A Tour of Italy in the Kitchen, Part 13: Marche
Marche boasts some of the most pristine coastline along the Adriatic Sea, along with the Apennine Mountains and rich fertile hillsides, ideal for grapevines.
Marche is Italy’s secret culinary region. Marche cuisine consists of truffles and robust cheeses from the mountains, tender hams and salame, and brodetto (fish soup). Olives are valued in Marche for more than just oil, and olive ascolane (olives stuffed with meat and herbs) is a favored dish. The food of Le Marche equally shares from the bounty of the sea as well as the farm. Brodetto is the most famous fish stew of the Adriatic coast the Marche versions of Brodetto include red and gray mullet, cuttlefish or squid (or both), oil, garlic and saffron. Favorite meats include veal, rabbit, game birds (quail, pigeon), chicken and goose. Both meats and fish are usually done either in a porchetta style using fennel, garlic and rosemary or potacchio (with onion, tomato, white wine and rosemary). Pecorino (especially young Pecorino) is the most favored cheese, however, Casciotta d’Urbino is also popular.
Marche desserts are less sweet and often use sweetened cheeses like Pecorino or Ricotta as ingredients. Other desserts include a Pizza Dolce, (or sweet Pizza) and Frustenga, a cake made with raisins, figs and walnuts.
The wines of Marche include full bodied reds, however, the real standout of Marche are its white wines. Spirits of Le Marche include home made Grappa and other infused liquors with the most popular being Mistra, an anise liqueur used as a digestivo.