Traditional dishes and food you must try while in Le Marche
People travel and go for holiday as they want to explore new countries, find out about other cultures and try different cuisines. Italy is famous for its delicious pizza and homemade pasta, but let’s have a look what, specifically, Le Marche region has to offer.
Le Marche cuisine is diverse. You can look forward to all kinds of meat, seafood, cheese, fresh egg pasta but it also features dishes with fresh vegetables, such as zucchini, greens and peas.
Le Marche dishes are based on local produce and most ingredients are gathered from the wild; game, nuts, herbs, mushrooms and we can’t forget to mention the Le Marche gold – truffles, an important ingredient of this area.
Most chefs try to create home cooked style dishes with a main focus on producing good quality food with minimal fuss just like their grandmother used to make. There are many dishes and foods not to be missed in this beautiful Italian region. Here is a list of our favourites:
Fish soup, the most typical dish for the area. Traditionally it was a soup made from fishermen’s unwanted scraps and leftover fish that couldn’t be sold in the market. There are four types of this fishy dish in Le Marche, depending on which area you are visiting; Ancona, Porto Recanati, Fano and San Benedetto del Tronto. Essentially, the main fish caught in each area is the main ingredient in the local Brodetto. Fish you can find in Brodetto including grey mullet, squid, cuttlefish, sole, bream, sometimes dry codfish and also spices like garlic and saffron. Brodetto is typically served on fried bread or with bread on the side. There is also a Festival of Brodetto and Fish Soup held in Fano every year in September when chefs from all over Italy come to compete for the best fish soup recipe.
Vincisgrassi “Le Marche Lasagna”
Vincisgrassi looks like a lasagna, but it isn’t a lasagna. It’s a dish, usually served as a first course. It’s the perfect comfort food bursting with flavours. Vincisgrassi main ingredients are beef mince or pork, mushrooms, tomato sauce, bechamel sauce, layers of pasta sometimes topped with truffles.
Another popular first course in Le Marche. Passatelli is a pasta made with bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, eggs, nutmeg, flour and grated lemon. Passatelli are cooked in chicken broth or served with variety of sauces. Simply delicious!
It’s an appetizer originated in the Northern Le Marche, in the town of Urbino. Crescia sfogliata is a flaky flatbread grilled and usually filled with greens, salami, mushrooms, sausages, herbs, and cheese. Just to warn you it’s known to be very addictive!
They are a typical local specialty and a great appetizer for sharing. Ascolana Olives are olives stuffed with meat, then breaded and fried. The meat mixture is made from pork, beef or chicken and all kinds of vegetable. Simple, but delicious.
Cold meat cuts and cheese
Statistics claim that marchigiani eat more meat than any other Italians and will eat anything from quail to lamb. That’s why a platter full of meats and cheeses is a popular appetizer in restaurants. Speciality meats you can find in Le Marche are Ciauscolo salami, Fabriano salami, Coppa di testa or Carpegna ham. Favourite meat used in dishes include pork, veal, rabbit, wild boar, chicken or game birds such as a pigeon or a quail.
Le Marche is a heaven for cheese lovers. Your taste buds can indulge in Fossa cheese, Urbino Caciotta, Truffle cheese, fresh Ricotta cheese and we can’t forget to mention the well-known and popular local Pecorino cheese. Pecorino cheese is 100% sheeps cheese and it’s one of the most ancient types of cheese as well as the most famous outside of Italy. Pecorino cheese is often used as an ingredient in focaccia and pizza in this region.
Truffles are one of the most expensive foods on the planet. There are around sixteen species of truffles in Le Marche, but only two are worth a gold; white truffle and black truffle. Truffles are one of the main ingredients for chefs in Le Marche and you can find them in dishes from appetizers to desserts.
To prove to you there is more to Le Marche cuisine than indulging in just meats and cheeses, here are some of our favourite sweet dishes:
Calcioni of Treia
Ravioli shaped sweet and savoury pastries filled with Ricotta cheese, lemon and sugar. You can find these deep fried sugar coated pastries in local bakeries.
Traditionally, Cicerchiata is made from fried or baked dough balls stuck together with honey. Nowadays you can also find in bakeries chocolate version or Cicerchiatas topped with almonds, pine nuts or peanuts. It’s served cold and cut into slices. Another sweet to try if you get a chance is Frustenga , dried and walnut cake made with cornmeal or Acona’s Beccute , raisin and nut biscuits.
Now you don’t have to worry when you visit a restaurant in Le Marche that you won’t understand the menu. You can avoid the temptation just to order dishes whose names are familiar to you from back home. You are ready to explore Le Marche cuisine and indulge in those delicious Le Marche classics.