Yesterday I had to go and provide some pork goodies for the season at the Locanda. My favourite producer in the world is Doriano Scibé, from Grottazzolina in Fermo Province.
Fermo is the latest Le Marche Province, created only a few years ago, but the area "il Fermano", formerly included in the Ascoli Piceno Province, has always had a strong character: an interesting dialect, yummy gastronomic peculiarities and probably the highest ratio of hilltop-towns in the world... about 90% of the villages are called Monte-something... Montottone, Montappone, Monte Giorgio, Montefortino... and I could go on for a while! :)
The drive is about 2 hours, so I decided to take it easy and spend the day visiting a few things in the area.
In spite of the high number of hilltop-towns, the first place where I stopped was Servigliano, a very flat and very unusual village, entirely built during the XVIII century: the plan is square and very regular and scientifically calculated.
Next on the list was the village of Montottone, where I know a great pottery producer.
Montottone hosted, until just after WW2, 48 pottery producers that created pots, dishes, jugs and much more for the whole area. This tradition is currently pursued by the Bozzi family.
Emanuele, showed me some pieces that were traditionally used for producing cheese, the milking "pail", the "pigna", where the milk curdled, and the containers used to drain the cheese.
I love cheesemaking (I also make a very simple fresh cheese) so I couldn't resist and ordered a whole set, made just for me! I'll post pictures as soon as they arrive.
Finally, I headed towards Grottazzolina to buy some Pancetta (amazing pork belly cured with salt, pepper and orange rind), Capocollo, Ciauscolo (a typical very soft, fresh and spicy "salami") and my personal favourite: Salsiccia di Fegato (liver sausage) that is apparently not a hit outside the area because of the strong flavour... My suggestion is: if you happen to be in the area, DO TRY IT, it's gorgeous!
A great day in a different part of Le Marche... every time I venture in other areas of this region and appreciate the diversity of landscapes and traditions I remember why it has been defined "Italy in one region".