With its ancient origins, Grottammare is a little town that runs along the coast up to the sides of the hills where the historic center is located, one of the most picturesque medieval towns in Italy. The name “Grotte a Mare” (“Grottoes by the Sea”) alludes to the very long ditches dug by the ancients to defend themselves from enemy attacks and to escape by sea, the same sea that is the protagonist on Rita’s table with the unmistakable taste of fish from the Adriatic that characterizes the entire menu.
The secret of the Cesarina
I conclude my meals with two typical beverages from the Marches: caffè del marinaio– sailor’s coffee– and anisette.
Rita welcomes us with an Adriatic salad with tomato crostini, using calamari, cherry tomatoes, black olives and arugula, a fresh and extravagant antipasto that is full of the flavours of the Adriatic. As a first course, she serves little potato gnocchi with squid scampi and cherry tomatoes. Next are appetizing fried squid, an unmissable dish of seaside tradition, accompanied by seasonal vegetables.
To finish, we enjoy a 'caffè del marinaio', or sailor’s coffee, with almond biscottini. Sailors would drink this coffee on fishing boats to help them face the long, cold nights on the sea. This coffee is made with moka, sugar, bitter cocoa powder and a warming splash of rum. To follow, we have 'anisette', the traditional digestif from Ascoli Piceno. Its herbal green anis aroma is the perfect conclusion.