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Voices from “Sublime Autunno”

With this article dedicated to the last event in the company, we will start a new category in our blog.
On a regular basis we will publish some articles related to the different events organised at Conventino Monteciccardo. We will talk about collaborations and events, we will describe our landscape, we will interview friends and colleagues, all together to tell the “Stories of the Conventino”.

Sublime Autunno

When we think of autumn, our mind suddenly turns to the colour changing landscapes and to the nature losing its vividness, to the fog encompassing our awakenings, to the changeable skies, to the smell of damp ground. But, certainly, we also do remember the new scents of the season: those warm and strong tastes that the Conventino of Monteciccardo chose as main features of the evening event “Sublime Autunno”.

We want to dedicate to this event, that took place on 2 December 2017, not only the images but also the words of those who were at that evening and of those who, behind the curtains, have skilfully organized it.

The story

It is already a consolidated tradition to organise tasting events in the company. The menu, that has always been conceived by Mr. Claudio Modesti and carefully prepared by the catering service of Il Piccolo Mondo, shapes up a perfect union with EVO wines and oils of the company.

However the wine and food chances also leave space to the information: the dishes are alternated by the words of those who plan and organize the evening events. Therefore the evening turns into a context where the uniqueness of the region is discovered, through the history of raw materials and the knowledge of those who, today, are manufacturing products of high quality. We asked Egidio Marcantoni to tell the story of these events.

How and when did you develop the idea to host these tasting evenings in your company?

The idea was developed almost immediately. We wanted to advertise our products and this is definitely the best way. The collaboration with Mr. Modesti and Il Piccolo Mondo had already begun in the first evening events and meanwhile it turned out to be really efficient. The selected raw materials and our products here are going off and getting structured”.

The menu

The award-winning Roberto Sebastianelli has worn the chef’s hat for “Sublime Autunno” (World’s Master Chef 1998 – 2002) who managed to stress the sophistication of raw materials. As a matter of fact Mr. Modesti managed to create a menu, characterised in each dish by an element significantly connected with the territory or its tradition.

(You can read here the complete menu).

We already asked him how it is important today to rediscover these original ingredients.

“Sublime Autumn” has a refined menu characterised by excellent raw materials that are strongly connected with our history. How important is it today to rediscover native varieties like the eight row flint corn or Saint Sixtus’ chickpea?

“It is an extremely important aspect, since our region, and I am not only talking about the area of the Marches, is highly mountainous and therefore many different mesoclimates can be found here and along with them a wide biodiversity. Through experience people have selected the areas where certain productions give the best results. This occurred through time and built up a certain peculiarity of some products. A proof of this is the high number of PDO registered products in comparison with other European countries. And this is the fruit of biodiversity.

Using these raw materials in cooking is important to keep history and culture alive but also to understand the reason for their choice. Preparing a polenta with a corn flour of the native corn varieties selected in Italy definitely makes the difference.  The outcome is really different from a dish prepared with a corn obtained by crossing an American variety, both for the organoleptic properties and from a nutritional point of view, since our variety is the richest in proteins”.

]The mood got all the more charming when the diners, at the end of the evening, tasted the raisin wine “Passum” in the dark, guided by Modesti’s words.

Tasting Passum was a really charming event, how did you develop the idea of a tasting in the dark?

“When we taste some food or a drink all senses are stimulated, but the perception can be clearly altered by external factors: by completely reducing the visual stimulations you can obtain, for those who are not trained to tasting, the highest concentration. In the dark you can focus more on the voice of the taster that tells and describes a feeling, trying to find it with their own senses. It is a special moment, very scenic and charming”.

The wines

Wines are the main features of the Little Convent of Monteciccardo, together with the food.

Dishes are served with wines of different vintages, carefully accounted for by the wine expert Roberto Potentini, who glorified their peculiarities in conjunction with the dish. We asked him what we could expect from vintage year 2017.

During the evening we tasted the products of different vintage years. What can we expect from the last vintage year?

“Vintage year 2017 was very sad for its quantity, but definitely pleasant in its quality. This year the grape has suffered a lot for the late cold in April after a too mild March and, in the Summer period, for an excessive thermic stress and for a really important lack of water. On the other hand, however, grape was generally well balanced, both in relation with total acidity and sugar levels and in the content of mineral salts. We expect from children wines more a sensual balance than the dominance of any organoleptic factor, both played on the drinkability and on a very harmonic fragrance: a product that will cuddle taste, and what is more, smell.

From a business point of view, this was a very short vintage year for all Europe: from France to Spain, from Low Germany to Greece. They are available in a really small amount. On one hand we are satisfied, because the excesses of the largest producing countries are counterbalanced, on the other hand we are sorry because the vintage year will be over shortly after its beginning”.

During the evening the match with Corniale (IGT Marche) and a meat main course of the tradition of the Marches was particularly appreciated: the passatelli in capon stock with grated Fossa cheese. Potentini explained why this partcular wine was often called the “red dressed up in white”.

What can you tell us of the special vine variety which characterises the Corniale of the Conventino?

“The cross variety Bruni 54 is the vine variety from which the Corniale is produced. This vine covers roughly four acres of land, which is a really large portion if you think of the size of Conventino. The wine project of Corniale aims at providing, in the company’s wine offer, the needs of an important, solemn wine, where body and structure can dominate.

In Corniale we aim at searching not only the primary and secondary scents, those of fruit and fermentation, but also the tertiary ones, that is the scents of the ripeness of wine. These scents are normally found in red wines, therefore we define the Corniale a “red wine dressed up in white”. This wine is characterised by an important shelf life: we can wait two to four years to drink it. This feature is connected with the presence, in the cross variety Bruni 54, of the verdicchio, a typical variety of the Marches that confers longevity to the wines that make it up. Thanks to its presence, the Corniale can tertiarise and therefore get complex through time”.

Extra virgin olive oil

Not only wine, but obviously oil too!
Each course was prepared and liaised with oils of 2017. The peculiarities of each variety were described by the agronomist Giuseppe Colantoni. We wanted to ask him if this last vintage year was positive.

Was 2017 a lucky year for oil?

“It was a nice vintage year, a good vintage year. We are coming from a “soaring” period: in 2012 there was a terrible snowfall and we lost nearly 7000 olive trees. 2014 was marked by the fly, one of the most dangerous adversities from a health and organic point of view of the olive: in order to catch such a bad vintage year we have to go back to 1990. Unfortunately we had the same situation in 2016, while 2017 gave us great satisfactions both in quality and in quantity, compensating us for the troubles of the past years”.


Menu included, as an intermezzo, a sorbetto with a particular ingredient, the Aranciolio, Orange Oil.

During the evening we discovered the conjunction between oil and citruses, can you tell us how the seasoning Aranciolio is made?

“The project was started by the will to create a synergy between olive and citruses. The olives are ground with the oranges, in this process no chemical or synthetic products are in use, only fresh citruses. The grinding produces an olive dough that, in contact with its fresh skin, absorbs all scents and the properties of the orange. This very scenty oil is ideal to let phantasy loose and prepare new dishes and ingredient combinations?


As a proof of the successfulness of the event we can suggest you the image gallery that will complete this story through the images of the evening.

Browse it while waiting for the next event!