Le Marche - page 3
Many of the wild herbs and plants of the Marches' agricultural land come into play as ingredients in distinctive liqueurs and after-dinner digestifs. One unusual mixture is a truffle-flavored amaro. Anise the most extensively used flavoring in the region's concoctions. The after-dinner drink Mistrà is an infused liqueur made with green anise, usually taken straight or added to espresso. Sweeter anisette is served in the morning, mixed with water for a refreshing cocktail, or sipped with dessert. Some distinctive wines are made in the region, most notably the white Verdicchio. There are also some unusual variations. In the southern part of the region there's vin cotto, literally cooked wine, made from grape juice that's boiled to become thicker. It's sweeter and stronger than regular wine, a choice drink of emperors, popes and kings. Vino di visciola is made in Jesi and Pesaro, a drink made of pressed wild cherries mixed with a local red wine.
No one loved the Marches' food more passionately than Gioacchino Rossini, the 19th century opera composer born in Pesaro. He claimed that his passion for la buona tavola (a lavish table) was second only to his love for music. Although Rossini devoted his professional life to composing operas such as The Barber of Seville, he is credited with creating and promoting many of the region's richest, most extravagant dishes. His favorite foods included mushrooms, goose liver, game, beef, oysters, truffles, egg, mayonnaise...and the list goes on. Hundreds of dishes in Marchesan restaurants are tagged alla rossini. Rossini wrote that he only cried three times in his life: when people booed at his first opera; when he heard the music of Paganini; and when he accidentally ruined a truffle-stuffed turkey by dropping it in water. One of his numerous food mottoes captures his irresistible attitude towards la dolce vita, Marches-style. He wrote, "to eat and love, to sing and digest: these are truly the four acts of this comic opera we call life, which vanishes like the foam from a bottle of Champagne. Whoever lets it slide by without enjoying it is crazy.