Il Tiglio – A Welcome Return

‘Bentornato’ ‘Welcome back’ is a phrase ringing round the Sibillini mountains and the tiny hamlet of Isola San Biagio, in Le Marche, Italy. They are talking to Enrico Mazzaroni, who has been holidaying down at the coast for the last couple of years.

But it’s been far from a simple holiday. After sustaining damage in the earthquakes in 2016, Enrico and his team moved down from their mountain home to open a new seafood version of Il Tiglio – The Lime Tree, where the menu was fish based. And now, much to everyone’s delight, like a phoenix from the flames, he is back. To the tiny, unassuming mountain hamlet where Enrico’s family have lived for generations farming the land and producing the most amazing natural ingredients for this very special restaurant.

As we arrive in Isola San Biagio, just outside Montemonaco, tucked away in the little known Le Marche countryside, we wonder where we are heading. The tiny, rustic village in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by majestic mountains which seem to rise straight from the hamlet. We park and cross the road, spotting the beautiful new metal door with ‘Tiglio’ cut in style. We’ve arrived!

With great anticipation and excitement, we ring the doorbell and are immediately welcomed by one of the waiting staff. We pass through the restaurant, which has been designed in a wonderful mix of modern and rustic and is perfect blend for the old stoned walled building which houses the new Tiglio.

Our waitress shows us out to the terrance and immediately we are struck by the simplicity of the table surrounded by the magnificence of the mountains. The bright blue sky contrasting with the bright yellow broom or ginestra in Italian. Just stunning.

We start with a welcome prosecco, chilled perfectly for this hot summers day. A salute to the return of this special place and to Enrico who has worked tirelessly to carry on and make a success of his passion and his life.

Soon the wonderful food starts to arrive. With some tiny amuse bouche to start. A dark chocolate casing around a liquid truffle centre which just melts in our mouths. The most amazing sensation and flavour. Yes Il Tiglio is definitely back!

We delight our tastebuds with these tasty morsels. First a basket of oyster shells topped with open shells filled with a light mix of oyster, celery and cream. Wow. Accompanied by Ribona, a fresh, crisp Le Marche white. Well where else would it be from?

Next we try the toasted almond wrapped in lardo. The crunch of the almond mixed with the softness of the lardo is a great combination.

We stare at the little, perfectly formed golden ‘eggs’ sitting in front of us. Knowing our chef, Enrico, very often things are not quite what they seem, so carefully we bite into the crispy round spheres. Inside a surprise. A wonderful gooey Parmesan sauce oozes from within. Just sensational.

A tiny tart entices us from across the table. A thin crunchy case filled with the most intense roasted onion purée. So perfectly tasty.

And we haven’t even mentioned the bread yet. Simply the best brown bread with locally grown grains. A crisp crust encases a soft, warm interior. Served with lemon thyme butter. The perfect combination. The lightest, thinnest grissini and soft focaccia fills the basket. We know we shouldn’t eat so much as we have so many wonderful courses to come but it’s simply irresistible!

Our first official starter arrives, a wonderful steak tartare with cheesy pastry and light dressing.

Next the most stunning combination of softness and crunch. A crispy lettuce shell encases a slow cooked egg which just oozes to our delight as we cut them open. Topped off with tasty, soft lettuce picked straight from the orto, this really is a texture sensation.

And now to the carrot. THE carrot. The most tastiest carrot in the world we are sure. How anyone can pack so much intense flavour into one carrot is beyond us. A tiny miracle sitting in front of us waiting to tickle our tastebuds.

We move onto our funghi course. A mushroom lovers delight. Perfectly cooked porcini with a soft outer and a firmer middle bathing in the most tasty broth and served with tiny roast potatoes. Another wow!

Next to arrive is the first of our pasta dishes. Enrico brings us a delicious cherry Rosso Piceno wine to pare with simply the richest hare pasta we have ever tasted. The handmade pasta, made from locally grown wheat is again cooked to perfection and is perfectly combined with a creamy potato sauce.

Now tiny tortellini appear nestling atop a pine jus. Yes pine! Intense in flavour and definitely unique, Enrico once again goes for the wow factor. He certainly does not disappoint.

Our main course is lamb. Perfectly cooked and deliciously soft and moist, it is served with summer greens and a carrot purée.

And finally to the dessert. That dessert! A unique combination and we would never have guessed it. Enrico explains the lightest, chilled lemon foam sits next to a celery purée. Yes celery. And we were simply blown away. The combination of flavours work so well. Refreshing, simple, light and just the perfect ending to our most memorable dining experience.

But it wasn’t quite the end. A little silver tree arrives with glistening berries. Poached apple balls are surrounded by a raspberry gel. Simply stunning.

As now, as coffee is served, we reflect on a most memorable lunch, whilst gazing with full tummies at the wonderful Le Marche scenery.

Simple fresh flavours, the best homegrown produce, an intensely passionate chef in an unassuming hamlet with a charming rustic restaurant set under the majestic Sibillini’s. Bentornato Enrico and Il Tiglio team. You are back and we just know your are going to be a wonderful success.

We dined at Il Tiglio, Isola San Biagio, Montemonaco. The excellent value tasting menu is €38 per head excluding wine, water, coffee and cover charge.

Open every day for lunch and dinner.

Call 0736 856441, find them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/iltigliomontemonaco/ or message Enrico at ristoranteiltiglio@yahoo.it

We stayed at Il Nascondiglio The Hideaway farmhouse apartments and bed and breakfast, a pleasant 30 minute drive away www.thehideaway.eu

Flights available from the UK, with Ryanair to the nearby airports of Ancona, Perugia or Pescara, all less than a 90 minute drive away www.ryanair.com

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Come and Explore Magical Marche ….

and everything our beautiful region has to offer. From poetry to paintings, opera to osteria's, hilltop towns and villages, markets and museums. Something for all the family. Have a look at this wonderful Le Marche Video to learn more!

Magical Marche Moments near Montemonaco – Il Tiglio

For a truly unique experience, you can not get better than a very long lazy Sunday afternoon dining at Il Tiglio in Isola San Biagio near Montemonaco.

Upon arriving in this tiny unassuming village set high in the Sibillini Mountains, you really couldn’t begin to imagine what all the fuss is about.

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The Tiny Village of Isola San Biagio

Once you have found the front door, the first secret is to ring the bell and you will be warmly greeted. If you have ever been before the staff always remember a face and wish you ‘ben tornato’ or welcome back. At once you will feel at home.

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Stylish and elegant and even a stool for your handbag!

From the glitzy interior you might presume it’s all going to be a little ostentatious and over the top but far from it. The staff are attentive but unobtrusive, friendly, but not in your face. The cutlery and crockery is perfectly polished and the bathroom spotless (however slightly whacky).  A complimentary prosecco is served to get the experience underway and you relax as your Tiglio experience begins.

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Gold!

Soon the wine ‘bible’ is presented. It might take a while to browse through but and you can certainly choose from a well stocked cantina, including many local wines at reasonable prices.

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Now which wine shall it be?

Next the appetisers start to arrive and what a treat. We haven’t even got to the antipasti yet! A nest appears on the table with two ‘eggs’ perched neatly on top. Soon you realised that at Il Tiglio, nothing is quite what it seems. They aren’t eggs, but they do have the most perfectly cooked runny yolk inside, just amazing! The waiters explain the dishes and how to eat them.

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A nest appears with two fresh eggs – or are they?

Suddenly a tree was bought to the table with wafer thin seedy wafers hanging from the branches and angy red berries filled with a delicious creamy cheese.

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Cracker tree
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Seedy Wafers so light!

And then the richly smoked pork fat cubes served on a bed of pine branches, which just melted in the mouth. Such a rich, intense flavour you will never forget.

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What an intense, mouthwatering, smokey pork flavour.

Now for the highlight – the truffle – or is it? Neatly presented on a bed of pebbles, these little parcels of delight will amaze you. As you pop one in your mouth, the crisp white cocoa shell just melts away, leaving a delicious creamy cheesy truffly centre which tingles the taste buds!

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Truffles? Or are they?

The delight of the appetisers is now over and the antipasti begin to arrive. Warm winter salad sitting atop a orange sauce, just for starters.

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Warm wilted winter salad

Next is the most creamy baked whole leek – turn it over and scoop out the wonderful filling which can be spread on the warm herb bread.

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Oozing with delight!
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Open your parcel to reveal warm herby bread

Our antipasti just continues to come, with a perfectly baked potato topped with cream cheese, and almond ‘ash’ sitting on a bed of porcini mushrooms. The textures and flavours just amaze us every time.

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The poshest baked potato in Marche

Now for our favourite.  Would you expect to find parmesan, potato and passionfruit served in a mountain village in very rural Le Marche? Well at Il Tiglio, you will and the flavour combination is just perfect. Cut into the delicate parmesan shell and watch the warm parmesan mousse just ooze out.

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Simply the best!

The final antipasti is served and what a delicious combination. Baccala (salt cod), sitting atop an intense  rosemary reduction and topped with pine nuts. Once again the flavours are just stunning.

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Baccala or salt cod, flecked with rosemary.

Now onto the pasta course and one which will delight meat lovers. Homemade tagliatelle swirled with a rich wild boar ragu and topped with winter greens. Again the combination of flavours and the flavoursome  broth will be remembered for years to come.

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Wild boar tagliatelle. Amazing.

Our second pasta course is a homemade tortellini served with a rich broth and topped with delicate truffle shavings. The pasta perfectly cooked of course.

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Tortellini and truffles

Finally and with very full tummies, we move on to our main course and you have a choice here of 3. We were offered lamb, pork or venison and chose the venison, served with butternut squash puree and tasty red cabbage. So tender and soft, it almost melted in the mouth!

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Melt in the mouth venison.

Now for dessert – well not quite –  first a pre-dessert pallet cleanser. Creamy vanilla ice-cream topped with a almond cracknel and sitting on a tamarind sauce. Flavours mingle on the tongue once again.

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Crispy, tangy, creamy and light all on one mouthful

Our dessert is a chocolate lover’s dream. Layers and layers of different chocolate mousse sitting atop a moist cake base, dense but light, texturally perfect!

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Luxuriance on a plate!
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Guard your mousse carefully. It may easily be stolen.

We were almost coming to the end of our Tiglio extravaganza, but before we did, we were treated to a truffle tree topped with aniseed biscotti and cinnamon soil served with coffee.

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The Tiglio truffle tree.

Sadly our experience was drawing to an end, but Enrico the wonderful creative chef, made time to chat. So passionate about the food he creates, his customers and his surroundings and you can just tell. Asking which dishes were our favourite (all of them of course) and happy to know we have enjoyed our time with him.

The menu at Il Tiglio changes seasonally and there are three menus to choose from. The €33 tasting menu, which we experienced, the €35 vegetarian menu and the full blown extravaganza of €45, all excellent value for money (coffee and wine not included).

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Three types of truffle, pistachio, aniseed and almond.

Reservations are essential and you can call Enrico on +39 0736 856441 or mobile +39 335 8006190 or visit Il Tiglio website. The restaurant is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from September to May and everyday in June, July and August.

Go and try the Tiglio experience. You won’t be disappointed we are sure!

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The End!

For The Most Magical Marche Experience!

For The Most Magical Marche Experience!

Coming to stay with us at The Hideaway? Whilst in Le Marche, whatever you do, do not miss the La Conca experience. Mirela welcomes you to her wonderful agriturismo where you will sample dish after dish of her delicious home cooking.

With fresh herbs and vegetables from her beautiful orto, every dish is a taste explosion. A perfect setting, with an amazing host and fabulous food. You really will have a great time!

From the ever-changing talking menu, on our visit this time, for antipasti we sampled tasty speck, borlotti bean and garlic pate, a cured meat platter, fried sage leaves in the lightest of batters, fried courgette flowers, homemade cheeses with strawberry and rose petal jam and hot, delicious deep-fried breads so crispy and light.

There was still more to come – tasty pasta shells cooked in red wine filled with cottage cheese and chives garnished with borage flowers and pink peppercorns.

This was followed by amazing green nettle pasta with sausage cream sauce which was just fabulous, then homemade cannelloni filled with meat and herbs, grilled lamb served with roasted vegetables. Dessert was a delicious type of alcoholic trifle and the whole meal accompanied with as much wine and water as you want. Our experience ended with a wonderful homemade thyme liqueur and coffee.

We will certainly be back, as will many of our guests who have sampled the wonders of Mirela and La Conca.

La Conca is open every day in the Summer for lunch and dinner, but you need to book in advance as everything is prepared specially for you.

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A Hidden Gem in Le Marche – Villa Funari, Servigliano

See on Scoop.itHideaway Le Marche

Sarah Topps‘s insight:

We arrived at Villa Funari on Valentine’s Day, unsure what to expect as we have dined in many restaurants In Le Marche but had been told by friends that this really was something special. We were certainly not disappointed.

The restaurant has been beautifully furnished, rustic but modern and everything was spotless. Unfortunately we were not lucky enough to spend the night in the accommodation but just to experience the food was a delight in itself.

The set Valentine’s Day menu, including wine, water and coffee was good value. Simple, home cooked, beautifully presented and very very tasty.

We started with a delicious rose of prosciutto which had been cured in-house. Followed by a volute of pumpkin which was also amazing.

After this we were treated to a trio of lightly fried antipasto. Courgettes, cremini and Ascolana olives.

Our primo was tagliattini of sausage and truffle which was delicate but full of flavour. For our secondo, Mark’s favourite, tagliata of home-reared beef cooked perfectly and served with crisp potato wedges.

The desert of semifreddo rounded off our meal perfectly, which was accompanied by Ciu Ciu and Castegnano wines.

Although very busy, being Valentines night the staff were efficient, friendly and courteous and we were even treated to a trip down to the cheese cave where all their home-made cheeses are matured. Nothing was too much trouble and the staff even made time to explain to us the process of the cheese storage. The smell was just divine.

We will certainly be retiring to Villa Funari. Something rather special and a real treat although priced very reasonably. Our set menu was €28 per head inclusive.

You can contact Villa Funari on 0734 750114 and visit their website here: http://www.villafunari.it/

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