Do you remember going to your Italian grandmother’s house for lunch? No, I don’t either because I wasn’t one of those lucky enough to have an Italian grandmother (although my grandmother, whom I loved dearly, was a very good cook). Well, going to Trattoria Anita in Cupramontana, Marche, is much like going to your grandmother’s house for a lunch (or dinner in our case) of comfort food, simple dishes, made from excellent ingredients.
We arrived on a cold evening, promptly at 7:30 because we had heard that it was always difficult to find a table at the trattoria. It was the day after a public holiday in Italy and everybody was obviously still out of town because the place was empty. We were told that the restaurant had been packed to the rafters the day before so we were definitely in luck. There was a basic menu from which to choose. Be warned, however, this is not really a restaurant for vegetarians or vegans. The menu is all about meat but they will do a salad and there are always vegetables on offer.
We started off with the homemade tortelloni – these are similar to tortellini but they are much bigger and the ends are closed differently. These were served with a lovely, rich ragù. My portion was so large I couldn’t finish it and, much like any nonna, the owner insisted on packing my leftovers into a foil container so I could take it home for lunch the next day.
For the secondo, Andy had rabbit and I had the bistecca di vitello – it sounds so much kinder than saying a veal steak. These were served with rosemary potatoes and spinach. The sauce for the meats was so intense and utterly delicious.
For dessert I had the crostata con marmellata. The owner confessed the jam wasn’t homemade but the crostata was. And because she thought I still looked hungry she bought me a portion of zuppa inglese. Has anyone ever figured out the origin of this dish? It doesn’t look like any English trifle (or soup) I have ever seen. In any event, we ended the evening with a cup of coffee – and a grappa in Andy’s case – and happily strolled back to our accommodation.
Trattoria Anita has been run by the same family since the early 1950s. The walls are covered with pieces of amateur art, photos of the local football teams, and photos of some very famous people who have dined there, including Roberto Mancini, the Italian football coach who is a god – or not – depending on the fortunes of the Italian national team.
Trattoria Anita is a restaurant that does regional dishes really well. The wine we had was a local vino della casa and it was perfectly adequate. The food was simply and tasty, made with very good ingredients, and it epitomised all that is Italian cuisine – nothing fancy, nothing cutesy, nothing am-I-cute-enough-to-kiss-or-what? If you’re around Cupramontana do try and have a meal at Trattoria Anita.