Wednesday, February 27, 2008

UNISG in the Marche

27 feb
We were pleased to welcome the students from the UNISG campus in Pollenzo to Nascondiglio di Bacco yesterday. They are spending almost 2 weeks in the Marche to study wine, cheese, apples, olives, fish, anisette and a plethora of other local products. I first found out they were here from our slow food friend Nelson, from Comunanza, and was able to attend a lecture series on a rare apple in the zone called Mele Rosa. If I need a sideline, I now know how to train and prune the trees to maximize production. Unfortunately, here at Nascondiglio, we are a bit out of the preferred growing zone, so this week we planted instead, 2 cherry trees, a lemon tree, a mimosa and various herbs and other decorative plants . You can find out more about this apple and other of the world's endangered food products at the link from this blog which is titled "Slow Food" and explore the Presidi section.
I have finished pruning 90 of our olive trees of 104. An equipment problem gave me an excuse to postpone the last dozen or so.
Instead, I spent a day with the undergrad students of the university as they came to Offida to learn about the wines of Ascoli Piceno. I took them down to see the lacemaking, which is so famous here, and then joined them for their wine tasting and lunch. We took a sidetrip to our place, where we explained the history of our agriturismo and the plans for the future before heading off to the world famous Meletti factory where they make anisette. Their recipe is the same as originally used by the great grandfather and the business is now run by father, brother and son.
It is the only industrially produced anisette using a hot method of extraction of the anise flavor (from seeds grown here in the Marche) wherein an alambic still is filled with pure ethanol to extract the essence from the anise seeds. The byproduct is allowed to age in stainless steel tanks for a minimum of 4 months to amalgamate and soften the flavors. You can buy this in the states, their 2nd biggest market after Italy. Also, if anyone wants to visit the plant, we can make arrangements for a tour and tasting.
Raffaele and I have been making the rounds to various government offices to finalize my visa, the permit for the pool, etc. and hopefully, today at the questura, I will get the last piece to the puzzle which has been my visa application. Then, when all is OK here, I need to return to Chicago, where I am at the mercy of the italian consulate there. Fingers crossed.
We have tentatively set a date of 5-7 March for planting as I am tired of waiting for the rain the agronomist wants. Instead, I picked the dates of the full moon for planting so the inner tides of the rootstock will be in their most ideal state for growing this season! I also plan to howl a bit, put on some feathers and do a dance of some sort or other to the music of Brulee. Anything for my new vines.
Pictures are the newest of Bacco, now over 30 kg I think, the church of Santa Maria della Rocca in Offida in the fog, the students of UNISG in Vinea, our local wine consortium which promotes the wines of the region, the anniversary edition bottle of Meletti anisette and some of the secret ingredients in their product..
A dopo.

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