Poetry, music, cooking: the first two arts are ethereal, the third one is material, but they all form Marche's spirit and offer the world a show of aesthetic, melodic, simple and intense culinary canons. For example, one of the 18th century's greatest lyric masters, Gioacchino Rossini, was the creator of a maccheroni dish, which soon became a legend. Fulbert Dumonteil, an 18th century French aristocrat, wrote: "Rossini appeared grasping a silver syringe with his fat hand. He filled it with truffle purée and patiently injected this incomparable sauce in every pasta hole. Then the maccheroni were placed in a saucepan, as a child in his cradle, and cooked among heady fumes. Rossini stood still and spellbound while he followed the cooking of his favorite dish...". Rossini hit the mark better with his recipe than with his masterpiece William Tell, thus becoming part of the history of haute cuisine.
Marche's cuisine is wrongfully considered a borderline cuisine, influenced by Emilia Romagna in the North, by Abruzzo in the South and by Umbria. The menu is a melodic-culinary "pastiche". Olive Ascolane give the A, followed in crescendo by vincisgrassi - sauced and light lasagne- that duet with potato gnocchi (dumplings) with Acqualagna truffles, a 50 kilometer- wide area where 90% of Italian truffle-dogs come from and that counts 200 artificial truffle-grounds.
White and black truffles precede a choral triumph of game or Carpegna Prosciutto (a Pdo product that is made by processing pig legs, according to a 14th century tradition) on toast.
Mouth-watering fades slowly away thanks to a finale of oven-baked cakes, stuffed with cheese (pecorino or Casciotta d'Urbino Dop - the latter was so appreciated by Michelangelo that he bought some lands in Urbino in order to be able to eat this kind of cheese every day). The melody of this culinary symphony wakes up the blood and the palate of the tourist already stunned by Marche's wines.
The road that starts from Ascoli Piceno - Cecco Angiolieri's home city, who was such a Marche Doc quality wine lover that he wrote in his rhymes: "Non vorria se non Greco o vernaccia/ché mi fa maggior noia il vin latino, /che la mia donna quand'ella mi caccia" ("I do not want anything but Greco or Vernaccia because Latin wine bores me more than my wife when she turns me out") - leads to the hinterland, which starts in San Benedetto del Tronto and reaches Senigallia, the enclave of the prince of all Doc wines: Rosso Conero. Rosso Piceno differs from its "sibling" in its lighter color and higher alcohol content.
In addition to Civitanova Marche, near Tolentino, you should visit Macerata and Recanati because, in addition to seeing Leopardi's famous hedge mentioned in his poem "L'infinito", your eyes can take in the wide expanse of Recanati varietal vineyards. Every farmer makes "his own" Rosso Piceno with this grape variety.
Val d'Elsino instead is the production area of two good quality wines: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi and Verdicchio di Matelica.
Wine was a strong temptation for poor Cecco Angiolieri who we will not blame if the last vice he had in poverty was drinking: "...me n'abbia Iddio per escusato..." ("For which I hope God forgives me") he wrote, sad but glad.