‘Rolling out Recipes’ from Le Marche.

Over the coming months we want to share a selection of seasonal recipes with you, from the heart of Italy.

Year after year, as the months and ingredients change, so does the family table. We prepare and serve what is in season, strawberries are ready in April, we don’t eat them in December! The earth gives us what we need, oranges and their vitamin C in winter and refreshing watermelons arrive in August.

Ingredients vary, not just seasonally, but monthly. Sometimes subtly, sometimes dramatically. Each month passes and we see a change in the fields. The locals are passionately involved with their surroundings and respect the land. They lovingly sow their crops and naturally reap most of their produce in the summer months.

Some products are ever present, carrots, celery, sage and rosemary, and they form the basis of most casserole dishes.

Here in Le Marche the quality of the ingredients is very important. Dishes are simple and delicious. A piece of meat, grilled and transformed with lashings of local olive oil, a peach eaten off the tree after lunch. The gorgeous artichoke dipped in lemon juice and luminous green olive oil. Tomatoes bursting with the scent of summer.

It’s April and the weather has changed. We are surrounded by flowering fruit blossom. Their beautiful colours reveal the imminent peach and plum harvest.  There is tarragon and rocket and the wonderful arrival of succulent strawberries, which help to rid the body of toxins, accumulated over the winter, with their slightly astringent qualities.

April is the month of spring cleaning and Easter.  Artichokes are now in the fields.  Their tall, solid, lilac crowned stalks stand proudly in smart lines.

This week’s recipe – starting with something simple.

Carciofi RipieniStuffed artichokes, perfect served with roast lamb.

Serves 6

  • 12 medium globe artichokes
  • 1 medium bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 4 garlic gloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 30g (1oz) butter
  • 500ml (2 cups) vegetable stock

Rinse the artichokes and trim the tough outer leaves.

Cut away about a third of the top spear of each artichoke. Cut away the stem completely, in line with the artichoke bottom.

Put each artichoke bottom side up, onto a wooden chopping board.  Push gently against the artichoke with your hand to widen the central cavity of the artichoke.  Using scissors, snip away any top spikes of the internal small leaves.

Mix the chopped parsley and garlic together and divide the mixture between the artichoke cavities and the leaves.

Put the artichokes upright in a high rimmed saucepan, where they can fit in a single layer.  Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and add the stock. Put a knob of butter into each artichoke and bring the stock to the boil. Spoon over a little of the stock, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the artichokes are tender.  Remove the lid and continue cooking to reduce the liquid until only a little remains.

Serve warm, enjoy!

 

 

 

Letters from Le Marche – chapter 3

Letters from Le Marche – chapter 3

Our weekend in Florence was over in a flash and we reluctantly flew back to London Stansted airport. Low grey cloud and drizzle welcomed us with open arms. We drove home through the gloom and heavy traffic.  I was now on a mission to return as soon as possible, my heart was still in Italy…..

I spent my evenings trawling through the internet. Searching properties for sale, contacting agents and familiarising myself with the region.

Four weeks later we returned to explore the area of Tuscany. Beautiful it certainly is but something was missing. We were attracted to Italy, the culture, the lifestyle, the language. Walking around the streets we were engulfed by large groups of tourists and their coaches. We wanted more Italianness, is that an actual word!

We were not down hearted, but more determined to find our perfect place.

I am a great believer in fate. A week later Michael phoned me from work. He had just had lunch with a couple of business associates, one of whom was David Scacchetti, a co-founder and CEO of  Mamas and Papas. He was married to a beautiful girl from Le Marche, in the heart of Italy, and owned a house in Civitanova Alta. Michael had talked to him about our love affair with Italy and our plans to buy a home. David made Michael promise to visit the region of Le Marche before we made a decision. I was intrigued, although I had never heard of Le Marche, David has impeccable taste, it would definitely be worth a visit.

I spent the next couple of hours researching everything I could about the region. The close proximity to both the sea and mountains was a great plus and the air quality would be amazing!

Once I have an idea in my head I’m like a dog with a bone. I wanted to get the ball rolling. By the time Michael returned home that evening I had booked our flights to Ancona. The hotel booking in Pedaso was confirmed and appointments  set up with a couple of agents to view various properties.

A couple of weeks later, clutching maps and a pile of property details we flew into Ancona. We descended the plane steps and I gazed around. Airports are never the most attractive places, but I instantly liked this one. It was small and neat, even I wouldn’t get lost here. I turned to Michael, “it smells lovely here, warm and flowery” he raised his eyebrows and shook his head. To me it was obvious, places have a particular aroma, it’s one of the first things I notice when I arrive somewhere new.

We picked up the hire car and headed to the coast road. The motorway is a much quicker route, but we wanted to explore.

“This is it” I said to Michael. “This is what?” We had been on the road for about thirty minutes, but I knew. A gut instinct, that special connection, when something just feels right. Michael gave me a strange look and we continued our journey. Beautiful white sandy beaches on the left, ancient hill top towns rising up on the right. We stopped for lunch at a beachside restaurant in Civitanova. After a light lunch of fresh mussels and a glass of chilled Passerina, Michael was beginning to agree with me.

We pulled up outside Hotel Villa Ricci in the small coastal town of Pedaso. I always love to stay somewhere which represents the country I’m visiting. I avoid staying in large modern skyscraper hotels. The furnishings are modern and minimalist and often quite boring. Villa Ricci was everything I loved and more. From the moment we walked through the door. Exquisite pieces of Italian antique furniture were carefully arranged on the marble floor. Beautiful crystal chandeliers caught the light of the afternoon sun. Beyond the reception was a large door leading out into an enchanting walled garden with the scent of orange blossom.

An elegant staircase took us up to our first floor bedroom which was just as beautiful. A lovely glazed sun terrace led off the bedroom with views over the Adriatic Sea, bliss.

We unpacked quickly and changed into something a little more summery. We went for a walk, the sea was so close, I needed to be closer. I kicked off my shoes and rolled up my trousers. The water was wonderful, refreshing but not too cold. We walked along the promenade and smiled at the locals, who greeted us warmly.

That evening we had arranged to meet up with one of the agents in our hotel bar. Fabio was half English, half Italian, so language would not be a problem. We arrived early and ordered a bottle of prosecco. We chatted to the barman, in sign language and charades, as he brought over a selection of olives and cheese.

The agent arrived, he was very friendly and knew the area well.  His mother’s family had lived there for generations and he seemed well connected. We discussed in more detail what we were looking for, the classic Italian farmhouse which we would loving restore over time.

We mentioned we were also meeting another agent the following morning to view properties further in land, closer to the mountains. He tried to dissuade us, but we wanted to explore everywhere.

The following day, we drove inland in search of our dream. Amandola and the surrounding villages were lovely, but a little too remote.   I was going to be spending time alone here overseeing the restoration. I didn’t want to feel too isolated and become the mad English woman living in the mountains! It was important to be within walking distance of a town with shops, bars and restaurants. The coast was also an important factor and we felt it was too far away from the water. We didn’t want to be spending long periods of time in the summer driving backwards and forwards to the beach.

The next day we met up with Fabio again to view properties closer to the sea. I had already seen my dream home on the internet a few days earlier. A dilapidated farmhouse with sea views and a fenced off paddock, ready for my horses! We pulled up outside. “I don’t think this is the right house Fabio, where’s the sea view?” He said if we drove a few minutes down the hill and round the bend we could get a glimpse! I focused on the paddock and asked how many acres were included. Fabio shuffled around awkwardly and told me the paddock belonged to the house next door! We spent the following few hours driving around the rolling hills of Le Marche. The views were breathtaking and the sense of stepping back in time was beginning to wash over me. Acres of vineyards and olive groves surrounded us. I felt my shoulders drop, totally relaxed, as I scanned the countryside.

We were taken to see a large pile of bricks and stone in the middle of a field, listed as a partially renovated house! We drove on. Another ‘house’ was eventually found a half mile walk uphill with no road access. The details stated this property needed minor building work, but something was missing, the roof!

I know the agents in England like to exaggerate on the details of the properties they are selling, but here in Italy it was a whole different level!

I tore up the remaining house details I had printed off, took a deep breath and opened my mind to more possibilities.

Michael was flagging so it was time to get him fed and watered in the nearest bar/cafe. I didn’t want him to go all negative and logical.

We stopped off at a beautiful restaurant, Casa de Mar, in Campofilone. Situated right on the coast, with the sound of crashing waves on the rocks and a beer in his hand, Michael was happy. We ordered sea food pasta and a bottle of  pecorino from the local cantina, Centanni in Montefiore dell’Aso. The three of us sat and talked for a couple of hours. We tried to give Fabio a clearer picture of what we wanted, but to be honest, like most people, we didn’t know what we wanted until we saw it. Michael told Fabio that unless Dawn gets that special feeling about a property, we move on to the next. Fabio looked a little perplexed and gave me a nervous smile. With everyone watered, wined and fed we set off again.

We viewed our first occupied house. We were warmly welcomed by a lovely, elderly couple with very few teeth. They proudly showed us round their home, which had been in the family for three generations. We were shown the strawberry plants in the allotment and the oak tree planted by her great grandfather. The bathroom facilities were a little lacking. There was an outside toilet in a shed and inside a shower head was loosely attached to a couple of wall tiles.

It certainly had possibilities but it didn’t have the wow factor.

We drove on, to be honest I had no idea where I was by now, but it didn’t matter, everywhere was beautiful. We were taken to another farmhouse, a promising location, until we stepped out of the car and inhaled. Looking down the valley we saw a long low building. Fabio informed us, rather reluctantly, that it was a pig farm.  We moved swiftly on. The next house we saw was lovely, a complete renovation but it certainly had potential. The owners greeted us and took us into a small out building with a rather interesting aroma. There were glass bottles lined up along a rather lopsided wooden shelf nailed to the wall. The owner opened a bottle and poured out a thick, red/brown liquid into a few plastic cups. Homemade vino cotto he informed us proudly.

Vino cotto, literally means cooked wine and is famous in the Le Marche region. It is a strong ruby-colored wine, usually semi-sweet, and traditionally drunk in small glasses with puddings and cheese.

It is produced from the must of the local grapes, heated in a large copper vessel until reduced to a half or third of its original volume, and then fermented. It can be aged for years and barrels can be topped up with each harvest.

It tasted and smelt a little like sherry and reminded me of my grandmother getting rather tipsy every Christmas. We sipped politely as we took a tour of the house. He was very keen to top up our cups, usually when our backs were turned. After the wine during lunch, the hot sun and the long drive I was beginning to feel a little light headed. I think the plan was to get us drunk and shake hands on the purchase of their home! We thanked them kindly for their hospitality and made a swift getaway to the sanctuary of our hotel…. to be continued.

For more information and to visit us on a discovery trip please contact us at ifh@appassionata.com or +39 331 5413225  

www.appassionata.com

Appassionata for American Owners. Protect your assets and experience the magic of Le Marche.

Appassionata for American Owners. Protect your assets and experience the magic of Le Marche.

Appassionata is a boutique, family run, fractional ownership business set in the heart of Italy.

We are finding more and more US based owners are seeing the benefits of buying into our fractional ownership homes. Not least because of the very favorable exchange rates.

With 30 year highs in the Dollar/Sterling exchange rate, it makes buying in pounds sterling a very attractive option to those holding dollars. In the last 3 years alone there has been a 30% increase in value. A great time to buy.
The world’s economic uncertainty, not least since the US elections, have a great deal of people thinking about asset protection and diversification.

We are constantly looking for the ‘ideal’ use for our money, wanting to have the best of all things: lifestyle enhancement, great value for money and something to pass onto the kids. 

A very select group of Americans have discovered the Italian region of Le Marche and the concept of fractional property ownership with Appassionata. This is quite possibly one of the best ways to diversify your investments while getting the lifestyle benefits of owning a luxury property in Italy, for a fraction of the price.

The AARP magazine considers Le Marche as one of the 5 best places to retire in the world, so it would make sense to consider not only spending more time here but make a lifestyle investment at the same time.

Fractional ownership offers American holiday home purchasers the perfect opportunity to invest in the lifestyle of their dreams on the European continent without any of the potential pitfalls of buying outright. 

The simplicity of Appassionata’s offering in the stunning Le Marche region, is where we believe opportunities in the Italian property market are going to flourish. Not only are property prices 35% lower than neighbouring Tuscany, they are significantly lower than the capital city of Rome. The region offers everything from snow-capped mountains to Blue Flag beaches, interspersed with rolling hills dotted with vineyards and olive groves, and picturesque hilltop towns. The rich lands incorporate 180 kilometres of coastline and the largest number of museums and galleries in Italy. Easy access to all the main cities and multiple airports, makes Le Marche ideally placed. 

Here at Appassionata, we don’t foresee our market slowing down and have just launched our new property.  Il Riposo – ‘The Retreat’ is a unique four bedroom house dating back to the 12th century. Situated in the medieval village of Patrignone the house enjoys open views to the rolling hills beyond and has a private swimming pool sitting within a walled garden. The fractional ownership offered is for a one tenth, five week share in perpetuity, and as the property is held within a UK company your purchase would be in sterling, with prices starting from £95,000 pounds sterling (approximately $118,000 dollars at todays exchange rate) . With over 36 satisfied owners from around the world this proven formula is a compelling solution to purchasing a holiday home in these uncertain times. 

This hidden gem of Italy means that American purchasers can own a share in the property of their dreams, benefit as the property appreciates in value, have the freedom of being able to sell, will, transfer or place the share in a trust at any time. 

And so, while we continue to watch what will happen in the wake of Trump’s election the financially savvy will open their eyes to fractional ownership as a practical and sensible way of owning and enjoying a luxury property overseas; without the hassle, complications and expense associated with full ownership. 

One of our greatest joys is meeting clients from all over the world and introducing them to this very special place. It is wonderful to watch their immersion into Italian life. To experience slow living, to step back time and remember to breathe!

Most of us have experienced life in the fast lane, time passing us by too quickly, but not daring to stop in case we are trampled on in the rush to reach the ever moving finish line!

Appassionata offers you the chance to buy a luxury lifestyle investment to enjoy with your family and friends in the heart of this beautiful country.

For more information and to visit us on a discovery trip please contact India Mauger-Hobbs – ifh@appassionata.com or +39 331 5413225  www.appassionata.com
The Business of Fabulous …… Fractional Ownership

The Business of Fabulous …… Fractional Ownership

 

Fractional Ownership is a growing successful concept, but few people really understand exactly what it means, or the benefits it can give.  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 is not Timeshare. It has some similarities, in that it involves a number of people sharing in the use of a single property, but the similarity ends there.

Fractional Ownership was developed to create a more secure and reliable solution for those wanting to share ownership of a luxurious item. Property, aeroplanes and boats are the most popular, where the share of ownership is generally between 1/12th and 1/4.

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 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 have undertaken several re-sales on behalf of owners, achieving an average return of +12% on the total value of shares sold, a real success in what has been a difficult international property market.

“Fractional ownership in Casa Tre Archi was a much more pragmatic approach to owning a home in Italy. The property was meticulously restored and fractional ownership was the solution to all of the expense and hassle of overseas home ownership.” 

Victor & Sandra Jason – Owners

With Fractional Ownership several buyers collectively own a luxury property which is professionally managed and maintained throughout the year. 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 has to pay for the entire year.

Our 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.

They don’t want the headache of paying for the upkeep and maintenance of all year-round ownership. Some have owned holiday homes before and were fed up of having to maintain the house, cut the grass, clean the pool and fire up the central heating before they have had a chance to kick back, crack open a bottle of wine and enjoy ‘being’ in their holiday home.

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.

Fractional Ownership provides a modern solution to owning a holiday home. It’s much better having a group of people share in the cost of ownership and for 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 community. Really getting the chance to explore and experience a beautiful part of the world on a recurring basis.

Fractional Ownership is not for everyone. If you are planning to live somewhere permanently or spend more than 6 months of the year in the same place, there are perhaps better solutions for you. However, if you want a holiday home, or a home where you can experience the local area before deciding on an outright purchase; or want to buy into a more luxurious property than you can afford, Fractional Ownership is an option you should definitely be considering.

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

With Appassionata you own a 1/10th share of the property which you can sell at any time. The property is owned by a UK company where you are a 10% shareholder. You have exclusive use of the house during your 5 weeks of annual residency.

To experience the quality of our Fractional Ownership properties or to find out more information please get in touch and we can arrange a discovery visit 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. – That is why Appassionata was born!” The Sunday Times

Published by Michael Hobbs, Appassionata Limited