Friday, March 26, 2010

THE video

In july, I had a visit, Richard Johnson, founder of It's a green green world, and his wife Lynne, came to the Locanda to film a video about us.
Now the video is on youtube and it looks great!
Thank you so much Richard and Lynne!

The people singing by the organ in the church in the video is the Ensamble Bella Gerit from Urbino, you may remember listening to their music through this blog. I didn't know they would be in the video until I saw it! :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Locanda on halifax

This afternoon I gave a look at the site's statistics (I admit I'm a bit of a statistics-addict :) ) and spotted quite a few visits from Canada... I was curious so I checked where they came from and found a small article on " halifax" with suggestions for spending your holidays on a farm, there are four addresses and the Locanda is one of the four! ...and we're in very good company indeed!

This is what they say about us:
Blissfully charming 200 acres of super-organic crops, cattle, pigs and poultry close to Urbino. Delicious home cooking and truffles in the woods. Stables, a pool, gorgeous rooms and lovely staff who live by the farm motto “one should tread lightly on the earth.”

You can read the full article here
...I'm sure that you'll be able to spot the Locanda inspite of the interestingly spelled name... I think we should have chosen an easier name for the Locanda...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dustin Hoffman reads "L'Infinito" by Leopardi in Le Marche

Urbino Ducal Palace with the Torricini, Frasassi Caves, Senigallia "Rotonda", the Conero Riviera, Furlo Gorge, the beautiful Montefeltro hills and much more in the long version of the promotional video for Le Marche featuring Dustin Hoffman.

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Le Marche tourism website

A new website about tourism in Le Marche is online, it includes lots of information and nice new features but at the moment it's a bit weird to navigate... If you choose to browse the site in English you're redirected the Marche Voyager site that is very interesting and includes great information about travelling and relocating in Le Marche, there's also a newsletter you can subscribe to if you want to receive the latest news about expos and events. If you have a bit of Italian do visit both sites because they complement eachother quite well!
There's a new "multimedia" section that contains PDF versions of some of the pubblications of Le Marche Tourist Service, since they're not easy to access, I'm posting links to them (actually while writing this post I lost a page I wanted to link to and it took me a few minutes to find it again...)

The Coast "A 180 km long coastline, beautiful beaches, 26 seaside resorts on the Adriatic Sea where you can spend quiet holidays, the sea port of Ancona and 9 marinas. The shores of the Marche stretch from the promontory of Gabicce Mare to the mouth of the River Tronto. It is divided in two parts each facing a different direction starting from the promontory of Mount Conero which is the most peculiar feature of the entire Adriatic shore north of the Gargano. The coastline is one of the many examples of the great variety of landscapes which nature has so highly bestowed upon every tiny bit of the Marche territory.
Promontories, creeks, and small coves mark the northern coast like jewels underlining natures wild beauty creating a strong visual impact."

Exploring Inland "The Marche is a Region of Italy where history, culture and countryside have helped to create a unique and extraordinary world that is worth discovering.
Visiting its inland areas offers tourists a chance of enjoying the peaceful, well ordered atmosphere of its quiet, gently rolling hills. It also provides an opportunity to find inner and cultural enrichment from works of art and the historical, literary and legendary significance of places in the most unexpected corners of this extensive area."

The Cities of Art "The writer Guido Piovene considers Le Marches’ landscape as one of the most typical Italian countrysides, defining it as
“a sheltered and civilised land, or better still the most classical of our regions”. It is possible to trace back the outlying historical development of the region by
admiring the various artistic works showing the cultural traditions over the centuries. A combination of experience, history, influence and nature makes Le Marche one of the most culturally interesting regions of Italy."

Ancient Villages The Apennines on a side, the Adriatic coast on the other, and, in-between, a sea of soft hills, which are filled by old villages, protected by ring walls: these are the Marche.
It’s a pleasure to surf in a sea earth of our own roots, immersed in the purity of the landscape and the harmony of architectonic.
Whereas the beauty of the art towns in Marche is known and appreciated all over the world, it is necessary to recognize that the heart of the region has to be found in the little villages that they pointing out around the territory, ignored by hurried tourists and often unknown to the most people of the Marche themselves."

Complete PDF files clicking the titles of each book
.... mmmh... The texts above are excerpts of the pubblications... sorry about the translations...

The video featuring Dustin Hoffman reading "L'infinito" by Giacomo Leopardi and images of Le Marche landscapes and monuments can also be seen on the new site.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mascarpone cream: tiramisù or not?

Tiramisù is, in spite of its quite short history, definitely a classic Italian dessert and, like most classics of Italian cuisine, there are probably as many recipes as families in Italy!
Liqueur or no liqueur? Cream or mascarpone only? Sugar in the coffee or not? Cooked cream or (very very fresh) raw eggs? Egg whites (beaten along with the yolks?) or not? Zabaione?
Of course I have a personal point of view on tiramisù and my recipe is a no-liqueur, no-cream, no-sugar one, a few egg whites beaten along with the yolks. I love zabaione (I'll soon post the recipe) that is gorgeous all alone with no need of mixing it with other ingredients.

So, here it goes (serves 6):
250 gr mascarpone "cheese"
1 (very fresh) organic egg
2 (very fresh) organic egg yolks
2 tbsp sugar
1 pinch of salt

About 200 gr savoiardi bisquits (lady fingers)
Bitter cocoa powder

Make coffee and let it cool.
Beat the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and salt until the sugar is well dissolved and the mixture is light and foamy.
Put the mascarpone in a bowl and mix it until it's a uniform cream. Add the egg-sugar mixture bit by bit stirring gently (if you overwork it it will separate and curdle!).
Dip the savoiardi in the coffee, I like them well soaked (no cruncyness in my tiramisú) but watch out, you don't want them to be soggy!
Spread a few spoonfuls of cream in a rectangular mold and cover with the bisquits, add more cream to cover and repeat until the ingredients are over, finish with cream and sprinkle with cocoa powder.

I have to admit that, even if I really appreciate a good tiramisù from time to time, I prefer to experiment with mascarpone cream a bit and create new desserts.

Just a few examples:
- Arrange in individual bowls and serve with nocino (green walnut liqueur).
- Put some broken amaretti bisquits on the bottom of individual bowls, cover with a portion of cream and sprinkle with fresh peaches cut in small cubes and marinated in a little marsala wine & sugar (I do like to keep the cruncyness of the amaretti here so I make this just minutes before serving).
- Marinate some fresh strawberries in vinsanto, marsala or other sweet wine. Arrange in individual bowls and cover with the cream.
- Serve with your favourite red wine reduction (1 part sugar, 6 parts red wine and let reduce until thick).

Give it a try and let me know!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

XLII Festival di Musica Antica 2010

This year's Antique Music Festival will be held in Urbino between July 19th and July 28th.
The programmes for classes and concerts are not out yet, but I trust that it will be as great as ever!
Just a tiny video of one of the groups that participated last year.
From Urbino, Ensamble BELLA GERIT: “Nuptiae factae sunt – Musica ad Urbino al tempo di Raffello” (First performance of the “Medici Codex 1518”)

Hope you enjoy it and to see you next July!
Some of the programmes of the courses are available at the FIMA website (there's an English version, scroll down and look for the flag on the left, but the site is being updated and only some pages work).
I'll post more once the programme of the concerts is online.