Coming from New York City, the small town of Monterado in the Ancona province of Italy is not the first place you would expect us to plant our roots; yet it was familiar, with Chris doing his culinary training just a few miles away. Located in the Marche region of Italy, just 15 minutes from the beach resort town of Senigallia, the often overlooked yet beautiful area has a landscape with a bit of everything ranging from snow capped mountains, lush green flowing hills and descending right into the crystal clear Adriatic Sea. To those that don’t know, you might even think you were in Tuscany, only without the ever-present effects of frenetic tourism.
The culture in this area, as it is in most of Italy, is based on truly respecting the land by using it to its maximum capabilities. The daily fresh catch arrives early morning from the fishing boats, with a bounty of shellfish, swordfish and even local tuna. Only the freshest seasonal produce finds its way to local farmers markets scattered through the small hillside towns. Local salumi, like those from Fabriano, pair perfectly with the king of cheeses in Le Marche, Pecorino, with many artisanal varieties studding the shops. To say the options are plentiful would be an understatement.
The ability to take part in a process so basic yet necessary is a far cry from our old city life, where everything was just a card swipe away, but the rewards make you feel like you’re a part of something that is pure.
Nestled at the base of a small valley is our family run business and home, where we find joy using local, traditional methods of producing organic olive oil, quality wine and seasonal preserves.
The 15-acre land is broken into three parts, the first being a 2 acre olive tree farm. Over 300 young trees (about 25 years old) produce a variety of different olives including the Leccino, Frantoio and Pendolino. The remaining olive trees, about 30 ancient trees ranging in ages from 250 to 400 years old, produce the small yet flavorful Mignola olive. The oldest olive tree on our land is over 450 years old! We got a kick out of nicknaming the tree ‘Ol’ Faithful.’
The vineyard itself spans 8 acres of land and is home to four red grape varieties: Sangiovese and Montepulciano, two of Italy’s most noted, and two French powerhouses, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. 500 newly planted Chardonnay vines are a welcome addition to our Pinot Bianco, which is used to make our sparkling Methodo Classico.
Our seasonal preserves are made from over 40 different organic fruit trees, which include apricot, fig, plum and Asian pear amongst many others. We also are dedicated to incorporating different herbs such as rosemary and lavender that grow wild around the property. Adjacent to the fruit orchard are about 30 walnut trees, which truly look like an enchanted Disney forest. Stay tuned for how we will incorporate walnuts into our offerings…