Italy is known for its stunning architecture, rich landscape, and of course—its delicious food. While each region has its specialty, Le Marche stands out for its diverse cuisine, stemming from its strategic location next to the sea and in the mountains. For this reason, it’s able to offer its locals and guests the best of both worlds…and let’s not forget about the wine, which deserves a separate blog post in itself!
Historically, each area and town in Le Marche has its own stand-out dish. When visiting Ascoli Piceno, for example, be sure to taste the olive ascolane–local, green olives that are pitted and then stuffed with a delicious mix of meat and cheese. Then, the bite-sized morsels are deep-fried to perfection. It’s not hard to believe that this classic antipasto dish has made its way abroad, becoming known as a staple Italian dish in North America and the United Kingdom.
What’s really interesting about Le Marche, though, is the fact that you can find both delicious and locally sourced meat and fish, all from the same region. In addition to the classic grigliata, featuring either a fresh array of grilled meats or fish, the region is home to unique dishes that you can’t really get anywhere else.
First up is the classic “brodetto di pesce”, found along the coast. Don’t let the basic translation of “fish soup” fool you—this tangy, hearty dish includes a wide variety of fish including mussels, clams, shrimp, and more. Historically, this was known as a “poor man’s dish”, as the entire fish (including the head) was used, and depended on what was caught that day.
If you’re more of a meat aficionado, Le Marche has something unique for you, too. Go beyond the classic grilled meats, with a tasty appetizer featuring lonza, a salt-cured pork, or ciauscolo, another pork-based delicacy that is usually spreadable. Staying close to its roots, ciauscolo must be made in the areas of Macerata, Ancona, and Ascoli Piceno in order to be considered authentic.
In addition to an exciting travel schedule full of sightseeing and experiences, make sure that you set aside enough time for yourself to experience all that Le Marche cuisine has to offer, tasting both the land and the sea!