Today, we have the gorgeous town of Campofilone, the birthplace of Maccheroncini, and a great local pasta factory (Pastificio in Italian) to explore!
Let's start off with the pasta factory, Marilungo. It's a family run business dating way back to 1958! Shown above is the current owner Giovambattista (the grandson). Apart from the notorious Maccheroncini di Campofilone, they have all sorts of dried egg pasta!
And look at the packaging! The ones with Italy shaped on them are just PERFECT for souvenirs (FYI a box of pasta starts at 2.50 euro). The shop is enough to get you hyped up, but I went inside the factory for a private tour. The shop is open to the public (9-12:30/14-18:30 closed on Sundays and National Holidays) but if you want the tour contact me here since my boyfriend and I run customized tours to visit Le Marche. (Sorry for the time being the website is only in Japanese but please feel free write to me in English for any questions!)
OK, back to the tour! You are not allowed to document the inside of the factory, so sorry guys I have no pics (which means you'll just have to come and see for yourself)!
Once you go down the steps into the factory, you are immediately welcomed with the delicious smell of flour as if you've stepped in a bakery! At Marilungo they use only Semola di Grano Duro (Durum wheat flour) from Marche, Umbria, and Tuscany. When I asked Giovambattista why not use only local flour, he answered,
"The outcome of flour changes year by year. If I buy only local flour and Marche had a bad year in Durum wheat, it will mean I'll be using crappy flour. For me, the priority is not local but the highest quality, even if that means it's not from here."
He went on explaining,
"I know many pasta factories own land to grow their own wheat. But this means even in a bad year for sure you are going to use yours. It may sound nice that one grows its own wheat, but this doesn't mean their flour is the best."
Giovambattista told me about the eggs as well, the only other ingredient used for his pasta.
"We specifically use local free range-eggs. They are not just any free-range eggs, but from hens that are kept indoor. If you have a few hens for yourself at home then it shouldn't be a big problem even if they go roaming outside. But we need A LOT of eggs. Many free-ranged eggs, in reality, are full of antibiotics. Hens are actually very sensible animals, so for example, if they get wet from rain they are prone to get sick. When they are raised on a big farm it doesn't mean that there's someone constantly checking the weather for them, right? Plus think of all the abnormal weather we have these days! So if the hens get sick they get treated antibiotics, or worse most of the time they are automatically given, even to the ones that aren't sick for precaution."
I have to be honest. I have never given much thought about eggs or chicken. I simply thought "Organic" or "Free-Range" is just better. I must say, Givambattista gave me a new insight into food.
Even though Marilungo is a factory, they are a small family run business. They have only one production line. Therefore each day they make one type of pasta depending on what's lowest in their stock. The day I visited was "Tagliatelle al Tartufo" day. LUCKY ME! I'm telling you it was such a heavenly smell inside.
I repeat, contact me here for the tour to experience this first hand!
Next off the town of Campofilone.
It is a small town with less than 2000 inhabitants, situated in the province of Fermo. (The town is about 70km from the capital, Ancona. Sorry no public transportations that I know of to reach Campofilone.)
Situated on top of a hill, you can enjoy the view of both the Adriatic coastline and beautiful the valley of Aso.
During August's Sagra di Maccheroncini the town is FULL of people, but if you visit on a regular day it's nice and quiet. Once you reach the highest point of the city, there is a large field that is sometimes used as an outdoor theater. There you can enjoy a gorgeous view! Also, there are medieval castle walls still standing that surrounds the town.
Although it's a small town this is still Italy! Of course, they have a duomo and tiny little streets to get lost in ;) I'd say it's the perfect place to go exploring before lunch to build up an appetite!
Thanks for reading!