Welcome to the first Italian Food and Flavours
Le Marche Sunday Quiz
So how much do you know about Le Marche? We thought it would be fun to have an occasional Sunday “Le Marche” quiz to test yourself on your knowledge of different aspects of this beautiful and historic italian region, and maybe find out something new.
In future Sunday posts we hope to have questions about famous people, history, architecture, natural features and a few other things Le marche related but this first one is all about the art of Le Marche.
If you have a good quiz question you would like to add please let us know and we will be sure to include it in a future Sunday quiz.
And if you enjoy the quiz do please share it with your friends.
See how well you know your Le Marche art.
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Question 1 of 10
There were of course four famous Renaissance “ninja turtles” but did you know that one of them was born in Le Marche? And do you know which one?Correct
Well done! Raphael, full name – Raffaello Sanzio – was born in 1483Incorrect
not quite it is Raphael, full name – Raffaello Sanzio – was born in 1483
He is the only one not from Florence
Question 2 of 10
Yes Raphael was born in Le Marche. But do you know in which town?Correct
Well done, and, for a small fee, you can visit the house where he grew up, its now a small museum on the main street in UrbinoIncorrect
Sorry no, it is Urbino for a small fee, you can visit the house where he grew up, its now a small museum on the main street
it is the most northerly town on the list
Question 3 of 10
This magnificent and massive (it is over 2 metres high) picture was painted by Carlo Crivelli in 1486. Crivelli was perhaps the most important painter working extensively in Le Marche during the Renaissance, he lived here most of his working life though he was born in Venice. The painting depicts the annunciation and commemorates the partial independence granted by the vatican of a Le marche city. But which city is represented in this painting?.Correct
You can see other paintings by Crivelli in Ascoli and elsewhere in Le Marche but unfortunately (or fortunately depending where you live) this amazing painting is no longer here. In the next question you will find out where it is now.Incorrect
You can see other paintings by Crivelli in Ascoli and elsewhere in Le Marche but unfortunately (or fortunately depending where you live) this amazing painting is no longer here. In the next question you will find out where it is now.
There is a clue to the city in the picture. The model in the hands of the cardinal is of the city in question, which if you look closely has a number of tall watch towers – now where have you seen those before?
Question 4 of 10
So since this Carlo Crivelli’s great work Annunciation with St. Emidius (1486) is not in Le Marche, where is it?Correct
And its free to get in so next time you are in London put in on your list of things to see, you will not be disappointed, it’s a fantastic paintingIncorrect
nearly, it is in fact in The national Gallery London and its free to get in so next time you are in London put in on your list of things to see, you will not be disappointed, it’s a fantastic painting
it is free to get in
Question 5 of 10
You knew of course that Le marche has its own “National gallery” and that is is in the magnificent Ducal Palace in Urbino. The palace is the ideal setting for a gallery of such importance and the jewel in its crown is the Flagellation of christ painted by Piero della Francesca sometime between 1555 and 1560. This painting was thought by Kenneth Clark (of “Civilisation” fame) to be “the greatest small painting in the world”. Piero della Francesca was one of the most important of all Renaissance painters and he worked in Le Marche from 1569 – 1586. But at the time Piero was almost as famous for another skill, do you know what else he was remarkably good at?Correct
Yes. Piero della Francesca was renowned throughout Italy for his work on mathematics and specifically in the field of measured perspective. Indeed many other artists learnt how to work in perspective from his treatise. Look carefully at the floor in the room on the left of the picture and you can see how it would be possible to recreate this exact space in the real world.Incorrect
Ah, no it is everybody’s favourite – Mathematics, Piero della Francesca was renowned throughout Italy for his work on mathematics and specifically in the field of measured perspective. Indeed many other artists learnt how to work in perspective from his treatise. Look carefully at the floor in the room on the left of the picture and you can see how it would be possible to recreate this exact space in the real world.
what did you hate at school?
Question 6 of 10
Here is another painting by Piero della Francesca. but who is the man in shining armour kneeling at the front?Correct
Well done. and there is more about the Duke in the next questionIncorrect
afraid not it is Duke Federico da Montefeltro and there is more about the Duke in the next question
he is the only one from Le Marche
Question 7 of 10
Old Big Nose.
When we took our children around the Ducal Palace in Urbino many years ago we told them to see how many pictures of the great soldier and Duke, Federico da Montefeltro they could find. This one is perhaps the most famous probably because it was painted by Piero della Francesca. For some reason the kids christened Federico “Old big nose” and they have never forgotten him. The interesting thing about all the paintings of Frederico is that he is always painted in profile.
Yes well done, and did you also know that frederico apparently had the “notch” at the top of his nose cut out so he was able to see to the right with his left eye, important for a soldier!Incorrect
Missed this one it was a lance that took his eye out and did you also know that frederico apparently had the “notch” at the top of his nose cut out so he was able to see to the right with his left eye, important for a soldier!
it involved horses
Question 8 of 10
As well as great art on the walls in the Ducal palace in Urbino, some of the walls themselves are great art. Duke Federico da Montefeltro had the all walls of his private study covered from floor to picture rail in remarkable trompe l’oeil designs all done in a rather unusual material. But do you know what that material was?Correct
Well done, and if you get a chance to visit look out for a ruler on a “shelf”. if you keep your eyes on it as you walk past it always stays in correct perspective. If you work out how this is done please let me know as I have no idea!
the technique is called Intarsia
Question 9 of 10
Another impressive and important Renaissance painter who worked in Le Marche was Lorenzo Lotto. While some of his work can be rather melodramatic and a little “kitch” for today’s taste his masterpiece the Altarpiece of San Domenico (1508) is exceptional both for its architectural contrivances the incredible attention to detail (each link in the suit of chainmail is painted individually) the expressive portraits and all of the individual elements that make up the whole. The altarpiece is on display alongside Lotto’s Annunciation which is another beautiful and outstanding work, well worth the effort of getting to the museum.
But where in Le Marche can you see these two wonderful masterpieces?Correct
Well done. and you can get a sneak preview of the museum here.Incorrect
afraid not, the answer is Recanati and you can get a sneak preview of the museum here.
The museum is called Villa Colloredo Mels and it is not far from Loreto
Question 10 of 10
There is a lot of great and famous art in Le Marche but you dont have to go to the big cities and expensive museus to see wonderful renaissance art in Le Marche. This painting is quite exquisite and is not very far from us at Italian Food and Flavours but do you know where?Correct
Well done, and if you would like to know more about this fine painting and the church where you will find it, read a blog post all about it hereIncorrect
Whoops, it is in fact Cossignano and if you would like to know more about this fine painting and the church where you will find it, read a blog post all about it here
it’s the town where Italian Food and Flavours is based
Turbot, asparagus and courgette
Turbot, asparagus and courgette is a lovely combination of light and delicate flavours and with the addition of traditional Le marche deep fried zucchini, there is the added interest of the crisp texture of the courgettes.
Nowhere in Le Marche is far from the Adriatic and arguably the best fish is brought ashore in the southern port of San Benedetto del Tronto. We are based just 30 minutes from San Ben and while that is a bit of a drive for fresh fish we have discovered a fantastic fish supermarket that specialises in freezing fish straight from the boats as well as preparing a wide range of fresh fish dishes in their own kitchen. The interesting aspect to the freezing is that the whole fish are glazed, this apparently means that the fish suffers little or no dehydration. As it thaws the glaze comes off in sheets of ice and it is difficult to tell the difference from a thawed glazed fish from a fresh one. Whatever the effect, these fish are as delicious as any I have tasted.
For this recipe one medium sized Turbot serves two. The Turbot is filited – a proper filleting knife that bends through 90 degrees is pretty much essential for this job – and simply pan fried in a mix of butter and oil (not olive)
The asparagus is cooked in a little boiling water – just enough to cover and served with butter.
The courgettes though need a bit more attention. First cut the ends off and then cut in half. with each half slice 4 sides off to make a chunky square profile. Then cut these sections into chips about 5mm thick. put the chips in a colander and salt well.
Leave for a hour or longer for the salt to draw out moisture. now rinse salt off the courgette chips and dry them on kitchen roll – they need to be good and dry. Now drop them in a bowl of plain flour and toss them in a sieve over the bowl until they are all separate and coated in flour. Then drop carefully into hot oil – 200C – remove with a wire spoon once they colour, about 1/2 mins. drain on kitchen roll and serve immediately.
torta di mele: apple cake recipe
I remember a school trip around the Peak District in Derbyshire when I was about eight or nine. On the itinerary was a last stop for “high tea”. I had no idea what this entailed and to be honest still don’t quite know the difference between high and afternoon tea. Despite having spent quite some time in Italy where of course coffee is the drink of choice the idea of tea and cake on a sunny afternoon is an English tradition I still hanker after.
Now dont get me wrong, I am sure there are some delicious Le Marche cakes out there but the ones I have tried are a tad dry for my taste so we have had to adapt and this apple cake recipe from Maryberry, it uses the traditional italian ingredients for the “pasty” mix but the addition of apple adds moisture and creates a cake that is perfect for afternoon tea, or breakfast, or after dinner or…
- 225g self-raising flour
- 1 level tsp baking powder
- 225g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 150g butter, melted
- 250g cooking apples, peeled and cored
- 25g flaked almonds
- Beat the the the flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, almond extract and melted butter together for a minute or so. spread half the mix on the bottom of a cake tin - 20cm spring sided best - lined with buttered grease-proof paper. layout the cut apples and cover with the rest of the mix and sprinkle the flaked almonds on top. cook for about an hour and a half.
Italian Food and Flavours
Sweet cucumber and red onion pickle
This sweet cucumber and red onion pickle recipe is quick and easy to make and you can eat it the same day, just leave it for the flavours to mingle for a few hours, but it also lasts several weeks in a sealed jar in the fridge. The red from the onion will bleed into the vinegar after a few days which makes it look even more impressive though it doesn’t change the flavour much. Great for this time of year when you have cucumbers coming out of your ears – literally!
Ok well not literally then. This one of those times when it is worth getting the slicing gadget out of the cupboard to add to your food processor if you are not so good thinly and evenly slicing with a very sharp knife. Have a couple of smallish sterilised preserve jars ready.
Sweet cucumber and red onion pickle
- 1 kg cucumber
- 3 red onions
- fresh dill or fennel, to taste
- 250g white sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 200ml vinegar, cider or white wine
- peel the cucumber and slice thinly, cut the onions in half and slice thinly, make sure onion rings all fall apart. Toss them together with the chopped dill or fennel. mix the rest of the ingredients in a jug and pour over. pack the pickle in the jars and turn them over a couple of times to make sure it is all mixed up. turn the jars again over the next few hours.
- This is a delicious pickle to serve with pecorino cheese, salami and good crusty bread for a perfect spring or summer lunch.
Fava beans recipe
This fava beans recipe is a perfect antipasti dish for a warm spring evening, the mix of flavours is something special. Serve on its own or on some good toasted bread with a glass of chilled prosecco.
The first fava (broad beans) are now ready in the gardens here and they are ideal for this recipe as it needs light crisp and sweet beans. it can be made with older beans but they will need longer cooking and will have to be removed from the hard shell that forms as they get older. So to save the faff use the young fresh beans that are available now.
Whether it is eating this dish here in the Marche that makes it so delicious, or whether it would taste good anywhere I don’t know but if there is one dish that sums up this region this is it. The ingredients reflect the provence; with anchovies from the adriatic just 20k away, fava beans and fennel from the garden, local capers and olive oil and mature pecorino cheese from the mountains 30k in the other direction, this is dish made in le Marche.
- 4 anchovy fillets, preserved in oil not salted
- 1 tbls capers
- clove of garlic
- 2 handfulls fava beans
- olive oil
- white wine vinegar
- lemon juice
- grated pecorino
- with a fork mash up the anchovies and capers in a small bowl, mash the garlic in a pestle and mortar and add to the anchovy mix. pour in small glass of oil and good spash of vinegar. make sure they are good quality, grind in a little pepper but no salt. this mix will benefit from being allowed to stand for 30 mins or so in the fridge but you can press on if you dont have time. Cook the beans in already boiling water for 3 minutes or until they are just tender. Drain and mix the hot beans in with the anchovy paste, making sure everything is well coated. Pile the beans on a serving plate and squeeze the juice from half a lemon over before topping with a handful of grated pecorino and finally a last drizzle of olive oil.
- This dish is wonderful warm as the beans absorb all the amazing flavours and the residual heat brings everything to the fore on your tongue, but I am told it is also good cold. Personally I have never had any left over to try.