An Italian Food and Wine Tour

The hilly region of Le Marche, on Italy's central Adriatic coast, is home to a "hundred towns of artistic interest and thousands of churches; two hundred of which date back to the Roman times." On a recent visit to this wonderful patchwork countryside, Scott and I spent a day away from the picturesque pool at Casa San Ruffino, where we were holidaying for the week, to experience some excellent local produce and wine. However, for this we needed a tour guide. That's when we met Marco; a passionate Italian with extensive knowledge of the region's local wine, food, art and history. At 9am sharp on a Monday morning, Marco arrived at Casa San Ruffino with his mini bus, ready to take us and one other couple to the first winery of the day. We ventured off to the charming village of Moresco in Fermo, to the family estate winery; 'Le Corti Del Farfensi.'

We learnt that the Marchigiani people like to maintain a strong link to their countryside. At first glance, it's clear to see that the vineyards are painstakingly cared for; great attention and pride is taken to ensure each row of vines are perfectly tended to.

After a moment's wait, we were seated and the sound of corks popping filled the air. Just to confirm (incase you gasp!) we didn't get through this many bottles below...

Before our first wine tasting commenced, we filled our plates with a delicious spread of charcuterie, local pecorino cheeses, La Sapa (a traditional regional product of Le Marche which is similar in consistency to balsamic vinegar, but, is the 'must' of the grape concentrated down until it forms a syrupy sweet juice) rich olive oil and homemade breads...

Then onto the tasty tipples! Herta, an employee of the vineyard, presented an array of red, white and rosé wines that the vineyard produces, so we could sample everything on offer...

After our comprehensive lesson in wine tasting, (Marco gave us lots of useful tips on how to identify certain characteristics in each wine, plus, demonstrated how to smell, sip and swill each glass) we moved onto something sweet...

A thimble full of Vino Cotto, (cooked wine) - an Italian dessert wine. This golden syrupy wine was absolutely delicious, and perfect for dunking with a crunchy biscotti or two!

After several hours of toasting a fine selection of wines, it was time to say farewell to Herta and Le Corti Del Farfensi. A few purchased bottles in hand, we then made our way back to Marco's mini bus and onto the next leg of our food and wine tour...

Arriving at The Fattoria Dezi Winery, situated in the peaceful town of Servigliano; a commune in the Province of Fermo. A relatively small family run winery with a great reputation for producing wine of the finest quality. We were fortunate enough to sample all of their current wines alongside some older vintages, and, a delicious homemade Italian lunch which had been prepared in the family kitchen. 

Laura Dezi talked us through the wines and was happy to answer any questions we had regarding the history of the family vineyard!

Our authentic feast began with a typically traditional Italian antipasti; fresh charcuterie and bread.

For our primi, we enjoyed homemade cannelloni patsa stuffed with spinach, parmesan and ricotta...

Soon after we moved onto our secondi; finely cut roast beef with fresh peas and carrots. Just a few ingredients cooked and presented simply, but really tasty.

We finished with a strong, punchy espresso! The Italians typically have their coffees without milk, but this espresso was far too powerful for me!

... so out came the milk!

After we had wined and dined, we were invited downstairs to see where the wine is produced. Laura, her uncle Stefano, and Marco, explained the fermentation process, showed us an almighty collection of oak barrels and then took us outdoors to see the lush green vineyard...

From Servigliano to Montelparo we went; through winding mountainous roads to 'Azienda Agricola Vitali Gabriele Fine Wines.' Here we met Elisabetta Vitali...

Elisabetta welcomed us all into her family home and gave us a personal tour of her winery. 

We walked through the recently refurbished factory...

... then outside to see the vines that had been planted on hilly slopes so that they enjoy exposure to the sun.

We then made our way back inside to sample more wine, charcuterie and cheese!

The tour was coming to a close, but not before our final visit of the day. This time we were off to sample extra virgin olive oil rather than wine! Marco took us to Frantoio Agostini in Petritoli (Fermo); a third generation olive oil mill. Here we met Daniele, who gave us several shots of rich olive oil!

A fascinating end to our Italian food and wine tour...

We thoroughly enjoyed our time with Marco and discovering the hidden gems of Le Marche. I would highly recommend this tour to all foodies and wine lovers!

Check out Marco here!