Roberta welcomes us into her beautiful old farmhouse in Orciano di Pesaro, an enchanting little town surrounded by the undulating green hills of the Marchigian countryside, half way between the Appeninni mountains and the Adriatic sea. She tells us that her town was built by a group of wandering Carthaginians, who had managed to escape the Roman defeat of 207 BC, and who eventually decided to settle near the Metauro river.
Tired of the hubbub of city, and yearning for a simpler way of life, Roberta and her husband have been living in the area for many years, and have become truly attached to the cultural heritage of the area. They treasure their family cooking secrets handed down from Roberta’s mother and grandmother, and have become experts in marchgiano cuisine. Today, they are here to take us on a deeply personal journey through their local flavours.
To start off this Taste Experience, we begin with delicate ‘crostini’, toasted breads with a generous drizzle of olive oil, served with Casciotta di Urbino, a typical sheep’s milk cheese. For the first course, we have ‘tacconi alla contadina’, fresh durum wheat and ‘farina di fava’ pasta, which is a flour derived from dried broad beans. The Fratte Rosa broad bean is the key ingredient of the dish, which is produced in the neighboring Valle del Cesano, whose clay-rich soil is particularly suited to cultivating legumes.
Next, we have a delicious rabbit ‘in porchetta’, which is inflused with crushed garlic, wild fennel and marjoram before being roasted in a wood-fired oven. This is accompanied by crispy roast potatoes and fresh garden vegetables. This dish, in the past, was traditionally prepared during the wheat threshing period. Today, in honour of this tradition, it is prepared in the summer months by families who have a farming history.
We come to a sweet close with a plate of exquisite almond ‘spumini’ and ‘sciroppati’ biscuits, which are the most popular desserts in the region.