Osteria Teatro Strabacco

MEMORIES: Unfortunatly for us all, this place does not exist anymore! When it comes to restaurants in Ancona, Osteria Teatro Strabacco was our favorite.  A restaurant that offered typical Italian food in the middle of the city center, but hidden enough so that it’s not crowded and is frequented only by those that knew of its existence (now you know, but you can’t go), this cozy nook had drawn in names from all over the globe.

StrabaccoAt Strabacco, food hospitality was treated like the theater- every evening, and every meal, was a different scene with different props, backdrops, actors, colors, tastes, smells, and audiences.  With its three levels and solely wooden furnishings, even the building itself could be likened to a stage.  Add the mass of colorful objects, old photographs, candles, old-fashioned lamps, and plastic figures, and you truly feel like you’re walking back in time (yet somehow eccentrically modern) through a fairytale.  And this was all before food even came into consideration.

The quality of dishes leaving the kitchen was always superb, and the selection of wines was truly remarkable (1,200 of them to pick from!).  If asked, the oste Danilo Tornifoglia (known as Kiki to friends and native Ancona-ians) would have taken you downstairs, where you would find an old piano and a wine cellar that was tough to beat when it comes to showcasing the wines of Strabacco3Marche.  Both cuisine and wine inventory focus mainly on traditional productions from the region, but there were also rotating specials and unusual twists.  Pasta with a minty cream sauce?  Bruschetta al lardo?  Yes, please, we’ll try it all.

And, is worth adding that their tiramisu was the best that we’ve ever had- and, while traveling the world, we have made an effort to try our favorite dessert every time that the opportunity presented itself.

Whether you are an artist or a professional, need a nice date spot, a casual dinner, or a wine break, Strabacco would have impressed you for sure.  Even if you are just passing through the streets, alone and without a destination in mind, come set food inside.  Much like a “chef’s table”, there was the special tavolo quattro; one of the large communal tables that was filled with just as many personal stories, laughs, and new friendships as with memories of people (both famous and anonymous) that have sat at its benches and discovered Danilo’s charm.

Osteria Strabacco
Via Oberdan,2
Tel:  071 56748


BroccaneraRolling around the windy hills of terrains unknown to us, in search of a little village named Piticchio, we took a turn toward Montale, almost calling defeat and consulting the map we stole from our bed-and-breakfast (we returned it, all intact, no worries).  But, before we could look down at the map, we saw a sign pointing to the left, advertising a vignetto.  We exchanged a glance, and, without a word, turned the car in that direction.  Who can pass up a vineyard, especially in the land of verdicchio?  Not us.

Mid-December, mid-afternoon: it was deserted as we pulled into the parking lot.  But, Gregory has no fear, and knocked on the door.  “Prego, entrate!” was the response, from somewhere deep within.  We didn’t hesitate and jumped out of the cold.

Broccanera2Taking a break from putting together dozens of Christmas baskets, the master of the vineyard welcomed us properly and asked us if we would like a look around.  When we nodded enthusiastically, he pointed down at the floor; we noticed that it is made out of glass, so, we were, in effect, standing directly above their distillery room.  A bit nerve-wracking for those with a fear of heights (same with the long staircase made out of glass, leading down into the cellars), but pretty cool, nonetheless.  We then got a proper tour of the estate, met the owner, and got a detailed explanation of their history, wine varieties, and bottling process.  To top it off, we each got a “sample” of their three wines, each of which consisted of half a wine glass and a bowl of munchies.  We left with out hearts and hands full, and heads pretty light.

Broccanera1They currently produce two different types of verdicchio: Cantaro and Suprino.  Both are DOC and boast an intriguing palette.  Cantaro is their first wine, and is a little bit lighter in color; it has a strange balance of fruit (especially pear) and the warmth of the earth, all coated with a hint of anise that is particular to this region’s land.  The Suprino is a bit easier to sip and carries tastes of lilies and subtle licorice.  They also produce a red (Asco), which is heavier-bodied and brings to mind forests during late summer.  Their oils we did not have an opportunity to taste, but, if they are anything like their wines, they are doubtlessly of a well-balanced and deliciously new palette.

Where tradition of the land and futuristic fantasies of design converge, Broccanera is a vineyard that is at once welcoming and intriguing.  We eagerly await the next batch of wines to be released from the cellars of this vineyard!

Montale (AN)
Tel: 0731 075144