How could our series of posts devoted to the first ever TerroirMarche festival end without a nod to the olive ascolane, the famous olives — brined or stuffed and fried — of Ascoli township where the gathering was held.
During the fair, which was held at the iconic Palazzo dei Capitani (a gorgeous Renaissance-era palace that sits in the town’s main square), there was an olive ascolane vendor set up on the ground floor of the palace atrium.
When we visited his stand, he made a point out of explaining the superiority of olive ascolane DOP (PDO in English): Protected Designation of Origin olive ascolane, in other words, officially sanctioned Ascoli olives, recognized by the European Union as a gastronomic legacy of the township.
According to APCASSAM (the body that certifies PDO olive ascolane):
“The appellation ‘Oliva Ascolana del Piceno’ PDO designates olives that are brined or stuffed that must be obtained from the cultivar ‘Ascolana tenera’ [tender Ascoli olive]. The brined olive must have a uniform color that ranges from green to hay yellow. Its flavor must be lightly acidic with a light bitter aftertaste. When stuffed, the olive must have a slightly oblong and irregular shape, with perceptible green coloring. The flavor profile must be medium in intensity, with fruity notes of green olive and spices.”
According to the official appellation regulations, the stuffing must be composed of a minimum of 40 percent and maximum of 70 percent beef and a minimum of 30 percent and maximum of 50 percent pork. 10 percent chicken or turkey is also allowed by the appellation.
Eggs and grated aged cheese to be added to the meat mixture before cooking.
The meat must be cooked in olive oil or rendered lard (butter is allowed if mentioned in labeling) with white wine, onion, carrot, celery stalk, nutmeg, and salt (as needed to flavor the meat).
Optional ingredients include small amounts of tomato sauce to flavor the meat; cloves; grated lemon zest; and other spices if used in smaller quantities than the above.
Thank you again, TerroirMarche, for a wonderful festival, fantastic tastings, and the endless supply of olive ascolane!