

2013

Amandola has a new shop.

Some of the goods for sale in Amandola's new shop
Some of the goods for sale in Amandola's new shop

The chocolate and coffee bean shop has moved further down Via Cesare Battisti, the main street in Amandola, which is probably just as well because it’s out of temptation’s way. In its place is a new shop opened by Signore Annessi, a man in his eighties, in what was his mother’s Alimentari. ( These were the delicatessens and general food stores before supermarkets came to Italy). Roberto, his son, is a truffle hunter and the shop has been principally set up to sell white and black truffles and porcini when in season. However, they are also selling a 12 year old vino cotto (delicious!), wine, dried porcini, pasta, bottled fruit, a selection of truffle products such as sauces for pasta. No truffle oil as it isn’t possible to make despite what you may just have bought from your local deli…

 

Signore Anessi had kept a lot of his mother’s equipment and has put on display her old slicer, some scales and an old coffee grinder amongst other things.

0 Comments

Sun

09

Jun

2013

Azienda Biologico Agrituristica La Conca, Smerillo

La Conca's wine pasta shells filled with cottage cheese and chives.
La Conca's wine pasta shells filled with cottage cheese and chives.

That's the very long name of where we went with some friends last Sunday for a fabulous lunch.  I've mentioned Mirela, Gian-Carlo, her goose that thinks it's a dog and her rose petal jam in an previous blog.  They now have a restaurant licence. "Biologico" means the food is organic and they grow a lot if it themselves.  If anyone is interested, Mirela will show them their garden and point out the various herbs, salad greens and flowers, such as borage, that she uses in her cooking.

 

We ate sitting under the portico, looking at the stupendous view - rolling, velvety-green hills with a backdrop of the snow-capped Sibillini Moutains.  The food, beautifully presented, just kept coming - pecorino cheeses with a selection of jams (rose petal, elderberry, chilli and green walnut), sage & rosemary in crunchy, crispy batter, pasta shells made with wine and filled with cottage cheese and chives, a frittatta made with wild mint, great lasagna (the pasta hand-made), roast lamb which was lovely, a chocolate semifreddo served with balsamic vinegar and a cake.  We could have had bottled wine but the drinkers amongst us chose to have a jug of the house red made by Gian-Carlo and said it was the right decision as the wine was excellent. Oh! I forgot the poppy seed bread rolls straight from the oven - warm and soft and delicious!

0 Comments

Sat

08

Jun

2013

Via, Villa, Contrada.....??? What's the difference here in Le Marche?

The sign on the way up to La Mela Rosa B&B
The sign on the way up to La Mela Rosa B&B

There is an old house just up from our gate with "Villa Caccianebbia" written on it.  I assumed for a long time that it was the name of the house but I have since understood that it's there as the name of the street. 

 

In Amandola, the streets are "Via" as is usual in Italy (except for Ascoli Piceno where some streets in the very old quarter are "Rue").  However, I have been thoroughly confused as to why some streets in the countryside are called "villa" and some "contrada".  Our friend from Monte San Martino who knows all the local history backward explained it to me. It seems that:

 

A villa was a group of houses, lived in by diverse families but not owned by them, that sprang up in the countryside near a village and which usually took its name from the ruling family.

 

A contrada was (still is) part of the local countryside which took its name from the characteristics of the terrain, or from events that happened there or from the saints which the local inhabitants worshipped for some reason.

 

In our case, "Caccianebbia" was not the name of a ruling family.  It is where Blessed Antonio sent the fog to confuse the soldiers who had come from Sarnano to capture Amandola.  They became lost and frightened and ran off home. It means "hunting fog".

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Mon

03

Jun

2013

Silvano Zanchi, Goldsmith, Fermo.

Coral & gold pendant designed & made by Silvano Zanchi                           B&B La Mela Rosa
Coral & gold pendant designed & made by Silvano Zanchi B&B La Mela Rosa

Recently, I had the opportunity, thanks to Luciana of the CNA, to visit a number of artisans in the Fermo area.  One of the them was Silvano Zanchi, an artisan who makes unique and beautiful jewellery using gold and semi-precious stones such as coral, amethyst, moonstone, jade, turquoise, pearls, crystal.

 

Signore Zanchi was born at San Sepolcro in Tuscany in 1948.  Much to the surprise and dissatisfaction of his contadino (farmer) father, at 16 he went to the Art Institute of San Sepolcro (l'Istituto d'Arte).  He had no special interest in gold when he began his studies but it was the medium he first used and he loved working with it. It became his passion.

 

Silvano was not even 18 years old when he won a competition to teach at the Art Institute (Istituto d'Arte) at Fermo.  Despite his youth, he was given the teaching position that he had won as the headmaster was so keen to have him, he took responsibility for him until he turned 18. He taught there for many years, 25 of them as head of the goldsmith department. He now has his workshop and jewellery store in Fermo where he has on display some of the most gorgeous pieces of jewellery I have ever seen.  Each piece is a one-off, either designed by Silavno or made to the specifications of his client.  He has won numerous awards for his jewellery and held exhibitions throughout Italy as well as in Dubai.

 

If you are visiting historic Fermo, you can see Silvano's work at 37 Via Vittorio Veneto or have a look at zanchi.artforjob.it.  

0 Comments

Sun

02

Jun

2013

A Mexican recipe from Amandola, Le Marche, Italy....

The Cooking Collection by Linda Venturoni.                                                                      B&B La Mela Rosa
The Cooking Collection by Linda Venturoni. B&B La Mela Rosa

 

 

My son sent me an email late last night wanting my recipe for Guacamole...if I was still awake.  Silly question, I wasn't, of course!  However, I found my recipe which I haven't made for ages but which I certainly will soon (if I can find an avocado in Amandola) as it is delicious!  Here it is:

 

 

 

 

Gucamole (Mexican Avocado Dip)

1 large ripe avocado, mashed

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 medium tomato, peeled & finely chopped

1 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Few drops Tabasco or any bottled hot pepper sauce Pinch pepper

 

Put all in a blender. If you haven't got one (but it's much better if you have), stir together the avocado, onion & tomato. Then fold through the rest. Cover and chill until served. If you don't cover it, the dip will go brown.

 

If thinned with a little milk, makes a good salad dressing.

 

I've made this recipe so often in the past that the page has fallen out of the book (promotion by Sunbeam and Linda Venturoni in 1983. Regency Publications).

1 Comments

Fri

31

May

2013

For those Loreto Normanhurst "old girls" who play tennis....

0 Comments

Thu

30

May

2013

A very early birthday present!

My tapestry chocolates               B&B La Mela Rosa
My tapestry chocolates B&B La Mela Rosa

Yesterday, whilst doing my bit at the tourist information point in our village of Amandola, some very lovely friends came up, bought me a cup of tea over from the nearby bar and presented me with a very early birthday (it's September) present.  Norma knows I am mad about chocolate and she had spent six months embroidering a "box full of chocolates" and then had it framed.  It's gorgeous!  Only trouble is, each time I look at it, I feel the urge to eat chocolate....

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Wed

29

May

2013

The Corradini Organic Farm on the outskirts of the village of Amandola

The Corradini Organic Farm                       B&B La Mela Rosa
The Corradini Organic Farm B&B La Mela Rosa

Today we would like to introduce you to a local business that is practically neighbours with La Mela Rosa. It is LA FATTORIA BIOLOGICA CORRADINI (The Corradini Organic Farm), an agricultural business run by the Corradini Family since 1989. They cultivate their fields using organic methods and produce good quality beef and pork which can be delivered straight to one’s home.

 

The farm is on the outskirts of Amandola, our nearby village, in the foothills of the Sibillini Mountains. If you would like to visit a real farm, the Corradini family would be happy to welcome you

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Sun

26

May

2013

Some very gifted artisans near Fermo, Le Marche

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Thu

23

May

2013

Well, was Amandola's Robin Hood a bandit or a hero??

Amandola - Did Manardo escape down a street such as this??      B&B La Mela Rosa
Amandola - Did Manardo escape down a street such as this?? B&B La Mela Rosa

 

 

So, continuing our story of Manardo, to find out if he was a bandit or a hero, we have to go back to the 16th century: the great power of the Catholic Church, the Pope's corruption, the clergys' bribery.  In fact, they used to charge people for masses, weddings, funerals and many other religious ceremonies; they would also demand and get 10% of the crops from farmers who lived miserable lives and were starved by the lords' and the landowners' greed.

 

Morgante Manardo wanted to fight against poverty and injustice. The people were on his side because he opposed the overpowerful Church. That's why the clergy considered him a "bandit" and a "rebel", while ordinary people thought he was a "hero".

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Wed

22

May

2013

Amandola's love story

B&B Marche               Amandola
B&B Marche Amandola

It is said that in ancient Greece, the Spartan King Lycurgus had a daughter, Phyllis, who married the handsome Demophon.

 

Unfortunately, the young man had to join the army because the war with Troy had broken out. Time passed slowly and when the war was over Phyllis waited impatiently for her husband to come back to her, but he didn't turn up.  One day rumours were spread that Demophon would never come back to his wife as he had fallen in love with another woman.  Phyllis, crazy and sick with jealousy, left Greece in desperation.

 

When she reached the Sibillini Mountains, she killed herself in a place called Castel Leone (today's Piazza Alta in Amandola). As soon as she fell to the ground her body changed into a big, beautiful almond tree which had strong roots and branches but no leaves.

 

In the meantime, Demophon had arrived back in Sparta and had been told about Phyllis' desperate departure.  He decided to look for her.  He set sail across the Adriatic Sea and arrived at Castel Leone where he was given the sad news of Phyllis' death.  He could do nothing but embrace the trunk of the almond tree and, then the miracle ocurred, thousands of buds blossomed on the branches that had been bare.

 

Amandola gets it's name from that ancient almond tree, "La Mandola", which grew on the hillside of Castel Leone.

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Tue

21

May

2013

Was Manardo Amandola's Robin Hood?

Amandola, Piazza Alta: The small, white square just under the clock face is where the words are carved.
Amandola, Piazza Alta: The small, white square just under the clock face is where the words are carved.

On the front of the imposing clock tower standing in Amandola's Piazza Alta, visitors can read the following words carved on a stone:

 

Morgante Manardo,

bandito impositore

di taglie usuralo

tiranno et rebelle

di santa chiesa.

 

A bandit, a rebel, a rascal?  Who then was Marnardo?

 

An ancient document reports that "he was accused of arson, theft & murder; on November 17th, 1597, he was beheaded and butchered with eight other criminals in the square of Macerata and the following day his head was carried to la Mandorla (the old name for Amandola) and put into the tower."

 

The popular tradition, tells instead about a handsome and sturdy man leading a sort of People's Army: a warrior from Sibillini. All the people in Amandola used to organise great dinners and wonderful dancers when he came back home from his adventures.  All the women in Amandola were madly in love with this valiant man and they were ready to help him every time he had to flea through the secret undergound passages conecting Piazza Alta with the Tenna River.

 

Well then, was Manardo a bandit or a hero? 

 

To be continued......

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Tue

14

May

2013

Downhill racing at Citta di Castello

Ryan racing downhill at Citta di Castello.
Ryan racing downhill at Citta di Castello.

I've mentioned Ryan before, the mad downhill racer who married local girl Alessia last October.  Recently, as part of the Smile Team, he participated in the regional downhill racing championships at Citta di Castello in Umbria.  Ryan came second in the Master 1 category and sixth overall.  The Smile Team love him, no doubt because he has absolutely no sense of fear!

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Sat

11

May

2013

The deer that share La Mela Rosa with us.

Two lovely deer               Photo by N. Joseph
Two lovely deer Photo by N. Joseph

There are several small deer (caprioli) that live in the woods near La Mela Rosa.  We see them often in our wood, crossing our driveway or eating our pine trees....

 

On my morning walk with Polly, there was one in the nearby field.  He stood perfectly still watching us, then took off - leaping and running across the field.  He was truly a joyous sight!

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Thu

09

May

2013

Le Vele di San Ruffino or the Sails of San Ruffino sails

The Sails of San Ruffino 2013   Photo by N. Joseph
The Sails of San Ruffino 2013 Photo by N. Joseph

 Le Vele di San Ruffino, or The Sails of San Ruffino, is what the Regatta was called this year, due to a change of sponsors I believe.  Anyway, whatever the name, it was once  again a great success. 

 

Our guests from Ferrara and Rimini were sailing in the regatta.  One of them told me that it was such a pleasure to be part of it because the area was so beautiful and because they were welcomed so warmly and generously by the community.  The first day was the heats and that night, all the sailors and their families were given a guided tour of Smerillo and it's Museum of Contemporary Art followed by dinner at Ristorante Le Logge.

 

The day of the regatta was 25 April, a holiday here, the weather was good and the lake side was covered with lots of interesting stands - papermaking, free Shiatsu massage, ceramics with the artisan at work, Aria's handmade bags, hats from Montappone, honey, jams (including a delicious chilly one), donkey rides and much more!

 

Not sure who won but I think it might have been two of our guests.....

 

 

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Tue

07

May

2013

Pot of gold at the end of the rainbow???

Rainbow over Amandola             photo by M. Joseph
Rainbow over Amandola photo by M. Joseph

 

Well, it's been a bit of a soggy, old spring this last week or so.  But the rain does have some pluses as illustrated by this gorgeous rainbow in the photo taken by our friend, Maurice Joseph.

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Sat

04

May

2013

Last night's concert at Teatro La Fenice in Amandola

Edy Mercuri, vocalist, and the "Old 5 Swingers"
Edy Mercuri, vocalist, and the "Old 5 Swingers"

Rob and I went to La Fenice yesterday evening to see "The Old 5 Swingers".  Instead of retiring (the saxophonist is 80!), a group of musicians who, having played both internationally as well as in Italy, decided to get together to keep on playing, for their own pleasure and that of their audiences. 

 

The group comprises a pianist, a saxophonist, a guitarist, drummer, and combined xylophone and piano accordion player plus their female vocalist.  Whilst advertised as Big Band Swing, they were much more eclectic playing Gershwin's "Summer Time", Piaf's "La Vie en Rose", Marks & Simons' "All of Me", a couple of Dave Brubeck's number and a even their rendition of "Quando, Quando, Quando" amongst other things.  

 

A fun evening enhanced, as always happens, simply by being in the gorgeous Teatro La Fenice.

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Thu

02

May

2013

Fabulous boutique hotel in Montelparo, Le Marche

The Colonial Room
The Colonial Room

We have been twice to Hotel Leone in Montelparo for dinner but this morning, for the first time, I saw the whole of the hotel.  It is a truly delightful boutique hotel created from an old palazzo in the historic centre of Montelparo by Madeline and Tim Jones.  Each room has a theme - the Italian Room furnished with lovely antiques left in the old palazzo; the Colonial room - some great furniture bought in Singapore; the African Room and so forth.  A number of the rooms have balconies and all have views.  The bathrooms, especially the showers, are big! The pool has plenty of room for lounging around and looks out across the rolling green hills.  The restaurant has an outdoor eating area, and for those colder months, gather around the stuffa in the bar or settle into one of the cosy sofas in the sitting room in front of the fire.

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Mon

29

Apr

2013

Spring continues at La Mela Rosa.....

2 Comments

Sat

27

Apr

2013

The forefront of Women's Lib....!!

In 1921, early suffragettes often donned a bathing suit and ate pizza in large groups to annoy men...it was a custom at the time..
In 1921, early suffragettes often donned a bathing suit and ate pizza in large groups to annoy men...it was a custom at the time..
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Fri

26

Apr

2013

Monte San Martino's bell

The bell tower of Sant'Agostino in Monte San Martino
The bell tower of Sant'Agostino in Monte San Martino

Our friend Pierino from Palazzo Urbani in Monte San Martino has lived all his life in this small village and has lots of stories to tell.  The latest one is of the big bell that was forged in the town in the early 1920s.  It was decided that Monte San Martino needed a new bell for the Church of Sant'Agostino in the piazza.  They engaged Pasqualini of Fermo, a well-respected company.  The experts told them that adding some gold to the bronze meant the bell would have an even better sound. However, the towns people weren't prepared to send their gold to Fermo and so a forge was set up in the village, adjacent to where Ristorante Dei Priori is now situated.  As the people went past they would contribute what gold they could  - a little or a lot depending on their wealth and social status.

 

 

 

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Wed

24

Apr

2013

Campionato italiano enduro at Comunanza

On 14 April, in the countryside around Comunanza, riders in the senior (34 to 80 age range!) section of the Campionato italiano enduro (Italian Championship for endurance motor bike racing ) participated in the heats.

 

Some of our guests had driven all the way from up near the Dolomites to take part.  They were from the club Pistone Rovente (or Red-hot Pistons).  On Saturday, the riders were allowed to walk the course (about 10 kms) that they would be riding on Sunday to see what the obstacles would be.  Unfortunately, our guests left on the Sunday morning before the race so we don't know if any of them were successful. 

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Tue

23

Apr

2013

Wild asparagus at La Mela Rosa.....maybe..!

Wild asparagus at La Mela Rosa.
Wild asparagus at La Mela Rosa.

 

 

I noticed what I think is some wild asparagus growing up through the mint in our garden.  Only two stalks so hardly enough to whet one's appetite but exciting nonetheless.

 

If you think/know it's not wild asparagus, we don't want to know!

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Mon

22

Apr

2013

Sailing Regatta at San Ruffino Lake, Amandola

Sails on San Ruffino Lake 2012                   Photo by N. Joseph
Sails on San Ruffino Lake 2012 Photo by N. Joseph

Here’s hoping that the weather for the third edition of “Le Vele di San Ruffino” (“The Sails of San Ruffino”), to take place this Wednesday and Thursday, 24 and 25 April, will be as splendid as last year. Plenty of wind for the competitors sailing their Snipe class dinghies and lots of sunshine for the spectators. Approximately 40 Snipes will take part, manned by sailors at a national level.

It’s anticipated that, as last year, along the shore of the lake will be the CNA tent with artisans selling handmade hates, leather bags decorated with Swarovski crystals and paintings by local artists; Giorgio, our local Venetian masseur, giving free massages, Agostina selling cheeses for Azienda Agricola Fontegranne; the ladies from Monte San Martino selling homemade biscuits; Pasquale Palazzo selling his aloe vera creams and potions.....to name just a few.

 

This year in Smerillo a number of local companies will have tastings of their products such as meats and cheeses, honeys and jams.

 

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Tue

16

Apr

2013

M & P Sistemi in Comunanza, Le Marche

The computer shop in Comunanza
The computer shop in Comunanza

Today I went to see Alessandro at M & P Sistemi in Comunanza, a village about 9 kms from Amandola.  Alessandro is our "computer man" and I take our hard drive to him once a year to clean up any viruses for the princely sum of €20.00. 

 

Actually, Alessandro made our computer when the screen on our lap top was unrepairable.  We were looking for a very economic solution, and being a Luddite, I didn't want another laptop, iPad or similar. So, Alessandro suggested he make up what we wanted - a big screen, a hard drive, a keyboard and a mouse - which he did for a very reasonable price. If I have a problem, Alessandro will take over control of my computer from his shop and resolve the problem.

 

When we were in Australia at Christmas, Alessandro "rented" us his laptop to take with us. The rent was a fridge magnet from Australia that was also a bottle opener!

 

Anyway, I was thinking this morning what good service we always got from Alessandro, Tonino or Paolo (he's the Apple man) at M & P Sistemi so thought I would write about them in this blog.  

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Mon

15

Apr

2013

Spring at La Mela Rosa

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Tue

09

Apr

2013

Marco's donkeys.

My friend Agata.
My friend Agata.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a lovely morning with Marco and his donkeys, Iside and Agata.  We met at the old spring, where the women from Smerillo collected water and did their washing for hundreds of years.  It was love at first sight when I met Iside and Agata!  I just had to give them a hug, they are so gorgeous!  Anyway, Marco and I headed off through the woods between Smerillo and Montefalcone with me leading Agata.  She was very good - only occasionally stopping for a munch of the new shoots along the way.  After a great meander along a number of trails, we came out of the woods just near the road into Smerillo and decided to walk on into the village.  It was great fun, if a little surreal, leading a donkey through the cobbled streets and listening to their hooves clattering! 

 

Anyone heading to this part of Le Marche and wanting to trek with a donkey contact Marco, who speaks and writes English info@forestcamp.it

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Mon

08

Apr

2013

Spring has finally made it to the Sibillini Mountains.

Primroses!                       Photo by N. Joseph
Primroses! Photo by N. Joseph

 

After way too much rain, some unseasonal snow and lots of grey skies, spring is finally here. Blue sky, sun, just a few white clouds and lots of pale yellow primroses dotting the fields. There are also some small, purple flowers with dark green leaves which look like African violets (but aren't) along the sides of the road. Bliss!

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Fri

05

Apr

2013

The second year of "Sharing" at San Ruffino Abbey, Amandola

A lovely Mela Rosa guest with me holding the pavlova I had made to her recipe.
A lovely Mela Rosa guest with me holding the pavlova I had made to her recipe.

Last year's "Sharing", which was all about the prisoner of war camp at Servigliano and the help given to the escaped English prisoners by the local farmers, was a great success. So Eros Scarafoni of Azienda Agricola Fontegranne (great cheese!) has organised another "Sharing" with a lot of help from Sara and Angelo and a bit from myself.

 

This year's them is "Identità sospesa" or "Suspended Identity" and is all about the foreigners that live in this area as well as others in different parts of the world. What effect does it have on them?  Do they fit in with the culture in which they are living or do they cling more closely to the culture they left behind?

 

On Saturday night there will be a multi-cultural dinner - an Indian curry, brick and bread from Tunisia and pavola from Australia, made by me.  Apart from dinner, the program, which goes over both Saturday & Sunday, is rich & varied:

 

Saturday, 13 April

Saints Ruffino & Vitale Abbey

5pm

Luigi Francesco Clemente, History & Philosophy teacher

Talk on “The measure of experience. One’s identity can be explained in many ways”.

Mohamed Malih, write and author of the blog Stracomunitari

Talk on the theme “Identity – Community – Diversity” and presentation of his book “Il divano non è un luogo comune”

Adolfo Leoni, journalist & writer

Presentation of his book “Alla mia terra, racconti e leggende di un amante quasi deluso

 

Testimonies from:

Natan Kaaren (Israel)

Sing Dilbag (India)

Giorgio Marcolini, representative of Amnesty International, group 050 Macerata

“The descendants of the Giaguaro: Sarayaku, the story of a native community in the Amazon forest.

 

Presenter

Rob Betts (Australia)

 

Photographic Testimonies “Memories”

 

7.30pm

Dinner  – traditional dishes from diverse countries

Parsee Mombai red chicken curry & chapattis (Indian)

Brick & arab bread (Tunisia)

Pavlova (Australia)

 

9pm

Marco Poeta in Concert – Il Fado - “Inescapable Destiny”

 

Sunday 14 April, 2013

Smerillo – FM

5pm

Guided tour of MACS – Smerillo’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

 

5.30pm

Smerillo, Sala Polifunzionale (below Le Logge)

Testimonies by:

Tarchouni Sebti (Tunisia)

Jebali Hatem (Tunisia)

Aissan Hamid (Algeria)

Janet McCarraher (Scotland)

 

Presenter:

Achille Ascari, representative of the Coop. Agr. Di Accoglienza, Amandola

 

7pm

Presentation and screening of the film (entrance for members only)

“La Sposa Siriana” (“The Syrian Bride”) by Eran Riklis, Mikado 2005

Presented by Manuel Devenuti

 

8.30pm

Traditional Marchigiani dinner at “Le Logge” restaurant, Smerill0.

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Wed

03

Apr

2013

La Mela Rosa's Virgins' Pit

The new VP at La Mela Rosa B&B
The new VP at La Mela Rosa B&B

Eugenio has now finished our Virgins' Pit, despite having been hampered at every turn by Polly wanting to lick his face and pinch his cigarettes.  It looks so much better than we had expected and, although we are a little sad about no longer seeing the poppies and snow-in-summer growing out of the collapsing walls, we are very happy with the new VP. 

 

All that remains now is to put in a bench and add some fish and waterlilies to the water in what was the wine catchment "tank".

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Tue

02

Apr

2013

Ass' milk soap at La Mela Rosa B&B

Ass' milk soap at La Mela Rosa B&B
Ass' milk soap at La Mela Rosa B&B

About three years ago, I met Massimo Palmadori at the Chieti Ecotur.  I was there for the tourism workshop; he had a stand promoting his olive oil and handmade soap. I was very interested to see his lovely soaps as, up until then, we had been buying chemical-free soaps from an island off Scotland.  Beautiful soaps but we wanted to use an Italian product.

 

Anyway, since then we have been buying Signore Palmadori's soaps for our guests - lavender, cinnamon and orange, sage and olive oil, to name but a few.  This year, he has introduced Ass' milk soap which is good for delicate skin.  I think it was Cleopatra who bathed in Ass' milk so I'm expecting to look ravishing any day now!

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Fri

29

Mar

2013

A sad story of love from Monte San Martino, Le Marche

Donna Ida in her fifties.
Donna Ida in her fifties.

In the 1930s, Donna Ida ("Donna" meaning "Lady" was a title of respect) was a young girl from an upper-middle class family in Monte San Martino. Unfortunately, she fell in love with a man from an inferior social class, a builder by trade, and her family would not consent to their engagement. So, for years, with the help of friends, they met in secret.  But, sadly, the young man died of cancer when he was only 40.

 

 

Donna Ida lived to be 100 years old! Every afternoon for about 60 years, she left the house and followed obsessivley this itinerary: she sat for amount on a big step in front of her house;  went to the Church of the Madonna delle Grazie and looked through a window into the church; on her return she looked through the doorway of a private home and then went on towards the Church of Sant'Agostino.  Along the way she touched with her foot a specific stone set in the pavement in front of Palazzo Vecchio; in summer, always following the same route, she  picked a single flower from the jasmine that grew on the wall near Caffè Aliberti (a lovely art deco building knocked down in the 1970s), and finally she went into the church, made a tour of all the small altars and then returned home. She did this every day of the year.  It was a walk she had taken with her young man.....

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Wed

27

Mar

2013

A weekend of donkey trekking with Marco - 25 & 26 May, 2013 at Smerillo/Montefalcone, Le Marche

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Sun

24

Mar

2013

Villa in Canto - Opera, Art & Culture

One of the lovely rooms in Villa Colloredo Mels, Recanati(MC)
One of the lovely rooms in Villa Colloredo Mels, Recanati(MC)

Villa in Canto is a new way, or rather a return to the old way, of listening to opera. Set in exclusive, elegant locations each evening is presented in the style of the old music rooms, where the proximity of the performers to the audience increases the emotion and transforms the drama into reality.

Well-­known operatic masterpieces have been elegantly reworked into slices of the original, performed by successful, professional singers in dramatic costumes and accompanied by pianoforte. The expert musical direction is the work of Riccardo Serenelli who maintains all of the integrity and grandeur of the original plots. He fills the operas with emotional energy and captures the audience for the entire performance of an hour and a quarter.


In Recanati (about 1.5 hours drive from La Mela Rosa), within the splendour of Villa Colloredo Mels museum  and surrounded by the priceless masterpieces of the Venetian painter Lorenzo Lotto, you can take part in the most famous operas in the world. The singers with their incredible voices will enthral and move you. The carefully selected costumes of the performers, the elaborate plaster mouldings on the walls and ceilings, and the fourteenth and fifteenth century paintings are transformed into a theatrical backdrop for the benefit of the audience. During the interval guests are even invited to visit various rooms under the guidance of the museum director where there is the chance to see some of the masterpieces and other paintings on show in the museum.

 

 

0 Comments

Sat

23

Mar

2013

And the coastal version of the gracchio coralino....

Sooty oystercatcher
Sooty oystercatcher
0 Comments

Sat

23

Mar

2013

Gracchio coralino or Sooty Oystercatcher??

Gracchio coralino specific to the Sibillini Mountains
Gracchio coralino specific to the Sibillini Mountains

I recently attended some talks given by the Sibillini Mountains National Park on the flora and fauna specific to the mountains.  At one point, a photo of a black bird with orange legs and beak appeared on the screen.  It was called a gracchio coralino.  I'd seen that bird before..... perhaps it was in the hills near La Mela Rosa....  Then I remembered that I had seen it at Bawley Point, NSW in January....with not a mountain in sight but plenty of ocean!

 

Turns out what I saw was a sooty oystercatcher, which looks identical to the gracchio except that the former has an orange ring around its eyes.  Amazing that two such similar birds should live in such completely different environments.  Not too many oysters in the Sibillini Mountains.

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Thu

21

Mar

2013

Snow at Sassotetto, Sarnano

The ski lifts at Sassotetto      Photo by N. Joseph
The ski lifts at Sassotetto Photo by N. Joseph

 

Well, it was a magnificent, sunny Sunday and almost Spring, but there was still plenty of snow at Sassotetto above Sarnano and on the outskirts of the Sibillini Mountains National Park.  The ski fields were busy all day with the thousands of enthusiastic skiers who came to make the most of the end of the season.

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Sun

17

Mar

2013

Tipicità - Made in Marche Festival

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Sat

16

Mar

2013

Yoghi - Yogurteria Cioccolateria Gelateria Pasticceria Caffetteria!!

Yoghi's wonderful chocolates in Ascoli Piceno
Yoghi's wonderful chocolates in Ascoli Piceno

I love Ascoli Piceno and, on Tuesday, found another reason to visit this travertine marble town.  It is Yoghi - as the caption says "Yogurteria Cioccolateria Gelateria Pasticceria Caffetteria".  It is in Piazza Arringo and apparently has been for a number of years (not sure how I've missed it!).  They sell yoghurt with all sorts of toppings, delicious gelato (I had amarena/pistacchio and walnut - just a small one!), cakes and the most splendid chocolates all made in their workshop with the best qaulity ingredients.  When Rob has lost another 3 kilos, we are going for a visit! 

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Thu

14

Mar

2013

Caffè Meletti, Ascoli Piceno

One of Caffè Meletti's waiters obligingly posed with a bottle of Anisetta
One of Caffè Meletti's waiters obligingly posed with a bottle of Anisetta

Caffè Meletti, a very elegant caffè in Piazza del Popolo, Ascoli Piceno, was begun by the Meletti family who make the delicious Anisetta and other liqueurs.  However, it's been quite some years since it has been owned by one of the local banks.  Great that the bank stepped in to rescue one of the town's icons but a pity that it did not live up to expectations, that is, until now!  I had lunch there on Tuesday and was delighted to find an experienced manager, whose family has had restaurants in Ascoli for many years, friendly and competent staff and good food.  Seeing the waiters in their black trousers, olive green ties and cream, double-breasted jackets was like stepping back in time.  Congratulations! Caffè Meletti is returning to it's former glory.

0 Comments

Tue

12

Mar

2013

A rather unusual butcher and his shop in Loro Piceno...

Now, where have I seen one of these before...??!!
Now, where have I seen one of these before...??!!

Our friend Eros, cheesemaker from Azienda Agricola Fontegranna, told us about Giuseppe dell'Orso from Loro Piceno, about 4 5minutes from us.  PeppeCotto (Cooked Pepper) is his nickname and his butcher shop is well worth a visit. Not only will you be entertained by PeppeCotto's theatrics, you can book in for a lesson on how to make sausages - from how the pig is butchered to the end product; enjoy an apperitivo of vino cotto with a slice of ciauscola on the side or have a four course dinner in the shop (limit 12 people). 

 

The thing that caught my eye was a very familiar poster "Australian Lamb Basic Cuts".  Seems Peppe had his honeymoon in Australia!

0 Comments

Mon

11

Mar

2013

Bonnie Franklin: 6 January, 1944 – 1 March, 2013

Bonnie at La Mela Rosa in 2011
Bonnie at La Mela Rosa in 2011

 

 

We were very sad to hear today that the American actress, Bonnie Franklin, died of pancreatic cancer on 1 March, age 68.

 

Bonnie stayed with us for a week in June, 2011.  She was full of fun and good company. As her friend said in his email when he wrote to tell us of her death: 

 

"She was a talented, generous, loving person, and many lives have been diminished by her death."

0 Comments

Sat

09

Mar

2013

Cantina Va & Vieni, Amandola

The back room - lit only by candles at night to give a cosy atmopshere
The back room - lit only by candles at night to give a cosy atmopshere

Amandola has a new wine bar (cantina)!  Vittorio and Valentina, both from Rome, but he has an Amandolese grandmother, have recently opted for the quiet life and have opened Cantina Va & Vieni in Piazza Risorgimento.  "Va & Vieni" means "come and go", a good name for a wine bar, we think, with the added advantage of having some letters from both their names.

 

Open every day except Tuesday from 11am to 1pm, then from 4pm until late, the cantina offers a great selection of wines as well as light snacks/apperitivi to go with it.  In summer, Valentina says they hope to have an outdoor area and will offer crostini, platters of prosciutto and salami and salads.  

0 Comments

Thu

07

Mar

2013

So, what IS La Mela Rosa's Virgins' Pit....??

Uncovering the Virgins' Pit.
Uncovering the Virgins' Pit.

Well, we found it quite by chance when pulling ivy, nettles, tree branches, bits of old plough and more out of what was left of an old outbuilding.  We first saw a bit of an arch and got very excited. The arch forms the bottom of the VP and arches over a cistern. Seems it was where they made the vino cotto. The grapes were pushed through the window and fell down the specially-created inside slope onto a metal mesh on the floor.  Here the grapes were squished (by virgins, of course!) and the juice ran through the hole at the front and into the cistern below.  It was then pulled out in bucket loads and boiled up in a large, copper pot which sadly no longer exists.  The names does though - it's been the "Virgin's Pit" since the day we discovered it!

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Wed

06

Mar

2013

Polly, Eugenio and the Virgins' Pit....

Polly, Rob, Eugenio and the Virgins' Pit
Polly, Rob, Eugenio and the Virgins' Pit

Our Virgins' Pit is getting a refurbish and will shortly have a small fountain, a pond and a bench to contemplate both.  Polly has taken a fancy to Eugenio, who aided by Rob (???!), is doing the work.  So, she's either licking his face, especially if he has a stone in each hand, edging closer to him, walking over where he's working or sitting guard so he can't "escape".  Fortunately, Eugenio is very good natured and accepts Polly's attentions in good part.

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Tue

05

Mar

2013

The treasures of Le Marche - walking between nature and culture

The views to be had when walking with Dino Gazzani
The views to be had when walking with Dino Gazzani

MARCH 2013 EXCURSIONS CALENDAR


EARLY SPRING COLOURS AND SMELLS

 

March, Saturday 9: MONTE CONERO. From Fonte dellOlio of Sirolo (AN) to Passo del Lupo, privileged balcony over Due Sorelle Beach and the southern Marche coast. Estimated time 2,00-2,30 H. Gap: 150 m. Dificulty T.

 

March, Sunday 10: MONTAGNA DEI FIORI. From the old ski resort of San Giacomo to the summit of Monte Girella,
among lakes, beech and caciare (cheese factories) that make up the most beautiful balcony over the Apennines. Rise
time: 3,00-3,30 h, down: 2,00-2,30 h. GAp: 850 m. Dificulty: E.

 

March, Saturday 16: CUGNOLO WOOD. Easy walk in a strip of Maquis shrubland nearby Torre di Palme (FM),
suspended on the Adriatic coast. Estimated time: 1.30 h. Gap: 80 m. Dificulty: T.

In Campiglione di Fermo TIPICITA' (Tipicality), Festival dedicated to the tastes and the other excellences Made in Marche.

 

March, Sunday 17: VALLE DELLA SCUROSA. From shady valley at the foot of Monte Patino with its magnicent beech
forest with aerial views of the Piani di Montelago. Estimated time: 4,30-5,00 h. Gap: 555 m. Dificulty: E.

 

March, Saturday 23: THE LAKES OF COLLE. From Colle of Arquata del Tronto (AP) to the small lakes hidden among its woods, particular witness of the last ice age and WWF oasis. Rise time 2,30-3,00 h, down: 1,30-1,45 h. Gap: 650 m. Dificulty E.

 

March, Sunday 24: CUGNOLO WOOD. Easy walk in a strip of Maquis shrubland nearby Torre di Palme (FM), suspended on the Adriatic coast. Estimated time: 1.30 h. Gap: 80 m. Dificulty: T.

 

March, Saturday 30: HERMITAGE OF ACQUARELLA from Albacina. Discovering the ancient Franciscan hermitage through the dense woods above the old Roman village "Tucum", up to the slpoes of Monte Maltempo to enjoy the lovely view on Fabriano basin (AN) and its surroundings. Estimated time: 4,00-4,30 h. Gap: 690 m. Dificulty E.

 

March, Sunday 31: AMONG THE VILLAGES OF FLUVIONE. In the cool of the woods at the feet of Monte Vetore, discovering the countless villages of Montegallo (AP) castled to its slopes and their hidden treasures. Estimated time: 3,00-3,30 h. Gap: 460 m. Dificulty: E

 

For bookings, rates and info on equipment and clothing needed, time and place of departure:
Environmental Hiking Guide Dino Gazzani tel 380 3020147 --- dgazzani@libero.it
Professional Guide empowered by national and regional regulations and covered by R.C. insurance.


Note: this calendar may be changed because of adverse weather conditions.
Snowshoe walks will be made only if snow conditions of the selected places will be satisfying.
 

 

4 Comments

Fri

01

Mar

2013

Carlo Crivelli at Brera Gallery, Milan

Brera Gallery, Milano
Brera Gallery, Milano

I came to know the paintings of Carlo Crivelli since living in Le Marche.  Although born in Venice, he lived, and painted, a large part of his life in le Marche.  We have seen his fabulous tryptychs in the Church of San Martin in Monte San Martino and his polyptych of Saint Emidio in the cathedral Ascoli Piceno.  His "Annunciation" is in the National Gallery in London. But he is not generally very well known, or so we thought.

 

Recently, I was talking to our friend Enrica who had been to the Brera Gallery in Milan. She too had assumed Crivelli was unknown outside Le Marche. So she was very surprised to find an entire viewing room exhibiting some of his works. 

 

If you happen to be in Milan, they are well worth a visit.

 

Pinacoteca di Brera
Via Brera, 28
20121 Milano tel 02 722631
www.brera.beniculturali.it

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Thu

28

Feb

2013

A love story from Monte San Martino

The postcard written to Maria but never sent.
The postcard written to Maria but never sent.

Our friend, Pierino, has been renovating Palazzo Urbani since he first bought part of it in 1970.  The palazzo at that time was partly abandoned and parly divided into small appartments.  An elderly man, Domenico, lived in one of the appartments at the back. In the course of renovating, our friend found a postcard Domenico had written, but never sent. It was to Maria, his fiancè whom he had left behind when he went off to war.  He spent the last part of the war in a German concentration camp and, for one reason or another, was not able to contact Maria.  At the end of the war, he was released and returned home to Monte San Martino only to find that Maria had married someone else.  Here is what he wrote on the postcard:

 

Maria, You will not know that in this valley of tears beats a heart in unison with yours. You will never know that there is a soul that searches for you in the infinity of dreams.  I tell you again that I love you Maria and I will love you equally, in silence and in secret torture all my life. Domenico.

 

Domenico never married but lived a sad and solitary life in his litte appartment in Palazzo Urbani. 

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Tue

26

Feb

2013

Made it to Hotel Leone, Montelparo!

Thumbs up from the Italians for Tim's curry.
Thumbs up from the Italians for Tim's curry.

It stopped snowing, the rain came and cleared the snow away and the temperature was above freezing so we made it to the Curry Night at Hotel Leone on Saturday night.  Mostly, as expected, the other customers were stranieri (we foreigners) but there was a table of 7 young Italians (and one Australian) who were all really enjoying their curry. And here I was thinking that the Italians would only eat Italian food...!! The younger generation is clearly breaking out.  Good to see. 

 

Not only did we enjoy our curry, but our table's joint effort on the spice quiz has won us two free pizzas the next time we go back to Hotel Leone.

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Sat

23

Feb

2013

Curry night at Hotel Leone, Montelparo, Le Marche

 

 

We've booked in with some friends to have a curry at Hotel Leone tonight.  But.....it's started snowing. No decision made yet but we may have to miss out on our samosas, onion bhajis, chicken biriyani and other Indian delights. Murphy's Law!

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Fri

22

Feb

2013

Rob's find.

The antler from La Mela Rosa's wood
The antler from La Mela Rosa's wood

Earlier in the week, Rob walked up the hill behind us to get some eggs from our neighbours.  As he walked through the wood, he found an antler from one of the caprioli (roe deer) that live there.  Apparently, they cast and re-grow their antlers in the winter when good food is scarce.

 

We often see three of them around La Mela Rosa - coming out of the wood or running across our driveway as we come home at night.  We thought at first that they had white "cotton" tails but their coat under the tail is white. So, when they run off with their tails in the air, the white patch looks like a cotton tail. They are such very prettyanimals.

 

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Tue

19

Feb

2013

A long weekend donkey trekking in Le Marche

Marco and friend
Marco and friend

The weekend of 25 to 28 April, 2013 why not go donkey trekking with Marco. Firstly, you will learn how to relate to the donkeys. Marco tells me that they are not like horses and need to be treated differently. Then you will walk with the donkeys from San Ruffino Lake in the valley up to the medieval, hilltop village of Smerillo. You will pass through the woods on the way to Montefalcone Appennino and you will live for a few days in harmony with nature. Experiment with the old towing methods and traditional ways to work the land.

 

The package includes donkeys and trained guides, the tools needed, insurance, great packed lunches made with local produce and a lunch in an agriturismo. Cost per person for the weekend is €130.00.

 

There are a number of local agriturismi and B&Bs (including La Mela Rosa!) in which to stay the nights.

For more information contact Marco (who speaks & writes English) at info@forestcamp.it or (39) 347 682 0066

1 Comments

Mon

18

Feb

2013

A very strange thing to write about in a blog....

The Ottica in Amandola has the best glasses!
The Ottica in Amandola has the best glasses!

I am very excited about my new reading glasses which are red and yellow and cost only €80 (€60 for the lenses & €20 for the frames) from the Ottica shop in Amandola.  When I get bored with the frames, I can go and see Alfredo Farina, the owner of the shop, and for €20, he'll pop out the lenses and give me new frames! 

 

Rob says the colours suit me....perhaps I should be worried about my complexion.

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Sat

16

Feb

2013

Congratulations to Azienda Agricola Gabriele Vitali!

 

 

Once again, Azienda Agricola Gabriele Vitali have been recognised for the quality of their wine. This time it's their Falerio DOP Pecorino that caught the eye, or rather the palate, of the Associazione Italiana Sommelier in Le Marche. 

 

Made from 100% Pecorino grapes (a very old variety specific to this region), the wine is straw coloured with a greenish tint with aromas of accacia, linden and jasmine. It goes well, with fish, white meat, fresh cheeses, cured hams.

 

For anyone visiting this part of Le Marche, it's well worth going to Azienda Agricola Vitali, near Montelparo (about 30 mins from La Mela Rosa), to enjoy one of their fabulous wine tastings.  Each bottle of wine comes with a platter of food that compliments the wine.

 

Have a look at their website www.casalevitali.it. It's in English as well as Italian.

2 Comments

Wed

13

Feb

2013

Truffle Festival at Montefortino 15, 16 & 17 February, 2013

Montefortino
Montefortino

This coming weekend is the Truffle Festival at Montefortino in the Sibillini Mountains.

The Festival starts at 5pm on Friday, 15 February with talks on the history, culture and culinary aspects of the truffles found in the Sibillini Mountains.

 

From 10am on Saturday, 16 February, the gastronimc and artisans stands will be open and there will be demonstrations by the Associazione Cuochi del Fermano on how to cook with truffles.  At 3pm the Pinacoteca Duranti will open so visitors can see the Museum of Relgious Art and the exhibition of stuffed animals found in the Sibillini National Park.

 

On Sunday, 17 February, the stands will be open from 9am, the Pinacoteca from 10am and there will be street theatre, music and games.

 

Apart from all this excitement, Montefortino, a medieval hilltop village that was originally a fort, is well worth a visit.

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Mon

11

Feb

2013

Amandola's Carnevale

The title of this float is "We have been reduced to our underpants"
The title of this float is "We have been reduced to our underpants"

Carnevale, which is the build up to the period of Lent, goes for about 4 days in Amandola. It started on Thursday with a masked party for the children at the primary school. This was followed by Sunday's procession of floats up Via Cesare Battisti, the main street. This year there were quite a number which reflected the people's view on the politicians and their policies in these hard times. By-standers were showered with confetti thrown from the passing floats. (In Italy, confetti is thrown at Carnevale and rice is thrown at weddings.)

 

Tonight, there will be masked dancing to live music from 10pm, followed at midnight by a DJ. Fortunately, tomorrow is a holiday!  Carnevale finishes where it began, with the children, who will have some fun with masked dancing in the late afternoon. 

 

 

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Sun

10

Feb

2013

La Mela Rosa's Nocino is now ready to enjoy.

La Mela Rosa's Nocino 2013.
La Mela Rosa's Nocino 2013.

 

 

Following on from my blog of 24 June last year about my walnut liqueur, Nocino, I waited the 40 days then drained off the liquid and discarded the walnuts.  I then filtered the liquid through a muslin cloth and bottled it.  It has sat since August in the pantry.  Last night we tasted it. Rob says "Not quite as good as last year"; I say "Better than last year".  I filtered it again and it's now on the credenza in the living room ready to be drunk.

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Fri

08

Feb

2013

Castagnole - traditional doughnuts for Carnevale.

YUM!!                  Foto da A. Massaccesi
YUM!! Foto da A. Massaccesi

Castagnole, Zeppole, Tortelli Milanesi, are some of the names given to the traditional sweets for Carnevale. The castagnole are deep-fried doughnuts about the size of a chestnut (hence the name) and filled with patisserie cream. Yum!!  Never mind the calories. They are sold in all the pasticcerias from the Epiphany until Ash Wednesday.


Originating in Emilio-Romagna, the castagnole are prepared and enjoyed in many Italian regions even though the name may be different and the ingredients varied a little. We made pigs of ourselves at our neighbours' this week as their daughter had made some castagnole which were very hard to resist!

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Thu

07

Feb

2013

It's snowing!!

0 Comments

Wed

06

Feb

2013

Great coffee at a good price in Amandola, Le Marche

Gran Caffe Belli, Amandola
Gran Caffe Belli, Amandola

This morning Rob & I went to do some shopping in Amandola and stopped for a coffee at Gran Caffe Belli in Piazza Risorgimento.  Rob had a hot cappucino and I had a really good cup of tea which came with a plate of chocolate-dipped shortbread biscuits on the house.  Total cost? €2.40!  Having just been in Sydney where a cappucino cost $3.50 (about €2.80) we were happy to be home!

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Tue

05

Feb

2013

Very long holidays in Amandola!!

The carpenter's notice on his door in Piazza Alta, Amandola
The carpenter's notice on his door in Piazza Alta, Amandola

The notice on the door says "The carpenter will be on holidays from 23.12.2012 until 31.12.2014." 

 

It has intrigued me since I first saw his sign when we arrived in Amandola in February, 2007.  At that time the sign said "Closed for holidays from 31.12.2006 until 31.12.2007". There's been a variation thereof ever since. In the end, curiosity got the better of me and I asked a local about it. Turns out that the carpenter isn't on holidays but he has so much work that he doesn't want to be disturbed! 

 

Lucky for him!

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Mon

04

Feb

2013

Guided walks in the Sibillini with Carnevale thrown in!

Carnevale, Amandola 2010.
Carnevale, Amandola 2010.

THE TREASURES OF MARCHE:

 

WALKING BETWEEN NATURE AND CULTURE

FEBRUARY 2013 EXCURSIONS CALENDAR

from the peace of the snow to the joyful carnival noise.

 

Saturday, February 2:

 

 

CUGNOLO WOOD.

Easy walk in a strip of Maquis shrubland nearby Torre di Palme (FM),

suspended on the Adriatic coast.

 

Estimated time: 1.30 h (stops excluded). Gap: 80 m. Diculty: T.

On the way back CARNEVALE A FERMO (Carnival in Fermo). Fight between Fermo and Ascoli Piceno in Pizza del

Popolo. Rugby Match: Amatori Fermo 1935-Amatori Ascoli.

 

Sunday, February 3:

 

 

SNOWSHOE WALK AT PANTANI DI ACCUMOLI.

From Forca Canepine to Monte dei Signori,

on animal tracks.

 

Estimated time: 3,30 h-4,00 h (stops excluded). Gap: 200 m. Diculty: E.

Thursday, February 7:

MONTE DELLASCENSIONE

. From Polesio to the top of ancient Monte Nero (Black Mount), 

Time of going 1,45 h-2,00 h, return 0,45 h-1,15 h

(stops excluded). Gap: 650 m. Diculty: E.

On the way back CARNEVALE A CASTIGNANO (Carnival in Castignano): Fair of “Pizza Onta” (Greasy Pizza), Take it

FREE!

 

Saturday February 9:

 

 

CUGNOLO WOOD.

Easy walk in a strip of Maquis shrubland nearby Torre di Palme (FM),

suspended on the Adriatic coast.

 

Estimated time: 1.30 h (stops excluded). Gap: 80 m. Diculty: T.

 

Sunday, February 10:

 

 

SNOWSHOE WALK AT FORCA DI PRESTA.

On the hills surrounding the Pian Piccolo, with

spectacular views on River Tronto High Valley.

 

Estimated time: 4,00 h-4,30 h (stops excluded). Gap: 500 m. Diculty:

E.

On the way back CARNEVALE AD ASCOLI PICENO (Carnival in Ascoli): Carnival Fest in Piazza del Popolo and contest

of masked groups. Lets parade as snowshoe-walkers!

 

Tuesday, February 12:

 

 

S. MARC HERMITAGE RING.

From Piaggie of Ascoli Piceno to Belssed Conrad Cave through S.

Marc Hermitage and the Devil's Finger.

 

Estimated time: 2.15 h-2.30 h (stops excluded). Gap: 260 m. Diculty: T/E.

On the way back CARNEVALE AD OFFIDA (Carnival in Oda): Carnival Fest in Piazza and “Vlurd”  ring.

 

Saturday February 16:

 

 

CUGNOLO WOOD.

Easy walk in a strip of Maquis shrubland nearby Torre di Palme (FM),

suspended on the Adriatic coast.

 

Estimated time: 1.30 h (stops excluded). Gap: 80 m. Diculty: T.

 

Sunday, February 17:

 

 

SNOWSHOE WALK AT MONTE PRATA.

 

On the hills surrounding the Pian Perduto until the

Sibillini main ridge.

Estimated time: 4,00 h-4,30 h (stops excluded). Gap: 500 m. Diculty: E.

 

 

 

Sunday, February 24:

 

 

SNOWSHOE WALK IN VAL CANATRA.

From Castelluccio of Norcia (PG) to Poggio di Croce,

going up the side valley of Pian Perduto to admire the winter scenary of its Piani.

 

Estimated time: 5,00 h-5,30 h (stops

excluded). Gap: 500 m. Diculty: E.

 

For bookings, rates and info on equipment and clothing needed, time and place of departure:

Environmental Hiking Guide Dino Gazzani tel 380 3020147 --- dgazzani@libero.it

Professional Guide empowered by national and regional regulations and covered by R.C. insurance.

Note: this calendar may be changed because of adverse weather conditions.

Snowshoe walks will be made only if snow conditions of the selected places will be satisfying.

Any possible changes and new itineraries will be promptly communicated.

0 Comments

Wed

23

Jan

2013

Carnevale not only in Venice but also in Amandola!

Carnevale for children: Costumed Parade, Masked Dance
Carnevale for children: Costumed Parade, Masked Dance
0 Comments

Tue

01

Jan

2013

Meat in the Mountains. An excerpt from "Walking in the Sibillini" by Tamara Griffith

Shepherd with his flock in the Sibillini Mountains
Shepherd with his flock in the Sibillini Mountains

"Meat in the Mountains

The most prized main course in the mountains was almost always meat, but these dishes were reserved for funerals and special occasions. Most of the meat recipes were extremely simple due to the limited ingredients available, and herbs were widely used. Rosemary, which grows wild in this area is a key ingredient with all meat dishes. Sage is also indigenous, used abundantly with meat. In ancient times Sage was also used to clean and brighten teeth by rubbing them with the leaves. Compared to today animals were slaughtered very sparingly indeed. Depending on the size of the family one pig, or two at the very most would be killed each year and this remained the case from remote times until self-sufficiency was lost in the 1960s. Each family had to find a way to make the edible parts of the pig last a whole year. If they ran out before the timeof the pig slaughter in January, they would go without. After the chestnut harvest in November the pigs were fed mainly chestnuts which gave the meat a special savoury quality and density.

 

Contrary to what one might imagine shepherds ate lamb seldom, since they preferred to wait for a lamb to be injured, ill, or attacked by wolves, ratherthan slaughter it. Partially this was due to the value of the wool they produced. The larger, lower towns like Amandola were centres for the wool trade, and a document from the Amandola archive dated 1634 testifies that nothing has ever been so profitable for the whole community as the production, and sale of wool which continued until the wool wasindustrialized."

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Fri

28

Dec

2012

Sibillini Mountains' wild orchid??

This is actually an Australian wildflower but looks not dissimilar to the wild orchids that grow in the Sibillini Mountains
This is actually an Australian wildflower but looks not dissimilar to the wild orchids that grow in the Sibillini Mountains
0 Comments

Sun

23

Dec

2012

Classic Sibillini Christmas dish makes it to Sydney!!

A cappelletto or little hat!
A cappelletto or little hat!

 

I have it on good authority from a young Italian friend that Cappelletti in brodo di cappone is going to be on the menu at her friend's house in Sydney this Christmas. His mother came to visit from Italy with the mother of his friend and last Thursday (very muggy & hot!), the two mothers spent the day making the little pasta hats and stuffing them with mince. Now that is motherly devotion!!

0 Comments

Sun

16

Dec

2012

Classical Christmas dish of the Sibillini Mountains area

Cappelletti in Brodo di Cappone
Cappelletti in Brodo di Cappone

A traditional Christmas dish in the Monti Azzuri (Blue Mountains), as the Sibillini are sometimes known, is Cappelletti in Brodo di Cappone.

 

The cappelletti are hat-shaped tortellini stuffed with a mince made from veal, pork, chicken breast, mortadella, parmesan and spices. They are still hand-made, at least by the women in the rural areas such as Amandola. Lots of love and devotion goes into making the pasta, rolling it out, cutting it into suqares, filling each square then twisting it into the shape of a little hat (cappelletti). 

 

A broth is made by boiling together a capon, an onion, a carrot and a stick of celery.  The broth is made the night before so that the fat solidifies and can be removed easily.  The cappelletti are served in the broth with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

 

I have served this dish each Christmas except I cheat and buy tortellini!  I can never remember whether I should cook the tortellini then put them into the hot broth to serve or whether I should cook them in the broth itself. Consequently, my tortellini sometimes look a bit deformed....

 

 

0 Comments

Fri

14

Dec

2012

"Walking in the Sibillini" mentions an alternative to Nutella.....

Bolognola
Bolognola

In "Walking in the Sibillini", Tamara Griffith talks of Bolognola, a village situated in the mountains at about 1,400 metres above sea level, and it's alternative to  Nutella....!

 

The arrival of ‘Nutella’ in Bolognola was like a social revolution for youngsters. Previously the eating of sweets was determined by religious celebrations and festivals, and was not part of the daily diet............. Likewise it’s easy to understand why people might imagine a better life was in store when ‘Nutella’ arrived, and hence be quick to discard the past. Yet before Nutella, Bolognola had its own special sweet which was apparently similar in taste and made from pigs' blood.This was quintessential to Bolognola, and deserves explanation.When a pig was slaughtered the blood was always collected, and then poured through a cotton cloth to strain any lumps. The strained blood was put in a pot, and grated orange peel, raisins, cinnamon, and sugar was added.The amounts, and the exact seasoning varied in each family. The blood was then cooked, stirring constantly. The resulting mixture was thick like a pudding and dark coloured. It could be spread on bread like Nutella, eaten warm as a pudding, or stored for up to three months and sliced. Locals say nothing, but nothing, tastes better than this!

 

Personally, I'll stick with the Nutella we know today.

0 Comments

Thu

13

Dec

2012

"Walking in the Sibillini" by Tamara Griffith

Walking in the Sibillini Mountains
Walking in the Sibillini Mountains

Our friend, Tamara Griffith, who is currently doing her masters in Managing Mountain Sustainability, has written a great guide to walking in the Sibillini Mountains. It is a mix of walking trails, history, recipes and Italian eccentricities!

 

Here is an excerpt from the introduction, A Celebration of Beauty:

 

The Sibillini is not an ordinary place made of information we already havesome knowledge of. The mountains are a different world, a better world many would say, and one need only walk a few minutes in their soporific beauty to feel curious about this inspiring place.

 

Walking and eating is a joyous combination, and the following pages offer some of the most memorable walks in Europe, as well as the original SlowFood recipes. Each mountain hamlet has its favourite traditional recipes passed down through generations. The simplicity of these recipes, and the speed with which they can be prepared was necessary for women who had more work than hours in the day. It is tempting to call this ‘historic fast food’, and the convenience of these recipes will appeal today.

 

Each walk in this book takes an historic mountain settlement as its point of departure, and includes its traditional recipe, as well as a description of the eventful history of the place.

 

Buona passeggiata e buon appetito!

 

 

 

0 Comments

Wed

05

Dec

2012

Saint Valentine or Bishop Valentino???

Saint Valentine, Bishop of Terni
Saint Valentine, Bishop of Terni

 

 

Today I discovered the story (a story...??) of Saint Valentine. San Valentino was born in 176 and became the bishop of Terni in Umbria.  It was the practice that families with girls of marriageable age provided a dowry. Without a dowry, a girl had little or no chance of marrying. So San Valentino gave money to girls from poorer families so that they were able to provide a dowry and hence find a suitor.

I don't know if this is true but I like the idea!

 

 

0 Comments

Thu

29

Nov

2012

Great walks in the Sibillini Mountains and environs

Me (in the hat), Dino (in the cap!) and two other walkers
Me (in the hat), Dino (in the cap!) and two other walkers
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Mon

26

Nov

2012

Le olive strinate or scorched olives

"Scorched" olives
"Scorched" olives

None of our neighbours do it but I have heard recently of the olive strinate. Apparently, during the harvest, the largest olives are placed in a canvas bag with some coarse salt.  The sack is tied up with string and hung outside in the cold but sheltered from the rain. It is left there for fifteen to twenty days and twice a day the sack is shaken to prevent the olives going mouldy and to break up the salt.

 

The frost "scorches" the olives, taking away the bitterness and wrinkling them. They can be eaten straight away or preserved in olive oil with orange peal, garlic and chopped wild fennel.  

 

Olives don't always do well in the cold so it's interesting that the people of the Sibillini Mountains area of Marche have used it to their advantage.

 

 

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