Truly in love with Truffles – Dawn’s Story

I must confess before I came to Italy I had never tasted a fresh truffle.  One November evening, years ago, our foody friend, Giampaolo, suggested a trip to the mountains for dinner.  It was truffle season, and he had a friend who had a restaurant who had a cousin who had a friend who had just been truffle hunting the day before.  Ever eager for a new experience we jumped at the chance and into the car. When I enquired about the drive time, Giampaolo had shrugged, smiled and estimated about twenty minutes. An hour and a half later we pulled up outside what I thought was someone’s house. It was really, but they had opened their hearts and dining room to lovers of homegrown, home cooked food.  A family affair, the norm in these parts, Nonna busy cooking in the kitchen, daughter waiting tables and her husband looking serious about wine.

The delicate scent of truffles enveloped the room. The candles flickered and the fire roared, the atmosphere was warm and cosy. I could feel my cheeks glowing and my eyelids drooping……and the rich Amarone wine was going down a treat.

It was a truffle lovers paradise.  Course after course arrived, each one subtly flavoured with fine shavings of fresh truffle. I think there were six courses, but I confess to being in a dream-like state and can’t quite remember. The soup and pasta dishes were wonderful but my favourite…. poached egg with truffle slices scattered on top, so simple, so delicious.

Truffles are weight for weight, one of the most expensive foods on the planet. Luckily, however, a little goes a long way and in Le Marche you can indulge in them without pawning the family silver.

The white truffle is the finest – and the most expensive, tartufi bianchi, and can cost well over €3000 a kilo depending on quality and seasonal abundance. The black truffle comes at a more modest price. If you want to buy them fresh you have to be here between October and the end of December for the bianchi and between December and March for the neri pregiati.

A Few Facts

November is prime truffle time and truffles represent the greatest culinary treasure of the gastronomic area here in Le Marche.  For those who like a little adventure, it is possible to take part in a special truffle hunt with a professional truffle hunter, who finds these underground fungi with the help of his trained dogs.

You will get your shoes dirty following the dog and his master through the woods early in the morning and, if you are lucky enough, you will see the dog furiously digging and the truffle hunter extract the truffle carefully with a special tool. He then covers over the hole in order not to damage the natural spores, and scrapes off the earth from the truffle.

After that you are invited into the kitchen and with the help of a trained chef you can cook or simply taste the  traditional truffle dishes of Le Marche.

Ten Truffle Facts

1) Most truffles rarely grow in the same spot twice and are embedded under the soil, close to roots of holm oaks, chestnut trees, poplars, pines and hazelnut trees.

2) Truffles can be stored for several days in a paper bag in the refrigerator, but the strength of their flavour decreases rapidly with time.

3) Since Roman times truffles have been used in Europe as delicacies, medicines, and even aphrodisiacs.

4) Traditionally, pigs were used to hunt truffles but in Italy their use has been prohibited because of damage caused to the soil. Dogs have now replaced them as they are easier to train. The lagotto romagnolo is the official dog breed for truffle hunting in Italy.

5) Most of truffle hunters are serious about keeping their truffle finds and locations secret.

6) Truffles must be collected at the proper time otherwise they will have little taste. You can buy fresh white truffles in Le Marche between October and the end of December.

7) Truffle hunting can be arranged seasonally for white truffles from September to December.

8) During the last weekends of October Sant’Angelo in Vado in Le Marche hosts the Mostra Nazionale del Tartufo Bianco Pregiato, an excellent chance to taste white truffles and see the town at its best.

9) From the end of October to the first two weekends in November Acqualagna in Le Marche is transformed into Italy’s “truffle capital” as it hosts the annual Truffle Fair.

10) White truffles are perfect to enrich main courses and can be inserted into meats, under the skins of roasted fowl, or stuffings. They are generally served raw, shaved into flakes, adding flavour and fragrance to omelettes rice and fresh homemade pasta. 

If you enjoy new experiences and a wanderlust lifestyle come and visit us here in Le Marche……

For more information on Le Marche and fractional ownership opportunities with Appassionata’s Italian lifestyle brand go to www.appassionata.com , or contact Dawn directly at dc@appassionata.com

Olive Oil – The Essence Of The Italian Diet

Years ago, growing up in England, olive oil was something we used a few times a year when we had guests over to impress. Unless you were prepared to pay a King’s Ransom the olive oil on sale was pretty basic and tasteless.  Fast forward a few years and I treat olive oil the same as wine, with respect and enjoyment. Here in Le Marche, we are blessed to be surrounded by olive groves. The olive tree is a dominant and enduring feature of the Italian landscape, and the months of October and November are spent picking and pressing the olives and trimming the trees.

Appassionata, Le Marche, Italy, Fractional Ownership, Olive Oli, Olives

The olive tree ranges in size from a small shrub to an immense, gnarled tree, spreading it’s branches far and wide. It yields both fruit for eating, as well as a rich prize of precious olio di oliva, the basis of the so-called Mediterranean diet. Olive oil, and especially olio extra vergine di oliva (extra virgin olive oil) is certainly one of the greatest gifts Italy gives to the world. Olive oil is widely considered a superfood, being both very healthy and utterly delicious. No surprise, then, that it fits in so well with today’s modern lifestyles and diets.

A Few Facts

The traditional production of this trendy modern superfood has changed little since time immemorial and essentially remains a very simple process. The olives are harvested and ideally taken to the frantoio – the olive oil mill – as quickly as possible. The first phase is known as la frangitura whereby the whole olives are ground to a paste. 

In the old style traditional frantoio, this was done utilising slowly revolving granite and stone millstones. Then the ground olive paste was layered into straw or fibre mats placed on top of each other in a press. Extra virgin oil would come from la prima spremitura fredda,  the first cold pressing, whereby under gentle pressure, the liquid was extracted from the olive paste. This liquid consisted of both oil and water contained within the olives. The liquids had to be separated and this was normally achieved either by using a centrifuge or simply by decanting.

Appassionata, Le Marche, Italy, Fractional Ownership, Olive Oli, Olives

In modern state of the art frantoi, technology is now used to make sure we get the best possible product.  Producers have full control of the whole process, modern machines are used, leaving no room for a second pressing. In modern systems the label “first press” is often more of a marketing tool than a real reflection of the production methods.

In both cases, the old style frantoi and the modern ones, the olive oil produced after these important phases is unfiltered olio extra vergine d’oliva, extremely low in oleic acid (by law less than 1%) and traditionally stored in large earthenware urns known as orci or in modern stainless steel containers. Such oil, when made from carefully harvested olives and straight from the frantoio, is undoubtedly one of the greatest and most special food products on earth.

Top Tips

  1. KEEP AWAY FROM THE LIGHT – Extra virgin olive oil should be stored at cool temperatures, away from light and without exposure to oxygen. The oil is happier stored in dark glass bottles or tin containers and always close the bottle as soon as you finish using it. Keep it in a cupboard and it will prolong the taste.
  2. EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL DOES NOT AGE WELL –Check the date on the bottle and make sure you are getting oil produced during the last harvest. Buy only the quantity you might need for the year to make sure you are not stuck with old olive oil when the new oil is out on the shelves.
  3. GREEN COLOUR DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY MEAN TOP QUALITY – The most emphasized characteristics of extra virgin olive oil is often the colour.  It should range between green and yellow. However, a deep green colour does not automatically indicate a better quality oil. The professional olive oil tasters use blue or green coloured tasting glasses so not to influence their final judgment. Focus on taste, smell and acidity levels rather than colour when buying extra virgin olive oil.
  4. FIRST PRESS AND COLD PRESS – Remember that quite often the label “first press” is only a marketing tool and does not really mean that there were two different pressing phases. Extra virgin olive oil must be produced entirely without the use of any solvents, and under temperatures that will not degrade the oil (less than 86°F, 30°C). If it was not produced “cold press” it cannot be extra virgin olive oil. 

Appassionata, Le Marche, Italy, Fractional Ownership, Olive Oli, Olives

10 Reasons To Love ‘Liquid Gold’

  • Olive oil is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats.
  • Contains large amounts of antioxidants.
  • Strong anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Olive may help to prevent strokes.
  • Protects against heart disease.
  • May reduce the risk Type 2 diabetes.
  • The antioxidants in olive oil have anti-cancer properties.
  • Can help treat rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Has antibacterial properties.
  • May help fight Alzheimer’s disease.

A Little Beauty Hack – Olive Oil Hair Mask

One of my favourites…

  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 egg yolk

Just mix together all the ingredients to a smooth paste.  Apply to your hair and leave on for twenty minutes. Wash off with warm water and then apply your favourite conditioner, rinse again, dry and admire.

For more information on Le Marche and fractional ownership opportunities  with Appassionata’s Italian lifestyle brand go to www.appassionata.com , or contact Dawn directly dc@appassionata.com.

Introducing Ascoli Piceno

Ascoli Piceno – a city older than Rome and built around the stunning Piazza del Popolo. This famous piazza is known as the ‘Living Room’ of Italy and what a room it is, surrounded by Renaissance and Gothic Palaces.

The elegant marble floors and walls glisten in the sunshine with shades of milk and honey, transporting you to a bygone era.

Appassionata Ascoli Piceno Le Marche Italy Cafe Meletti Bar

Getting around this beautiful city is easy, just put one foot in front of the other, although I am still in awe of the architecture and constantly bump into people and objects while gazing upwards! As I wander around the town I feel the history seeping into my soul and try and imagine who has trodden this path so many years before me. In every corner of this city, you will stumble across Roman ruins and noble towers, churches and travertine columns, a cultural heaven.

For those of you who like a little more structure to your day, you can choose to partake in an organised walking tour with a local guide. These vary in time, you’re in Italy after all, but usually last between two and three hours and take in all Ascoli’s architectural gems.

Appassionata Ascoli Piceno Le Marche Italy Cafe Meletti Bar

Cafe Meletti & Dustin Hoffman in Ascoli for the filming of Alfredo Alfredo

Tucked away in a corner of the Piazza is the famous Cafe Meletti Bar, named after its founder, Silvio Meletti who first opened its doors to the public in the early 1900’s.

It quickly became the place to be seen, both Ernest Hemingway and Jean-Paul Satre frequented it often.

It has also been featured in many films over the past few years, including ‘Les Dauphins’ and ‘Alfredo, Alfredo’ starring Dustin Hoffman.

Appassionata Ascoli Piceno Le Marche Italy Cafe Meletti Bar

I walk into the bar and gaze upwards, admiring the fresco ceiling and Murano chandelier.  A circular marble-topped table beckons me, I reach into my bag and switch off my phone. This is an experience that needs no interruptions, I pull up a chair, place my order and gaze across the Piazza, soaking up the atmosphere of this very special place.

For lovers of antiques (that’s definitely me )there is a splendid antique market held in Ascoli Piceno on the third weekend of every month. The market is set up in the town’s splendid medieval centre, including  Piazza del Popolo and Piazza Arringa. Selling everything from quality art and chandeliers to rusty old nails and door hinges. It is the perfect opportunity to go browsing for weird and wonderful things with a backdrop of some of the most beautiful architecture and buildings in Italy. This is one of my favourite places to find hidden treasures for our Appassionata homes.

Ascoli Piceno is only a 45-minute drive away from our properties and makes the perfect place for a days outing.

Come and discover Le Marche with Appassionata

A Second Life in Italy Without the Stress: The Appassionata Experience

An article written and published in Italy Magazine by Georgette Jupe | September 21, 2018

Have you ever dreamt about owning a vacation property but couldn’t quite justify the cost, or the day-to-day upkeep? Luckily there are solutions that are alternative to renting that can allow you to have a second home in one of Italy’s most unsung regions without all of the red-tape hiccups that can come with investing in a second home abroad.

Appassionata is a luxury and boutique Fractional Ownership business run by Brit Italofiles Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs and husband Michael in the heart of the beautiful and relaxing Le Marche region of Italy, in a place where life sings to a different tune. Where strolling charming cobblestoned streets and spending hours sipping coffee in a piazza are par for the course. Their well-designed properties are also all within close proximity to Le Marche’s mountains and coastline, and to two local airport to make travel to and fro as seamless as possible making la dolce vita much easier to reach.

But it’s one thing for me to tell you that but what about those who chose to change their lives and actually take the plunge in one of these beautiful luxury homes?

Diane and Mark are in their mid-fifties from South Africa, now based in London for the last thirty years. Both of them are successful businesspeople with two older children who are now embarking on their own vibrant careers.

Like many in similar positions, they always expressed an interest for a second, vacation property but had a hard time finding properties that truly fit their needs. Italy was always foremost in their mind, having spent time in Rome, Florence, Venice and Sicily so they decided to embark on a discovery visit with Appassionata without having ever visited Le Marche previously. The idea of fractional ownership was intriguing but naturally before making any large financial decisions, it was best to see the place in person.

Diane and Mark had a few requirements, namely a high standard of property (needed no renovations) with a garden and swimming pool — and in the case of the house they visited, the tennis court, vineyard and views were an added bonus. An important aspect was to find a place that wasn’t overrun with tourism and filled with predominantly locals.

Location-wise it needed to be sufficiently rural to allow for outdoor activities, but within a close distance to local shops for basic necessities. Lastly, it needed to be large enough to accommodate a group of friends and their children and partners. With this in mind it was time to visit the property.

They flew to Rome and drove to Le Marche, a beautiful drive that offered the first taste of what was to come. They settled in the accommodation that Appassionata owner’s Michael and Dawn Hobbs had arranged for them and instantly integrated into local life, visiting local restaurants and cafes before visiting Casa Leopoldi to inspect the property available. In their words “we found the rooms to be impressively decorated and by the end of dinner on the first night we decided to buy the final share of the property.”

Regarding the concept of fractional ownership this proved to be just the ideal situation for Diane and Mark. It enabled them to have all of the benefits of ownership, including a say in how the property was run, without having to deal with the daily management of the property itself. Each owner has a 1/10th ownership in the property which they have total control over and are allotted five exclusive weeks a year to use. As stated in The Sunday Times “The expense of buying a holiday home outright, along with the annual running costs seemed crazy, when you may only use the house for an average of 40 nights a year. – That is why Appassionata was born!”

They knew that any second property would be standing empty most of the year and renting it out to strangers would allow tenants who did not necessarily feel an attachment to the property as they did. The fact that there were only a small number of owners meant that there was a “family” feeling among the other buyers who all shared a common interest in maintaining the quality of the property.

Also attractive was the fact that the weeks set every year are not set in stone. allowing them to visit the area in a range of seasons. Due to the way the system works, if other owners aren’t using their weeks, that opens that time up to anyone who wants to use it.

Mark also sits on the board of the company as one of the owner representatives who meet for board meetings to stay involved with the management company during the year regarding matters of running the property.

I asked him how he typically spends a day in Le Marche to give us an idea of someone’s normal routine. He said “We normally start the day by going on a walk to the village to buy bread from the bakery or down the street to a local farmer for vegetables. If we are feeling particular energetic they swim in the pool or run by the beach before breakfast.” Something they often do is head to Cupra Marittima to rent bikes at Carlito’s bike shop to cycle at the seafront before heading to one of the many seaside restaurants for lunch. “In the late afternoon, we play tennis before heading to the village for an aperitivo before dinner at home for an evening barbecue.”

I also spoke to America-based Deborah of Italian descent who despite living in the states kept the beloved traditions of her Italian relatives alive. Her and her husband are working professionals who love travel and come often to Italy. Deborah explained to me over email “I felt a deep connection to Italy most of my life. As a young girl, I was fascinated watching Italian movies with actress Sophia Loren and my biggest dream was to one day own a home in Italy.”

Their intrigue for Le Marche was ignited after reading an article about Appassionata that made them ponder, could this be the solution for us?

As you may have predicted, as soon as they arrived in this often-overlooked region, the landscape was the first catalyst that took their breath away.

Deborah explained “Where else can you travel from the mountains through the rolling hills to the Adriatic Sea in less than an hour, the authenticity of this beautiful place is really what created such a hold on me”

This region indeed is one of Italy’s best kept secrets where one can swim in the blue sea, hike the rugged mountains and stumble upon so many charming medieval hilltop villages and hidden places carved into ancient stone.

Deborah was also won over by the seamless solution to own a luxury property for a fraction of the price. One of her initial concerns was an eye for interior aesthetics, something that she well appreciates in her home in Le Marche that Appassionata-owner Dawn has lovingly decorated. Her eye for detail is one of the reasons that the shares in these properties typically sell rather quickly. Dawn spent ages working hard with local artisans to make sure every single room was unique, with no small detail overlooked.

Mod-cons like a washer and dryer and other high-end appliances were an attractive bonus along with three attractive terraces with sweeping vistas of the countryside.  As Deborah says “If you look closely on a nice day, you can even spot the Adriatic Sea in the distance.”

Additionally, one of the biggest hurdles they had before while house searching was the idea of owning a home but not being able to regularly maintain the day to day works, this making Appassionata’s full daily management of the property especially attractive for their needs.

“Appassionata meticulously maintains the property through the year so that when we arrive we can immediately embrace “vacation mode” with no worries. Everything is in full working order when we arrive and we can even have a stocked refrigerator if we arrange in advance” Deborah says.

I asked what else Deborah appreciated about local life in Le Marche as for me. She replied “It is a wonderful experience to just throw open the windows and watch the local residents going about their day, chatting over morning coffee and freshly-baked pastries or just taking in the delicious smells wafting from our neighbor’s cooking on Sunday afternoons. Not to mention the sound of church bells chiming in on the hour.”

They felt the warmth of the village and welcomed by other residents, helping them to fit into the fabric of local life. Deborah continues with “Needless to say, we have a fun, active social life in Le Marche.”

I asked her to explain how she spends a day in her village to which she replies “our days can be whatever we want them to be. Luxuriating at home, doing nothing or enjoying a glass of wine overlooking a beautiful vineyard. We may visit one of the many medieval villages and towns and choose between the sea and the mountains. The food and wine here is absolutely sublime. One can choose to dine under the stars at a gourmet restaurant or at a more casual seaside chalet.”

She finished with “For my family, the entire Appassionata experience has been the best decision we’ve ever made, rejoicing in “La Dolce Vita” year after year.

Fractional ownership is fast becoming the smartest way to enjoy the benefits of owning a luxury holiday home in Italy at a fraction of the cost of buying a holiday home outright, learn more about Appassionata’s properties in Le Marche and contact them to arrange your discovery visit today!

Who falls in love ……. with Le Marche

Who falls in love ……. with Le Marche

This is a question I have been asked many times over the past few years.  While I don’t like to generalise, the common theme is people who want to experience real Italy, immerse themselves in the culture and history, value the importance of family and of course the great cuisine!

For our family, for our business, Le Marche is the perfect place.  Trying to find some authenticity in this crazy, busy world is getting more and more difficult.  Sometimes we just need to escape the chaos and experience something real and true.

Le Marche prides itself on being quintessentially Italian and that’s what people fall in love with, and it still remains one of Italy’s best kept secrets.

A Leader or Follower?

There are some people who are leaders, they are adventurous and like to make their own discoveries, each day is exciting and they have a thirst for knowledge.  Some people are followers, they go where others have been and see what others have seen.  They like to travel the well trodden path.

Most visitors to Italy travel to the main tourist cities like Rome and Florence and bask on the beaches along the Amalfi Coast.  These places are amazing and definitely worth a visit, but does this give you a true insight into the real Italy?

For those of us who really like to get under the skin of a country and integrate with the locals rather than be surrounded by thousands of tourists, Le Marche is the place. I prefer to hear the beautiful tones of the Italian language being spoken while drinking my early morning coffee, rather than my mother tongue.

Picture a place where mountains roll gently down to a stunning coastline of blue flag beaches, dotted with restaurants serving the catch of the day.

A patchwork vista really does exist here, a blend of olive groves and vineyards and fields of sunflowers shimmering in the sun ….. sometimes I feel like I’m driving through a film set. Generation after generation have farmed the land for hundreds of years, growing produce for their family or selling it onto the local shops and restaurants.

This is a region brimming with ancient churches, abbeys and monasteries.  Tiny village theatres, with fresco ceilings and gold leaf mouldings are found tucked away along the cobbled streets of virtually every medieval village.  I have had the great privilege of watching many productions over the past years and I often have to pinch myself that I’m not in Covent Garden.  I’m sitting in a tiny, exquisite, eighty seat theatre, built hundreds of years ago in a hill top town in Le Marche, but the standard, the professionalism and the dedication is the same

How Do You Spend Your Time?

I like to stay busy, which is good as I have four children, two grandchildren, four rescue horses, two rescue dogs, and six cats, and I work…..

Whatever your interests and passions there are so many possibilities here.

It’s All About the Experience

Here is a brief snap shot of our down time in Le Marche.

Monday evening was magical, sitting under the stars in the piazza of the museum, Polo Museale di San Francesco, in the town of Montefiore dell ‘Aso, watching an old Italian movie L’Albero Degli Zoccoli. This museum dates back to 1264 and the painting Polyptch by the famous artist Carlo Crivelli is the centre piece.

Sergio, the owner of Osteria della Cornacchie, one of our local restaurants, kindly invited our family over for dinner on Tuesday as a thank you for being one of his best customers. He is famous for his sense of humour, and polenta served on a wooden board. Italians travel for miles to taste this speciality and enjoy the great atmosphere.

Early to bed on Wednesday evening, as we had a 4.30am alarm call on Thursday morning.  A sunrise concert performed by the violinist Valentino Alessandrini, down on the beach in the seaside town of Pedaso. The music, the setting, everything was totally breath taking. The waves crashing against the rocks added to the emotion of this very special occasion. It was certainly worth the early start and I will definitely be returning again next year.

Friday is the day I love to cycle along the promenade, which runs for miles alongside the beach. I pull over for a cappuccino, chat to the locals and browse the local market in San Benedetto.  I can never resist stopping off for lunch in Grottamare at one of the best seafood restaurants in the world,  Il Grecale.

Saturday evening…… this was something I have always wanted to experience, La Cena in Vigna, dinner in the vines.  One of our local cantina’s, Dea Flora, organised a wonderful evening of food, wine and live music.  A magical setting, with shooting stars lighting up the night sky.

Our philosophy is to celebrate and share the very best Italy has to offer, without compromise.

Carpe Diem

To find out more about the magic of Le Marche and our luxurious holiday homes, please contact me.

Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs – co founder of Appassionata

www.appassionata.com

dc@appassionata.com

tel 0044 (0)7951674916

 

The Business of Fractional Ownership with Appassionata.

The Business of Fractional Ownership with Appassionata.

Fractional Ownership is a successful, growing concept, but few people really understand exactly what it means, or the benefits it offers those of us wanting a holiday home.  It is frequently confused with timeshare, conjuring up a very negative view of being chased down the street in Marbella by an over enthusiastic salesman inviting you to enjoy a liquid lunch and sign on the dotted line!

Fractional Ownership was developed to create a more secure and reliable solution for those wanting to share ownership of a luxurious item.

The key to Fractional Ownership is ‘ownership’; you own a share of the property in perpetuity, with the right to sell at any time.  Timeshare is all about ‘time‘, you have the right to use the property for only a short period each year, normally a week, but without ownership in the freehold asset. Timeshare is likely to reduce in value over time. Appassionata owners have undertaken several re-sales on behalf of owners over the last few years, achieving an average return of over 10% on the total value of shares sold.

“Fractional ownership with Appassionata was a much more pragmatic approach to owning a home in Italy. The properties are meticulously restored and fractional ownership was the solution to all of the expense and hassle of overseas home ownership.” 

Victor & Sandra Jason – Owners USA

Ownership with Appassionata- means owning a luxury property which is professionally managed and maintained throughout the year. The ten owners split the annual running costs between them. Financially this makes good sense. On average a holiday home owner only uses their property for 40 days each year, but have to pay for the entire year.

Appassionata owners are all pretty savvy. They often have the resources to buy a property outright, but don’t want the financial burden and stress. They know they haven’t got the free time to use it all year.

With Fractional Ownership you arrive and everything is ready for you to start your holiday immediately….. sound perfect?

Appassionata are a delight to deal with and the reason that everything works so incredibly well. Friendly, helpful, professional and most of all passionate about their work.”

Joanne Evans-Webb – Owner/Dubai

Fractional Ownership provides a modern solution to owning a holiday home. It’s makes more sense having a group of people share the running cost of the property and the house to be fully used throughout the year. It breathes more life into local communities having a property consistently used, adding to the rich culture and diversity of the local area by developing long term relationships with the local people.

It is a given that the legal structure for Fractional Ownership must be robust. The legal structure must protect the owners and the property, providing a simple and transparent way for the property to be managed. The Appassionata structure is secure, tried and tested.

Appassionata sells 1/10th shares in each of their properties, owners have exclusive use of their house during their 5 weeks of annual residency. Residency is booked in September for the following year, and gives all owners real choice and flexibility, with the opportunity to experience different times of the year.

To experience the quality and uniqueness of Appassionata  properties or to find out more information please get in touch and we can arrange a discovery trip to Le Marche.

“The expense of buying a holiday home outright, along with the annual running costs seemed crazy, when you may only use the house for an average of 40 nights a year.

” The Sunday Times”

Enjoy the luxury of owning an Italian home, to share with family and friends.

www.appassionata.com

info@appassionata.com

 

 

 

 

 

Agostini Olive Oil – 100% made in Le Marche, Italy

The history of Agostini olive oil is a story of passion, tradition and excellence. A story that began in 1945, a business handed down from father to son, today, in its third generation. The Agostini company has created a unique olive oil, ensuring the highest quality and an unforgettable taste.
The Agostini Olive Mill has been nominated as one of the 200 best olive oil mills in the world, by the prestigious food sector magazine Der Feinschmecker. They are multiple gold medal winner in Italian and international competitions.
The company is located in Petritoli, in the Marche Region of Italy. Nestled between the Sibillini Mountains and the Adriatic Sea, where the air is pure and fresh, and the climate is ideal for olive trees.
In Le Marche the culinary heritage of oil dates back from the ancient Romans. In 1945 Alfredo Agostini started to produce olive oil in a small olive mill. Now, his son Gaetano Agostini is managing the company with his sons Marco and Elia, and his brother Maurizio.
Gaetano Agostini has been able to reproduce the same traditional process to make an extra virgin olive oil.
He personally selects only the finest quality olives. He carefully oversees each single step of the production, to obtain and guarantee a product with authentic quality and taste.
At the Agostini Mill the harvest is done by hand and the pressing takes place within 6-12 hours. First the cold press to allow the final oil a larger amount of natural antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and carotene, important for healthy living.
The passion and the commitment from the Agostini family has resulted in them winning several prestigious awards.
Over the years, their growing dedication to olive oil has made them continue in the direction of key guiding principles: Quality, Sustainability and Innovation with an absolute respect for the Land.
Agostini has embarked upon an Enterprise Project, focusing on sustainability and biodiversity. They believe that the land and its welfare will become the primary interest of our society in the future. An Enterprise based on dignity, of the people and of the land.
They began to implement this idea by starting the production of Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Its application for certification was made 17 years ago, and was promptly acknowledged in 2002 after three years of assessment.
Their main concern was to pursue the ultimate aim and minimize the environmental impact.
In 2010 they decided to abandon the old energy supply systems and focus on Renewable Energy, investing in a solar energy panel system placed on the roof of the olive mill. They chose to use renewable energy without needlessly occupying green space
This also allowed them to become completely energy-independent, while reducing close to zero c

arbon dioxide (CO2) emissions resulting from the use of the traditional energy supply systems.
They also looked at the issue around disposal of the waste products. In 2012 they decided to make a
step further in theminimization of the environmental impact. They installed a machine to extract the “Olive pit granules” from the processing waste. A 100% natural and ecological biomass fuel. In this way they are now able to recover an important and optimal natural source of energy which is usually thrown away.
Here’s our favourite variety from the Agostini Oil Mill, a gold medal winner in both Italy and New York!
Extra Virgin Olive OilSublìmis
Oil extracted in Italy from olives cultivated in Italy.
Variety/Cultivar:: Frantoio e Carboncella.
Harvest Time: October/November.
Max Acidity: 0,3.
Pac: Glass Bottle 0,250 Lt; 0,500 Lt; 0,750 Lt.
Type of Harvesting: Hand-picked.
Extraction System: Continuous Cycle, cold pressing ( within the first 12 hours after the harvesting).
Colour: Green.
Flavor:Intense aroma with strongly grassy hints. It has an intense artichoke taste and light scent of almond and tomato.
Food Pairing: Excellent on grilled meats, legumes soups, bruschetta and on all dishes enhancing the rich taste of mediterranean cooking.
The award winning Agostini Family:
One of our American owners,Debbie Yackal, was so impressed after tasting the oil she now ships and sells it in the US. Please check out her website:
Thank you for your interest in Appassionata and we look forward to sharing our quintessential Italian lifestyle with you.

Discovering Appassionata – An owners perspective……

We love receiving owners testimonials and understanding their motivation about joining the Appassionata family. Thank you Mary Harmon for this tremendous insight.

“Discovering Appassionata

It is a quite interesting and uncanny set of events of how I came to know the properties of Appassionata in Le Marche, and subsequently purchased a share of Il Riposo.

In February 2017,  I purchased a piece of art,  an oil on acrylic, a contemporary heart,  for my upcoming birthday gift to myself.  It was entitled ” Appassionata”.  I researched and found that this is an Italian musical term meaning with heart, with passion and vigor.  Ok, so what does this art piece have to do with a property purchase in Le Marche?  My family is still pondering that one.

For the last couple of years, I had been perusing properties for sale in the Tuscany region of Italy.  My travels had taken me there a few times.  I began to dream of having a small place in Italy not thinking I could really afford it, but one never knows, right?  In those Tuscany visits, I had fell in love with the rolling hillsides, vineyards, wine, food and robust coffee.  I also fell deeply in love with the generous spirit of the people and their love of family.

Imagine my excitement when  the  “Appassionata ” ad popped up on my computer screen out of the blue?  While I am sure that technology tracking was the real culprit, I decided it was providence and made an impromptu decision to journey to Le Marche and check it out.  In 2 weeks, I was on my way, on my adventure to Le Marche.  I got off to a rocky start as my plane arrived late and it was dark when I began the drive from the Ancona Airport to Petritoli, in the last 5 speed stick Fiat for rent at the Hertz counter.

When I arrived, India, the Sales Director, was waiting for me and settled me into the most cozy and quaint medieval apartment I have ever seen.  I snuggled in for a sound sleep in preparation for our tour the next day.

India and I met for fresh coffee before beginning our tour.  As we drove through the countryside with almond and cherry trees in full bloom , I could barely contain my excitement.  Once we reached the Patrignone village and opened the door to a visual display of beauty and love that was clearly displayed in the furnishings and detail throughout, coupled with the natural beauty of the hills, sea and mountains, I could not resist purchasing a share of Il Riposo.

I love the share ownership concept in conjunction with other families, to have access to a wonderful Italian property and share the expense of ownership.  It helped that my family already owns a share of a beach home on BaldHead Island, North Carolina in the USA that we have had for many years, so I easily understood how it all works.

Owning a share of Il Riposo is the very best!”

Mary Harmon, USA

Sharing & Caring on Holiday

Sharing & Caring on Holiday

When our four children were young I frequently used the phrase sharing and caring. Share your possessions with your siblings and friends.  Watch someone else experience joy and happiness from something that is dear to you.  It shows you care. I’m not saying it’s easy. Try explaining that to a three year old, clutching their favourite toy. It can be quite a challenge!

Hopefully it was good advice.  Our children have  grown up to be thoughtful, kind and caring adults.

Appassionata was created around the same principles. We immerse ourselves into the caring Italian culture, grounded by strong family traditions. Small communities caring for each other. Old and young cared for by their own families, often sharing the same home.

Appassionata is a boutique, family business. We buy, restore, furnish and sell shares in luxury properties in Le Marche for a limited few. Ten owners share the purchase cost and all running costs of their home for five exclusive weeks each year. All the boring legal work has been done, by us. Owners can share their Italian home with family and friends and see the joy others experience from their generosity. Owners don’t have all the worries, work and stress normally associated with owning a holiday home. Appassionata does it all. They arrive, indulge and relax. Many of our owners have celebrated special occasions in their Italian home.  Sharing memories and precious time together. Italy brings families together. We care about our owners and make sure everything is perfectly prepared for their next visit

Appassionata want to share this beautiful region of Italy and take care of you. 

Appassionata properties are occupied throughout the entire year, and this constant flow of people helps support local businesses. Owners are given a warm welcome in the shops, bars, cafes and restaurants each time they return. Many of them become friends.

Our owners can also interact with each other, sharing their favourite restaurants, wines, beaches and designer outlets!

We currently have a few shares remaining in our fourth property, Il Riposo. An elegant three storey, four bedroom villa. Nestled within the beautiful medieval borgo of Patrignone. Ideally situated between blue flag beaches and the Sibillini mountains.  There is certainly plenty to share amongst loved ones.

We invite you to come and visit us and see why we care so much about this hidden gem in Italy.

Please contact India Hobbs Mauger for more information

www.appassionata.com

email – info@appassionata.com 

Phone – 0039 331 5413225

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Rolling out Recipes’ from Le Marche – Spaghetti alle vongole

‘Rolling out Recipes’ from Le Marche – Spaghetti alle vongole

Here’s one of our favourite recipes, probably because it’s quick, easy and delicious!

Spaghetti alle vongole

Spaghetti with clams and cherry tomatoes

This is a light, fresh and yet full flavoured pasta dishes so frequently served along the coast.  Small clams are usually used for this recipe.

The spaghetti remains in bianco (without a tomato sauce).  The cherry tomato halves are tossed into the pan at the last minute to heat them through.

 Here we go –

 Serves 6

  •  1 kg (2lb 4oz) small, fresh clams
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil plus a little extra
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small dried red chilli, crumbled
  • 1 medium bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup of white wine, plus a glass for drinking while cooking!!)
  • 500 g (1 lb 2oz) spaghetti
  • 200 g (7oz) ripe cherry tomatoes, halved

Soak the clams in lightly salted water for a few hours.  Change the water frequently and drain in a colander to get rid of any sand.  Rinse and drain well.

Heat the olive oil in a large wide stockpot.  Add the garlic, chilli and half the parsley.  When you begin to smell the garlic, add the clams and the white wine.  Turn up the heat to high, put a lid on, and cook for 5 minutes or until the clam shells have opened.

Remove from the heat and discard any clams that have remained tightly closed.  Remove about half of the clams from the shells, discard the shells and return the clam meat back to the pan.  Leave the rest of the clams in their shells.

Cook the spaghetti in boiling, salted water.  While the spaghetti is cooking, add the cherry tomatoes to the clam pan and season with salt and pepper. Return to the heat for a few minutes to heat through.  Drain the spaghetti when it is ready and add to the clam pan, toss with a pair of tongs.

Coat the clams with the liquid from the clams.  Put into individual pasta bowls, sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve immediately, with a drizzle of olive oil.

Fabulous with a slice or two of fresh bread to dunk and a glass of Passerina to drink!