Restaurants & Bars 13

Le Marche--foodies' paradise--long

vlibin | Nov 20, 200212:22 PM

A couple of months ago I asked for recs for restaurants in this Region of Italy, particularly near Pesaro and Urbino. Nothing turned up. Le Marche is a pretty obscure region that is not flooded by tourists. I am somewhat writing this relunctantly since part of me would rather keep this a secret, but I figure you guys would appreciate the info.

Le Marche borders Molise to the south, Umbria to the South-West, Tuscany to the North-West, Emiglia-Romagna to the North and the Adriatic to the East. It is mostly comprised of mountainous and hilly terrain. The Northern region of Le Marche (Pesaro e Urbino) is known as the other area where white truffles are abundand and of prime quality (the better known area being Piedmont). I relied primarily on the Slow Food guide for Osterias, which I bought in Italy and a little bit of Fred Plotkins book. Plotkin's book was way less reliable.

Besides white truffles, Le Marche is famous for stuffed fried olives (olive a l'Ascolana), prosciutto di carpegna ( slightly better IMO than Parma or San Daniele), vincigrassi (fresh sheets of pasta with a giblet ragu and truffles), herbette di campo (wild greens), marchigiana beef (white cattle grown on high pastures in the Appenines), roasted rabbit, seafood brodettos, formagio di fossa (a sheeps cheese that undergoes a second fermentation in tuffa caves). Because the region borders Emiglia-Romagna, Tuscany, and Umbria, its cuisine has adopted many of the dishes and cooking techniques of those region. Most prevalent was the Emiglian influence of fresh egg pasta and the Umbrian herb roasting of meats ("in porchetta"). The locals wines were excellent, particularly the various riserva roso coneros and the roso picenos. The standouts were Lanari Roso Conero '97 Fibbio, and Garofali Rosso Conero Riserva '97. These wine cost under $40 in restaurants and retailed for about $18 over there.

The region is chockfull of historical towns (Urbino should not be missed) and perfectly preserved Medieval walled cities.

Hotels and restuarants were very moderately priced with the most expensive room in the top hotel in Urbino going for $170 per night.

Restaurant wise I highly recommend visiting Trattoria di Taddeo e Federico in Sant'Angelo in Vado. It specializes in white truffles such as crostini with truffles, tagliatelle with truffles, marchigiana filet with white truffles, stuffed breast of guinea with truffles, etc. Four course menu, including wine was $70 per person with so much white truffles that we didn't even want to eat them for the next 3 days. In Urbino, La Vecchia Urbino and L'Angolo Divino also served excellent Marche regional dishes and were particularly memorable. That said every restaurant out of the Slow Food guide was a winner and moderately priced.

So if you like pristine country side, renaissance and medieval art, friendly people, great food and wine, pay Le Marche a visit in your next travels to Italy.

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