Marche, “a galaxy” to be discovered

Water is a magic purifying element, mostly according to BRUNO BARBIERI, a multi starred chef and a judge at the “Masterchef Italy” TV contest, and to him it is also a source of inspiration and creativity during his stays in Marche. When he needs some adrenaline, he drinks a glass of water. Not any water, however, but a primeval water which keeps powerful vibrations coming from the stars. Its peculiarity? It spreads from a unique source, by the border between Marche and Umbria.

If I tell you “Marche”, which image of this region comes first to your mind?
Certainly the water, the crystal water of mount Conero, the rocky promontory diving into the sea. I came here often in my childhood for my summer holidays and have many memories bound to these places: here many friendships of mine were born, and some love stories too. I still love coming to taste a “guazzetto di pesce” (fish soup) or the Portonovo moscioli (mussels) and taste a good glass of Verdicchio wine while admiring the sea. Marche make me feel thirsty of water first, and then of wine!

Which dishes of the enogastronomic tradition do you like more?
There are so many, that a whole day would not last enough to list them all. I anyway love the fish recipes of this region and love working on traditional dishes, revisiting them with a modern approach, enriching them with ingredients from the hinterland and finally mating them with a good Rosso Conero or Verdicchio wine, which are both rich with personality. They really honour this region.

© Ottica Ciocci

How did your relationship with Marche grow in time?
Indeed it grew in time, thanks to the magic of the region’s beautiful landscapes, by which one is charmed and restored. It is fantastic to see that in the space of just a few kilometres one can dive in crystal waters, let the eyes be caressed by soft hills and breath a fresh and pure mountain air. Though at first I preferred the coast, especially the Conero area, in the last few years, following the creative projects of my friend Alessandro Marchesi (manager of Denim Company and the creative manager of Two Women, Two Men and Memory’s Ltd brands) I discovered the wonders of the hinterland.  It is thanks to him that I learned about the great textile tradition of Marche, specialized with denim fabric. From the mountain towns of Urbania and S.Angelo in Vado and along the whole Cesano valley, between Pergola and Mondolfo, up to Ostra in the province of Ancona, firms in the district make up a real assembly line of jeans garments, so much so that since the Sixties of last century this area was given the title of “Jeans Valley”. It is nice to see that in these territories skill and passion for the creation of quality products is still lively.

Food and fashion are two important cornerstones of Marche and two great passions of yours as well. What is your personal experience about them?
I am indeed a fan of the enogastronomic culture of Marche. I love being told about the philosophy hiding in recipes and in the choice of ingredients. I was lucky I could often come and work here: I even taught in some hotel schools, but most of all in Marche I have got friends who are cooks and enogastronomic journalists and told me many secrets and curiosities.  As for the fashion, I was always fond of quality denim fabrics, and that is why I like learning about all stages leading to the creation of jeans garments, so much so that Alessandro Marchesi and I created “Barbieri per Memory’s ltd”, a capsule wardrobe using top Japanese denim fabrics produced precisely in the Jeans Valley”: people, in Marche, are authentic and original, precisely like top denim fabrics; and like the latter, they improve with time.

© Serge Tesker

Which place in Marche makes you feel at home?
In Marche I feel at home everywhere, maybe because of the clean and lively air one can breathe here, and that is why when I need a break, a relaxing atmosphere and being surrounded by sincere and genuine people, I come here. I am especially fond of spending some time in Sassoferrato, where Alessandro Marches and his niece Nike Giurlani opened “La Bottega di Memory’s” a concept store dedicated to the excellence of the region’s products concerning food, wine and clothing, especially denim fabric to pay homage to the “Jeans Valley”.  In a unique and wonderful place, the restored old inn of their great-great-grandparents, one can taste extraordinary products and in the meantime try on limited edition clothes and accessories. It is surprising that, even though the village counts little more than 7 thousand citizens, the atmosphere there is so cosmopolitan: it makes me feel like I am in Paris! Not to mention their “Memory’s house” B&B, an uncommon museum-house, where I have got a room of my own and where I can reload my energies. How can new ideas not arise, in such a context?

For example?
If one hangs out frequently in an uncommon place with people who are a bit crazy, ideas spread spontaneously one after the other. I was especially fascinated by the story Alessandro told me about the Iridio valley, also called Bottaccione valley, on the border between Marche and Umbria. Also defined a “Treasure Chest of the Past”, this valley holds a secret which brings us 65 million years back. It is here, indeed, that the American geologist Walter Alvarez, assisted by his father Luis, the winner of a Nobel prize for physics, and by other scientists from the Berkeley CALTEC, discovered that a thin layer of rock, bearing no tracks of life, bore a very high concentration of iridium. Consequently, the group of scientists proposed the hypothesis that a big meteorite, probably the same whose tracks were found in 1992 in the peninsula of Yucatan, must have hit the Earth and caused enormous climate changes which led to the extinction of dinosaurs and of many marine species.

And from there a new project started…
The project is a new tile in the philosophic picture of Alessandro Marchesi’s “Memory’s” brand, aimed at looking for inspiration in the past to find creative nourishment for the present and transfer it in the future. That is how “Memory’s Water- l’Acqua delle Stelle” was born. He created the design of the bottle and I studied the combination of colours, imagining to see these bottles in the handbag of the most beautiful and trendy women in the world. But this dream would have stayed impossible without the involvement of the Motette company, whose factories are precisely in the very heart of the Bottaccione valley, inside the Monte Cucco Park, in the middle of an integer and untouched environment, which kept for millions of years the power of stars. When I feel like I need some adrenaline, I drink a glass of Memory’s water and with a single sip I feel like I move across the ages. And if it is sparkling and cold, well, then I immediately get to another galaxy! In conclusion, here in Marche water, whether from the mount Conero or from the Iridium valley, is definitely a source of inspiration for new adventures. I am proud of the fact that Memory’s Water contributes to make this territory, so fascinating and rich with natural environments, history, art and culture, known around the world!