Mushrooms in Le Marche

 
JAN 28 @ 21:32

by john_lee

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an Italian will find any excuse to have a party, and nothing says 'celebration' like food. Be it pasta, chocolate, beans, salume, bread, somewhere on the Italian peninsula, there's a festival for it. And that's before the multifarious saints' days... it's hard to keep up.

While cooking with dried porcini this evening, I started thinking about a rather random but wonderful foodie adventure I had one October in Italy. In the hills above Macerata in the Le Marche region lies a lofty medieval town called Cingoli. Known as 'the Balcony of Le Marche', it's a hushed and windy place, with glorious views of the countryside below. The locals say that the last rays of the sun fall on Cingoli while all around is in darkness ('non e' ancora notte a Cingoli' is a local saying'). It also happens to host an annual mushroom and truffle festival.

It was a breezy, sunny autumn Saturday, and with nothing useful to do, I got into the only left-hand-drive car for miles around, and set off for the curious 'Mostra di Funghi e Tartufi'. For what seemed like hours, my little Peugeot crept around narrow hill roads, climbing higher and higher till at last I reached Cingoli's ancient walls. Parking beneath some shady pines, I tramped up a hundred or so stone steps and emerged into a town square packed with stalls and tents, and foodies from miles around.

I saw mountains of porcini, girolles, pieds de moutons, chantarelles, and every edible variety imaginable for sale. (Deadly versions were only for show!) There were stalls selling dried mushrooms, jarred mushrooms, truffle oils, truffle sauces, truffle butters, and the whole place was filled with the pungent, primal scent of the woodland. Families old and young were there for a day out, and I thought, where else but in Italy can you find such a celebration of one foodstuff in a tiny, half-forgotten town? At the far end of the biggest marquee, a thick-set, mustachioed man in an apron was weighing out black truffles, and in a fit of extravagance, I bought twenty euros' worth. I ate them with friends that evening, shaved over a steaming bowl of buttered tagliatelle.

That day in October was a heady, almost mystical experience, and looking back it feels like a well-remembered dream. So, if you're ever in Le Marche in mid-October, I strongly recommend that you head for Il Balcone delle Marche.

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JAN 29 @ 05:57

by Mamma Carla

Very interesting and well written.This view of mushrooms gives me an appetite even if it is only eight in the morning.......I read your profile,my daughter was for three years in Wales to study Leisure and Sport Management in Glamorgan University. I have visited for a couple of time but the weather was so bad that I hadn't the chance to see many things,just a little around. I liked very much the old covered market in Pontypridd and the old medieval town and I absolutely love Cardiff.I would like to know a little about traditional Welsh recipes when you'll find the time.Grazie ,ciao!wave

 
JAN 29 @ 05:57

by Mamma Carla

Very interesting and well written.This view of mushrooms gives me an appetite even if it is only eight in the morning.......I read your profile,my daughter was for three years in Wales to study Leisure and Sport Management in Glamorgan University. I have visited for a couple of time but the weather was so bad that I hadn't the chance to see many things,just a little around. I liked very much the old covered market in Pontypridd and the old medieval town and I absolutely love Cardiff.I would like to know a little about traditional Welsh recipes when you'll find the time.Grazie ,ciao!wave

 
JAN 29 @ 06:48

by madamada

ehhhhhhhhhh che montagna di funghi e che festathumbsupwave

 
JAN 29 @ 07:45

by Chrissa SKG

I want them all.......................I almost WORSHIP mushrooms....

Can you post clear plain details/info on this event on Food Festivals thread in Leftovers section please?

thank you in advance

 
JAN 29 @ 09:25

by john_lee

Mamma Carla, thank you for your kind comments. I will post some recipes soon for 'Cawl' (Welsh lamb and leek stew) and Welshcakes. I also went to Glamorgan uni, and lived in Cardiff. When was your daughtert there?

Chrissa, me too! And porcini are so expensive in the UK yet I find it impossible to go easy on them! I'll try to find out the details of this year's festival and post them in Leftovers - it should be in mid-October.

Madamada, si hai raggione! Che montagna d'oro, vero? Voglio mangiare tutto quelli funghi!! Hai visitato mai nelle Marche?

 
JAN 29 @ 10:03

by Mamma Carla

Hi John! what a coincidence..she graduated last July,so she was there since Sept.2005 to July 2008.She was living right in Treeforest,just in order not to have too many distractions( too much shop terapy), and study. Sometimes it was a little bit difficult to live in a village but when she left she was crying ,,,,,,molti bei ricordi.She is now in Oxford doing a Master in International Studies.Waiting to hear about new recipes from you,wavewavewave

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