In the Le Marche of my dreams...
every day is like the one I recently spent at the MES
There are certain days, in all of our lives, when, through a fortunate combination of events, location, climate, feelings and, above all, human chemistry, a perfect harmony is obtained. Sometimes, the word ‘perfect’ really isn’t going too far.
And that’s certainly true of the 30th October, spent in Petritoli for the Erba Olio event, which took place at the Agriturismo MES, thanks to the hospitality of Paola and Sergio.
We at the magazine already knew of the MES-Family, and we were once again very pleasantly surprised by the positive impression that the place and its hosts make on their guests with their extreme generosity and impeccable manners.
As soon as we arrived, we recognised Sergio, already busy preparing for the day ahead, and Paola, who welcomed us with a big smile and immediately got us involved in the proceedings: “Would you mind picking some mallow and rocket flowers?”
We agreed enthusiastically, and joined the other friends who were already searching for the flowers which were, like tinted dew, to adorn the “hearts of herbs with kitchen garden salad” (the first antipasto on the organic menu).
Who could have imagined that the things many people call weeds were actually edible and moreover, delicious? Noris Rocchi knows that of course and after years of research on the popular tradition of herb gathering, he has succeeded in creating an interprovincial project aimed at promoting and popularising natural herbs and developing this area.
After a while we rejoined the group of participants on the Connoisseur of Natural Herbs and Plants course (Conscitore Di Erbe e Piante), organised by the Associazione Chi Mangia la Foglia (The Leaf-eaters’ Association), and we too listened to Laura and Lino’s recommendations, imitating the others: eyes and nose right down close to the ground, intent on examining the little plants that could be seen to sprout up here and there. Seen from afar, this large group with their quick feet, the colours of the bags swinging from their hands contrasting with the intense brown of the ground, must certainly have resembled the Chinese paper lanterns that are released into a joyous ascent through the sky.
After the outing, we all sat down at the table. A toast is certainly the best way to socialise and even more so when the wine is the organic rosé that Sergio, Paola’s husband, produces. And so, under the best possible conditions, began a journey of unexpected flavours, flavours that had only recently been hidden amidst brown clumps of earth and which were now assembled in colourful and gracefully arranged dishes, delicately decorated with small, bright flowers.
But the conviviality didn’t end there, and to my great surprise there appeared a bottle of oil, brought by Umberto and Luca, young farmers who believe strongly in high quality products. The small bottle began to be passed spontaneously from one plate to the next, and suddenly all fifty guests had tasted this excellent oil. The arrival of Signor Lino was just as spontaneous: as if by magic between courses he revealed jams and chutneys of every type and flavour, peach and pear, sambuco and starfruit.
Between each course, Paola described the dishes and their ingredients, not managing to hide her discomfort and anxiety, a trait which makes her so sweet and so attentive to the guests she pampers. Her passion and the extreme care she takes of the people that surround her shows in her face, and in exchange she receives much applause and recognition.
“I love being emotional, and I love that my work incites emotion. This is what it means to be responsible.” (Olafur Eliasson)
Whoever comes here forgets all prejudices, all bitchiness and fearlessly opens his heart to the unexpected, to the beauty that exists within everyone. Perhaps this really is an MES: Module in Emotional Salvation.
We have had the chance to join the warm-hearted and welcoming MES-Family and Paola and Sergio have become close to our hearts.
The Travel Consultant