Pesaro and the Rossinian cuisine
Mushrooms, goose liver, beef fillet, game, poultry, oysters and above all, truffles, are the ingredients that made Gioachino Rossini famous in culinary circles. The great composer from Pesaro created incisive and melodious parabolas in the kitchen as well as on musical scores: culinary creations which have since been adopted by his hometown: Tournedos alla Rossini, beef fillet browned in butter and garnished with foie gras and truffles, or the fancy woodcock soup, or shrimp and wild endive served Rossini style.
For Rossini, cooking was a motif to be followed with attention, a score to be read in religious and musical silence, as we are told by the noble Frenchman Fulbert Dumonteuil who describes the Maestro in his piece “Le Macaroni de Rossini”: “… immobile, enchanted, as he observed his favorite dish, listening for the light murmuring as if he were straining his ear to the harmonious notes of the Divine Comedy…”.
The art of butchering pork, the appeal of “casciotta” (a soft cheese produced in central Italy) and the Sliced Steak of the Montefeltro area
The Spit Roasted Pig of Mombaroccio and the salt cured meats of Beato Sante which can be found in shops along the road that leads to the ancient convent, are a culinary introduction to the first hinterlands of the Pesaro region, famous for pork-butchering and the art of curing pork cuts.
But, there is more … nearby Monteciccardo is known for its luscious aged pecorino cheeses which can be bought from skilled cheese makers just outside of the center.
Descending the hills, to Montelabbate, the traveller can taste the exquisite local peaches, then continuing on the Strada Statale Urbinate in the direction of Carpegna, into the Montefeltro region, we reach Sassocorvaro.
This area is replete with taste tempting flavors: high quality, skilfully aged meats, guaranteed to be from local Marche pastures, naturally leavened bread from Mercatello sul Metauro, and much, much more. Salamis, dried sausages, prosciuttos and inimitable cured pork loins are found in the shops along the road that goes from S. Domenico to Casinina. Ricotta and fresh cheeses of extraordinary quality can be found in the Madonna del Mozzicone area, but the pecorino cheeses from nearby Tavoleto are also worth trying and delicious cuts of lamb are available in the S. Donato Taviglione area.
Continuing along the main road of the valley, we come upon Lunano where the Chestnut Festival is celebrated each Autumn; further along, we find Belforte with its refined honeys and a vast assortment of rare fruits: wild mountain cherries, various types of wild pears – lunghina, porcinella, rossina, volpina and sorbo. Here there is a crossroads: to the left, we can go truffle hunting in S. Angelo in Vado, known for the excellent valuable white truffle and for its “historical” vinsanto which can be tasted in the wine cellars in the center of town; to the right, up to S. Sisto, known for its hazlenuts and mushrooms which are celebrated at a regional exhibition each Autumn.
This archipelago of flavors is centerd around D.O.P. products (products of Protected Origin) like the Casciotta di Urbino, the delicate, tempting cheese which, according to tradition, Michelangelo Buonarroti had sent to him in Rome while he was working on the decoration of the Sistine Chapel.
Instead, nearby Isola del Piano is known for a wide range of organic products, from pasta to legumes, and even meat.
Vernaccia, sour cherry wine and emmer, the grain of the Pharaohs
Travelling south on the Strada Statale which runs along the Adriatic, we reach the Marotta seafront, the outpost of the delicious flavors of the Cesano valley: traditional sweets and bread of an exceptional quality, as well as the traditional hand made fresh pasta shops which still hold fast in the face of gastronomic progress. In Marotta, the last week of April is set aside for the festival of the “garagoi di mare” (sea snails) which are prepared with wild fennel, mint and sweet bay. Setting off from Marotta in the direction of Pergola on the Strada Statale Cesanense 424, after 25 kilometers we come to S. Lorenzo in Campo, the emmer capital. For here, in the village of Monterosso, the species “triticum dicoccum” – the emmer that the Egyptian Pharaohs were already using seven thousand years before Christ – was rediscovered and patented (the only such patent in the world).
The Romans, whose centurions ate this grain before going into battle because it was considered a good omen, brought spelt to the Mediterranean area. Moreover, the qualities of this grain speak for themselves: low in calories, rich in calcium with ten times the fibre of durum wheat and antioxidant properties. And what is the perfect match for emmer? The well-known Suasa onions, with their mild, sweet flavor. S.Lorenzo in Campo is also home to the first “farroteca” (shop dedicated to emmer) where emmer can be tasted in numerous ways; in town shops excellent honey with valued organoleptic qualities can be found, for example sunflower and alfalfa honey, or organically prepared honey.
In the surrounding areas fine quality legumes are organically grown – beans, chickpeas and grass peas. Then, continuing on the Strada Statale Cesanense, we come to Pergola. Here two wines are produced: the delicious sour cherry wine with a rich, sweet and harmonious flavor, the perfect accompaniment to chocolate sweets and to the local ring shaped cake; and the historical local red Vernaccia, a rare wine with intense floral aromas and a persistent wild berry aftertaste. If we continue up the valley for another 13 kilometers, we come to Serra S. Abbondio, known for the mills in which superior quality corn flour is still ground; in nearby Cantiano, the famous Chiaserna bread is produced.
Where to stay in Pesaro
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Where to stay in Urbino
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