The writer Paolo Volponi used to say that the wines of the Marche region were similar to the local people: changing from valley to valley, with their own distinct characteristics.
There is just one exception. The valley comprising Monte San Vicino in the east, the Monti del Catria in the west, the Sibillini in the south with Matelica in the centre: the Valle Camerte, an area producing a unique and versatile wine defined by Marco Soldati as sharp, rustic and refined – the Verdicchio of Matelica.
Described as a full flavored white wine which naturally accompanies fish dishes, it is also ideal with many of the delicious local Maceratese specialties, including rabbit or chicken seasoned with rosemary, roast suckling pig seasoned with wild fennel and even with specialties found at the pork-butcher, ciauscolo in primis.
Bacon chops and shoulder cuts of pork are added to considerable amount of fats in order to keep them tender; seasoned with salt, pepper, fennel, garlic and vino cotto, they are then finely chopped and minced so as to obtain a homogeneous texture to stuff it into the intestines which are used as containers. Next, the ciauscolo is smoked and then kept in a cool and airy place to complete its short curing process.
Along with this exquisite spreadable salami, there are other ways to enjoy pork; starting with the brawn – the salami is eaten as a starter. Following the slaughtering and salting, the real centerpieces are produced from the pork offal – mazzafegato or salsiccia matta. The distinct, pure flavors of the interior areas of Macerata province have similarities and differences with other regions of the Apennines. They also share similar customs including the old tradition of herding.
Lamb has always had a privileged place in both menus in restaurants and in home cooking. In the region of the Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini, such as Monte San Martino and Visso, dairies offering handmade produce have also maintained their importance.
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