Sunday, February 28, 2010

Visit a Saffron producer in Le Marche!

According to Greek myth, handsome mortal Crocos fell in love with the beautiful nymph Smilax. But his favours were rebuffed by Smilax, and he was turned into a beautiful purple crocus flower. The deep orange-red stigmas of the beautiful purple Crocus sativus are what we call saffron. It takes the stigmas from 100.000 to 200.000 crocus flowers to make 1 kg of saffron.
Experts believe saffron was first documented in a 7th century BC Assyrian botanical reference, it's use - first as a therapeutic drug, later as as spice - has been documented ever since.

Saffron cultivation was introduced in Le Marche by the Duke Federico da Montefeltro and this spice was cultivated in the Ducal Palace's kitchen garden.
A very active and resourceful couple is trying to revive this old tradition in their small farm near Urbino and they're offering visits to their zafferaneto (saffron field) to our guests.

Visit the zafferaneto, learn about cultivation and production, listen to Silvia's fascinating insights on saffron tradition and use, buy some beautifully packed saffron stigmas from their own produce (also makes a great present for your family and friends!) or buy some bulbs and give home-production a try!
Read more on how and when to visit.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Guardian GREEN TRAVEL LIST 2010

The Locanda is the only Italian property included in The Guardian Green Travel List 2010!!

Locanda della Valle Nuova, Italy

Like most agriturismos, food and wine are the focus at Locanda, a 1920s farmhouse run on solar power near the hilltop town of Urbino in northwest Italy. The owners grow organic wheat, fruit and vegetables, raise cattle, pigs and poultry, and make their own pasta, jam and wine. In autumn you can gather truffles from the woods and return to a wood-fired stove fuelled by coppicing from the 185-acre farm.
• +39 0722 330303, From €55pp B&B.

You can find the full List here and read more about it here.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The last article of 2009

I missed an article that was out in November 2009 on the Lonely Planet Magazine: "Our favorite places to stay (for under 99£), the Locanda is included!