Marche and Umbria
In the territory where the regions of Marche and Umbria are located, they were occupied by the Umbrian and Piceni
tribes, long before the Romans dominated the Italian peninsula. As it was custom and until recent times most of the
people had two meals a day consisting typically of boiled grain or chickpeas, lentils or other legumes available in
the area, and of games, fish, bread and milk products. The wild boars, abundant in this area, trained the hunters
to butcher, prepare and master the art to preserve and cure the meat, an ability inherited from the
The bread made in these regions, is of the highest quality and made in various flavors and taste according to the
ingredients used: each town, each bakery, each family makes a singular shaped and tasting different bread, with a
distinct and personal touch.
The Marche offers as a unique appetizer the Olive
all’Ascolana. They are olives stuffed with chopped veal, chicken liver and tomato paste, cooked with lard and
flavored with cheese, parsley, nutmeg and than breaded and fried in olive oil. The local ravioli are dumplings
stuffed with meat and spinach, and the Brodetto
a fish stew prepared in San Benedetto del Tronto, are specialties exclusive of the area.
Pigs and free range black pigs are used in the production of ham and sausage specialties: Prociutto di
Montefeltro, made from black pigs, many varieties of salami, liver sausage and soppressate.
mortadella is made with pork’s lean and fat meat and
lungs, livers, hearts, seasoned with salt and peppercorn; the Coppa
is a sausage made from pig’s head with bacon, seasoned with nutmeg, orange zest, pine nuts and almonds
and the unusual Ciavuscolo
is a salami to spread deliciously in a sandwich or as a canapé. In the countryside there is a large
production of vegetables, legumes and grapes which are basic part of their diet. The Piceno red and white wines,
their famous olive oil and the pecorino cheese made with sheep milk are proudly produced in the
Umbria is a small region of 3265 square miles with 850,000 inhabitants.
It is a region with great traditions and history, with beautiful scenic views and modern cities vibrant with life.
A preferred destination to the tourists for
art, music (the Spoleto Jazz Festival), the peaceful surroundings, the friendly people and the uncomplicated
and delicious cuisine.
Umbria is not touched by the sea. The territory is covered by farms and agriculture is the main economic resource.
House gardens provide fresh provisions; the local Chianina
cattle and farm raised pigs supply first quality beef, pork and pork products.
The Umbrian are temperate people, their taste is simple like their cooking: few condiments, the fresh local olive
oil, black truffles, marjoram and fennel which grows abundantly by the many rivers and lakes that also are a source
of a variety of fresh water fish.
The butcher in Italian is called norcino; Norcino
also is an inhabitant of Norcia, an Umbrian town where the art of butchering was thriving. In Norcia and in the
area pork products are at the very best, from the pork neck they produce the capocollo
seasoned with garlic and peppers and served as an appetizer. Also served as antipasto
the Prociutto di
Norcia made with pigs fed exclusively with acorns,
toasts covered with sautéed spleen or chicken liver and tartufi, the black truffles, fillets of anchovies and
capers, or the pizza called schiacciate
covered with preserved pork meat.
is a liver sausage that can be “hot” with chili
pepper or sweet, as a dessert, with honey, raisins, pine nuts and orange peels.
Some of the main dishes are: the cariole
which is noodles with garlic sautéed with fresh olive oil, or the pasta refried with eggs, sausages
and cheese, or the risotto
with mushrooms. These dishes are served with grated black or white truffles and cheese. Lentil’s soup
and minestra di faro,
spelt soup are traditional fares.
Spits and grill cooking is common in Umbria. The famous
Roman Porchetta, a young hog roasted whole is a typical Umbrian specialty.
Beef steaks made with Chianina
cattle are barbequed as is the coratella, the
liver and heart, and the woodcock, stuffed with giblets, sausages and black truffles, is also barbequed. Other
meats and game are stewed often with the abundant lentils.
The Regina in
Porchetta is carp cooked like Porchetta
and stuffed with fennels, chopped liver, garlic, salt and pepper. Tasty chowder is made with an
assortment of fresh water fish cooked with wild fennels, olive oil and wine.
The desserts made in Umbria are unique. Perugia is the home of Perugina
products, from chocolate toPanettone, to a
variety of cookies and cakes exported all over the world.
The famous Panpepato
a fruitcake made in Siena, originally containing pepper which was substituted with vanilla, it was
made for Christmas and now it is available all the time.
A homemade dessert prepared for Christmas consists of simply boiled noodles mixed with cinnamon and sugar and
sprinkled with zest of lemon and toasted chopped walnuts.
For Easter the city of Perugia offers the Ciaramicola
a ring shaped red cake covered with egg white whipped with sugar and made with butter, eggs, flour and
alkermes, a liquor made with berries (the kermes which give the characteristic red color), cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg
Among the many good wines, the white Orvieto, the
Rosso and the Vin Santo, a sweet
and prized dessert wine.