Friday, 25 May 2012

Le Marche in Italy Is Now The home of the Worlds Best Pizza Maker

Marcello D'Erasmo from the wonderful pizzeria, Mamma Rosa in Ortezzano, Le Marche yesterday won the title of "the best pizza maker in the world" at the annual competition in Naples. The competition is held over three days, 21st to 23rd May and attracted 427 entrants.

Taking part together with pizza chefs from all over the world, including chefs from Japan, Switzerland, France, Ukraine, Brazil, USA, Norway, Spain, Canada, Morocco, Germany and Romania, Marcello, who has been making pizza for over 35 years, has been crowned the champion. 

Rather dazed he stated "I have been a pizza maker for over 35 years and it a a great honour. I have to thank Naples and the Neapolitan masters who taught me the craft. Thanks to them, their technique, their advice, I carry out the best job in the world".

Second place was awarded to Gennaro Nasti from Portland, Oragon, who was originally from Naples and third place went to Japanese chef Takehiko Chibe the "godfather of Shozan" from Sendai City, Myiagi Province. 

Another reason why we LOVE Marche

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Today The Weather Didn't Take The Shine Off Gualdo's Sparkle!

What an amazing day - we started with glorious sunshine and because we live in the mountains nothing is guaranteed.

However, the warm temperatures and the slight drizzle didn't take the shine off Gualdo's big day. I had no idea that cheese could be such a major attraction to young ( the not so very young) and old alike.  The festival atmosphere was a joy to be part of.

Cheese, Cheese and more Cheese - I don't think I have seen so many different shapes, sizes and varieties. And, of course, we had to try them all!

One thing that stands out in my mind is the different flavours. Amazing - the discovery of the day has to be the local honey served with sharp bitter and creamy Pecorino from the Sibilini Mountains.  Its a ballet on your palate!

Apart from Cheese there were loads of other local delicacies. Marche is famous for its black truffles.  Wow! This vendor had organic chicken liver and truffle pate - you have to taste this to believe it!

Look at the size of these Pecorino and Salami's - we bought some amazing goats cheese Pecorino and the lady was quite insistent that she didn't understand "piccolo". So happily we got more than we wanted and I am thrilled to say she was right.

The village of Gualdo looked wonderful with all the people, the plants and the architecture .  So nice to see so many people enjoying the labours of the local farmers and of course, the local artists. The art was really interesting and very evocative of the local surroundings.

To celebrate the Festival Of Cheese we cooked up our own version of Tagliata Pomodorini.  Fresh wild rocket from the garden, organic tomatoes, Gualdo veal steaks and of course Pecorino from the lady that doesn't understand "Piccolo".  Absolutely glorious way to end a fabulous day in Gualdo. Washed down with a small bucket of Soave of course!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Gualdo Putting its Best Foot Forward

Loads happening in the Village this weekend as it's the Cheese and Art Festival which is an annual event promoting local cheese, Art and of course just a little bit of wine.

The village was teeming with activity this morning and the one thing that really stuck me was the whole community coming together for this event. The square is looking immaculate and has been "dressed" for the occasion. Maria at the coffee shop was bustling around making sure everything was spik-n-span (it always is!) and even Giovanni and Samuela at the bank were getting into the spirit of the occasion.

Its a two day festival and we are going to check out what happens tomorrow and will feed back ( pardon the pun!) Cheese, Art, Music - oh and of course wine.  Lets hope Mother Nature keeps her part of the bargain!

Ecco perché amo il Le Marche!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

How the Bella Vista Doth Change

Well after raving about the Merry Month of May and showing the beautiful views from Cancello Est the temperatures changed.  Last night it got quite chilly and we awoke this morning to freshly frosted mountains but still in shorts and tees around the property.

In Her Majesties Jubilee year had to share the Queen Elizabeth roses that are  putting on a majestic display of their own. ( Do you think they know?)

Monday, 14 May 2012

Yet Another Glorious Day in Paradise

So had to share these photographs - I think May is the best kept secret in Marche. (Did they sing in Camelot bout the Merry Month of May?)  The spring blooms are spectacular and the colour and birdlife is simply wonderful.  It is a feast for any nature and food lover.

Already the markets are abounding with fresh spring produce and  to be honest we are eating and drinking far to much and the weight put on during winter is slipping away. The bonus - our carbon footprint is getting smaller every day as we are really trying to support local produce.

It is wonderful to wake up in the morning to sun filled days and  snow frosted mountains and listen to woodpeckers and the cuckoo welcoming the balmy day ahead. Alarm clocks are so last century!!

This is the morning view from the soon to be Smerillo Suite - imagine stirring from a peaceful nights sleep to be welcomed to the day by this!

Not to be outdone - the Sanarno Suite is another perfect place to witness the beautiful Marche Morning.

Are we blessed or what?

Friday, 11 May 2012

Another Beautiful Morning in Marche

About a twenty minute drive from Cancello Est is the beautiful little village of Fiastra and its wonderful lake. If you are in to birdlife this place will spoil you for choice.  Today we saw Golden Eagles, Hoopoe, Kingfishers, Ravens and Swallows swooping down over the waters.  Magnificent. A great lunch too in the cafe in the village

Monday, 7 May 2012

Really Exciting Finding at Cancello Est Today

Today was a really exciting day.  When we first viewed the property with Francesca,  one of the Natalini family members, we were really impressed with the fresco that adorned the ceiling in one of the bedrooms. (soon to be the San Giovanni Suite)

Francesca told Monica Bruni, our trusted estate agent, that as a child she thought she remembered that there were some Fresci (Italian Friends, please note correct use of the plural) in some of the other rooms but she was not sure as she hadn't been into the house for over 40 years.  This was enough information for us to start some proper research.

Piero Perogio, our architect located Adriana Malpiedi, a fresco specialist who lives in Cessapalombo which is one of the villages quite close to Gualdo. Apparently Adriana has been responsible for a lot of the restoration in many of the local churches.

She arrived, donned a white coat and latex gloves grabbed a spray bottle then disappeared into the ceiling of one of the soon to be guest bedrooms.  We looked on helplessly with fingers crossed and a expectant look on our faces.

And the result was quite astounding.

This is from the Sanarno Suite which will become our honeymoon suite and not only adorns the ceiling  but the walls as well. Adriana indicated that this is 17th century as it was typical of the colors and design used at that time.

This is in the Smerillo Suite, and looks like it contains a Lilly of the Valley motif in pale blues and yellows. Adriana thinks this is of the same period

In the Loro Piceno suite we discovered the walls were painted in this colorful motif and we can't wait to see what else will be revealed when restorations begin.

This is the design from the the Monte San Martino Suite and shows again flowers and vines and is probably late 18th century according to Adriana. Hopefully it will have early Art Nouveau influences that were popular at that time.

So its back to the drawing board with the plans as we want to design the new layout as to not interfere with the Fresci.  Piero says that its not good practice to incorporate them into a bathroom so the challenge that now faces us is where to reposition the ensuite bathrooms so they don't interfere with the art work.  This is a problem for the location of the kitchen too as it appears that this is the most decorated room.  A great problem to have, I guess, just hope it doesn't delay the renovation timetable.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Introducing the new logo for Cancello Est

We are thrilled with the design and colour palate for our new logo - designed by Henk Van Den Berg of DC United in Johannesburg.

It represents the old Eastern Gate to the medieval village of Gualdo. Also known as the sun gate where the sun rises over the Adriatic Sea.  We think it also depicts the magnificent Sibillini landscape and the crisp blue skies and fabulous light that is so typical of this area of Italy.

Sadly the original gate was badly damaged in the earthquake in the 60's and was removed - however the original fortifications of this magical little town form part of our garden terrace and the walls of the cooking school.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

The Project Begins

Well we are off and the process of breathing life into this derelict building has begun.

The house was built in 1625 and is in serious need of a major makeover and some tender living care.  If things go according to plan to we should end up with a seven bedroom boutique guesthouse and cooking school with we think one of the best views in the Marche region.

We will be updating this blog regularly to keep you posted on our developments as we bring Cancello Est into the 21st Century. It may be madness but along the way I man sure we will have a lot of fun experiences to share with you.

The builders move in on Monday - so wish us luck!