The Marche is located on the side of the middle Adriatic and occupies a space that extends between the Conca river in the north and the Tronto in the south; to the west the region is limited by the Umbria-Marche Apennines. It has a characteristic shape of irregular pentagon and develops mostly longitudinally from north-west to south-east. The lowlands, not detectable in percentage, are limited to a narrow coastal strip and to the part of the valleys closest to the mouth of the rivers.
Inhabited since the Paleolithic, the Marche region has never followed unitary historical events: before the control of the Romans it was inhabited mainly by the Piceni, while the Gauls were confined to the north, the Greeks to Ancona and the Umbrians to the south-west.
In the Middle Ages the region was divided between the Byzantines in the north and the Lombards in the south, until the Franks gave it to the popes. Under the dominion of the Church the free communes were born and in the Renaissance important Lords were formed. After the interlude of the French Revolution, the Marches returned to the Papal States, until they were occupied by Piedmontese troops in 1860, definitively entering the Kingdom of Italy.
That of the Marche is a confederation of kitchens. There are two aspects of local cuisine corresponding to the geographical characteristics of the region: the inland and the maritime one.
The peasant aspect of the Marche cuisine is dominated by mushrooms, the use of olives and truffles.
The main dishes of the hinterland are based on pork. On the Marche coast instead you can enjoy a large quantity of fish products. The symbolic dish is the "fish soup", interpreted differently in each port, from the red (tomato) of the Pesarese to the yellow (saffron) of the Ascoli. In use between the Conca river (Romagna border) and the Tronto river (before the Abruzzi) there is a "potacchio", deriving from the French "potage", which in this area does not designate a soup but a restricted sauce marinated in stockfish , chicken or rabbit.
The Ancona and Macerata cuisine express the unifying dish of the region: the vincisgrassi.
Viticulture has always flourished in the Marche and has given very diversified products to each other. From the top of its hills, following the descent of the Esino valley towards Jesi, overlooking the succession of vineyards in the heart of the Verdicchio area, a charming corner of the Marche where villages, abbeys and castles dominate the landscape and the eye can wander to infinity between lands and fields object of the principal poems of Leopardi.
Woe to call them Lasagne! They are a typical first course, considered one of the main dishes of the Marche cuisine. For the preparation it is necessary to spread a sheet of egg pasta, cut it into rectangular pieces, which must be boiled and dried on a cloth; each piece is then placed in a baking pan, placing a particular ragù and the béchamel between one layer and another, which should also be used as a finish. The whole thing is then fired and withdrawn when the first layer has become crunchy. It is a dish traditionally prepared for feast days.
Typical dish originating from the city of Ascoli Piceno, they are widespread throughout the Italian territory, but also outside national borders. They are generally served together with other fried products as an appetizer. At the time, the cooks who served with the families of the local nobility, agreeing with each other, invented the filling of the olives to consume the considerable quantities and variety of meat they had available, due to the increase in the gifts that weighed on the peasants to their masters.
Biscuits, composed of a very consistent dough flavored with spices and enriched with nuts. Desserts of ancient origins, already widespread in the times of Lorenzo the Magnificent, are prepared for long-term preservation. The typical ingredients are honey and more recently sugar, flour, nuts, spices and refined candied fruit. Later they took the name of cavallucci, because they were offered above all in country inns, where stagecoaches and barracks stopped and were consumed by horse drivers and bystanders.
A mixture of pork derived from the shoulder, bacon, ham, loin, lard and other minor cuts with the addition of aromas such as white wine, garlic and pepper. After being chilled for about 2 days for an optimal maturation, they are ground several times (normally two), kneaded and bagged in natural gut with ligature at the ends. The seasoning, of at least 15 days, can take place in artisan or industrial premises at a temperature between 10 and 16 ° C.
It can be considered as a rival of the Romagna Piadina. It is made with flour, eggs, water, lard, salt and pepper. The dough obtained with a rolling pin should be greased with lard and rolled on itself, so that it releases pieces that are integrated with the rest of the dough. Crushed disc and cooked, it takes on a characteristic layered, golden and crunchy structure. Typically it is eaten hot with sausage, wild herbs, ham, loin or cheese.
In the Marche, it is prepared with boneless and stuffed rabbit with its chopped offal and browned (liver, heart, lungs), fresh pork belly and a mixture of aromatic herbs such as rosemary thyme and wild fennel. The raw roll is bound and left to flavor for a few hours before baking.
Among the many fish dishes that belong to the tradition, the Brodetto in the Marche plays a leading role, a bit on the tables of the whole region. In fact, from north to south of the region, almost every city on the coast, has its own recipe for broth. As in all areas of the sea, brodetto was born as a poor dish, from the need to use even the least requested fish in the market, less valuable and in small quantities, first of all by sailors, who cooked it on board, with the few ingredients that they had available.
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