The olive harvest at Castello di Montegiove is one of the most important annual events on the farm.
Nets are spread below the old trees and our people are carefully combing the branches to make the olives fall down in the net. The same evening the olives are transported to the olive mill and pressed into our famous Castello di Montegiove – Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva.
In November the olive mills come to live after almost a year of hibernation. Inside the mill there is an infernal noise and a fabulous aroma of the newly pressed olive oil. Outside there are cars and people everywhere, tractors carrying big loads of olives and normal cars full of boxes with olives. When the cars are leaving the mill it is easy to see who is carrying the oil and who is carrying the empty boxes, as the cars with the oil are driving very slowly and carefully to avoid the tanks with precious oil to fall over.
The very best bruschettas are with new oil just arriving back from the mill with a drizzle of salt, so simple and so tasty.
Marmellata di Mele Cotogne.
The quince is an old fruit known back to ancient civilizations. Italian marmalade was originally made of quince, it was the only way to use the fruit as it is inedible raw .
The fruit is very hard and to get the best result for the marmalade you have to collect the quince very mature or simply pick up the fallen fruits.
Quince is also pretty for decorations and will last a very long time in a centrepiece.
500 g Quince, very mature
200 g Sugar
2 Lemons juice and zest
1/2 dl water
Wash the fruits, remove cores and seeds and chop into equal size chunks. Place in a saucepan add water and sugar, let simmer for 30-45 minutes.
When the fruit is tender add lemon juice and zest stir well and season to taste with lemon and sugar. To make the marmalade smooth blend the cooked fruit, transfer back to the saucepan and heat up again.
Fill the marmalade in clean sterilized jars, tighten the lid and let them cool completely upside down.
Baking gluten free pancakes can be a bit demanding that’s why we always make this delicious banana version.
14 Banana Pancakes
2 Bananas very mature
1 tsp Vanilla sugar
½ dl flour (with or without gluten)
Pinch of salt
Butter for cooking
Whisk the eggs together until completely combined. Mash the bananas.
Pour the eggs and the rest of the ingredients over the bananas and stir until completely combined.
Heat a large skillet/frying pan over medium heat. Melt a little butter in the pan.
Pour 2 large tablespoons of batter onto the hot skillet. You can cook around 4 at a time on a large skillet. Cook until pancakes are golden brown on both sides. Serve hot with blue berries and maple syrup.
The weekly farmers market with stalls selling super fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses, local salame and prosciutto, porchetta, honey, saffron etc from the area. This popular local market takes place every Saturday and is extended once every month with stalls selling shoes, clothing, kitchen tools and curtains… you name it.
The farmers market is where you meet on Saturday mornings; there is a lively conversation about recipes and the quality of the products. Italians loves to talk about food and they are all convinced that the way they are cooking is the best. It sounds like a speed talk competition, where everybody tries to beet each other with tricks and hints for how to prepare the perfect Sunday lunch, sometimes I am not sure anyone is listening but everyone is for sure talking.
I love the farmers market and the atmosphere around it, it is such a luxury having the possibility to get the fresh fruits and vegetables at a very reasonable price and then go home with my head full of new creative ideas and start cooking. A dear friend even abandoned his vegetable garden because “it is just so much more convenient and less work going to the farmers market”!
Some years ago I had to find a way to prepare courgettes so the girls would actually like them. This is the recipe that we have invented together, besides from making a healthy dish it was also a very nice way to spend some time together experimenting in the kitchen.
You can easily prepare the flans the day before and store them in the fridge over night.
For 8 Flans:
500 g Courgettes (small and hard)
3 Eggs (separate yolk and white)
70 g Parmesan cheese grated
3-4 tblsp cream
2 Basil leaves
Knob of melted butter
Salt and Pepper to season
8 Silver foil cups or ramekins
Preheat the oven to 140 C (fan oven).
Wash the courgettes and cut them into squares, fry them on a hot pan in olive oil until tender not brown, set aside to cool.
Grease 8 ramekins with melted butter.
Beat the egg whites until stiff and set them aside.
Transfer the courgettes, egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, cream, basil leaves, salt and pepper into a food processor and blend until smooth. Fold the egg whites into the courgette mix and pour into ramekins.
Place them in a roasting pan with high sides, fill water halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Cook the flans in the oven a bain marie for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow to cool slightly, the flans are also very good served cold.
I first had a version of this delicious starter at a wedding reception some years ago and after trying it out in different varieties this is the way I like it best. The sweet fig with the creamy cheese and the salty pancetta… yummy!!!
8 Mature Figs (I prefer the green ones)
8 slices of Pancetta
200 g Goat cheese (fresh and soft)
Salt and Pepper
Start the grill in the oven.
Wash the figs slice them open in 4 quarters.
Put a knob of goat cheese into each fig and decorate with a rosemary branch. Wrap the pancetta around the figs and season with salt and pepper. Place the figs in an ovenproof plate.
Drizzle olive oil over the figs and grill them in the oven for about 5 to 10 minutes or until baked. Serve warm or cold with a glass of Castello Montegiove RoSaTo.
Enjoy the beautiful autumn in Umbria at Castello di Montegiove.
Follow the grapes from the vineyard to the wine cellar and learn about the fermentation and ageing phases of the wines.
We offer our houseguests a guided tour of the castle and wine cellar and a tasting of our wines combined with a talk about life at Castello di Montegiove.
We still have rentals vacant in the agriturismo in October so if you are looking for fantastic place to stay and are curious to see the wine harvest first hand at the castle then don’t hesitate to contact us.