Le Marche’s culinary tradition is a mix of robust, meat-based dishes and lighter seafood fare; it features centuries-old cheeses, is a major truffle producer and its extra virgin olive oil is excellent quality. The region is also famous for Campofilone pasta with IGP recognition (guarantee of origin for foods produced in specific areas) and boasts six Slow Food Presidia.
If you’re a foodie, here are some of the delicacies you can’t miss on a trip to Le Marche.
Let’s start with the IGP pasta mentioned above: Maccheroncini di Campofilone. Campofilone is a village in the hills near Ascoli Piceno, and the peculiarity of this egg pasta is that it’s rich in vitamins and Omega3 fatty acids. Every year since 1964, these Maccheroncini are celebrated in August with a local sagra (food festival).
In the inland areas, rural traditions have produced excellent cured meats and cheeses. Among them is the Salame di Fabriano, mentioned even by Giuseppe Garibaldi; a Slow Food presidium, it is obtained by grinding the finest part of the pig, prosciutto. The delicate and fragrant Prosciutto di Carpegna, appreciated well beyond the region’s borders, is a DOP product that hails from the province of Pesaro-Urbino. And for those who have a thing for Italian salumi, Ciauscolo is another must-try: stemming from the tradition of not wasting anything of the pig, ciauscolo is a paste spread on bread obtained from ground lard that is mixed with pork meat.
Cheeses are also a major component of Le Marche’s culinary tradition (in fact we’ll have a specific feature just on Le Marche’s cheeses!). Casciotta d’Urbino, Pecorino dei Monti Sibillini and Formaggio di Fossa are just three of the cheeses you should try on a foodie tour of the region.
Le Marche is also appreciated for its truffles, the most famous being the Acqualagna variety, which have been cultivated in Acqualagna for centuries and are celebrated every year during the Fiera Nazionale del Tartufo, taking place between October and November. Le Marche is one of the few Italian regions to boast a large production of all major species of truffles. The most prestigious truffle is the white truffle, found especially in Vado and Acqualagna; it is harvested between October 1 and December 31. Black truffle ripens between mid-November and mid-March and is mostly found in Acqualagna, Cagli, Acquasanta Terme, Roccafluvione, Comunanza, Montefortino, Camerino and Visso.
Finally, even olive oil lovers will find something to be happy about: the Olio Extravergine di Cartoceto DOP. This olive oil has also been made for a long time and its quality is strictly related to the quality of the olives cultivated here, the most prestigious being the oliva ascolana, from the province around Ascoli Piceno. It is considered the best table olive, and is especially famous for its ‘oliva all’ascolana’ version, which is stuffed and fried. With a delicate yet enveloping aroma, the Cartoceto olive oil goes especially well with vegetables and seafood.