Last week, we took the train to Ancona. It’s a port city about an hour and a half from here.
I think maybe because it’s a port city, it has a lot of immigrants and because of that, there are an abundance of markets—asian, African, eastern European—that cater to them. It was lovely to be somewhere I could find ingredients and treats unavailable here, but the main draw was a “kiosk” selling raw and cooked fish. Really, that’s why we went. Even though we’re near enough to San Benedetto, a beach town on the Adriatic, all of the restaurants there seem to offer the same stuff—fried fish, spaghetti and clams…..e basta.
We got off the train and meandered toward the city center, stopping to buy habanero and jalapeno peppers, chinese red bean cakes and a bamboo spatula/spoon thing for the wok.
Then, we headed up the pedestrian shopping street and across through the daily street market to Chiosco da Morena in Corso Giuseppe Mazzini.
It’s basically a hut, nestled between an ice cream shop/pizzeria and the fountain of the “tredici canelle” with a couple of high bar tables with chairs. On the other side of the street are a bunch of tables and chairs, sheltered from the sun by canopies.
The day we were there, she had some cooked stuff, like giant shrimp and “snails of the sea” (seashells, basically) in three different sizes, shrimp cocktail served in scallop shells and baccalà. We were there for the “unusual” by Italian standards, so we ordered a couple of hundred grams of the small and medium lumache and some raw oysters and what we thought were biggish clams, the size of cherrystones.
To eat the small sea snails, you jam a toothpick in the hole, pierce the meat and twist it out. The medium ones have had their tips chopped off, so for those you cover the tip with a finger and suck on the opening, then cover the opening with your thumb and suck the meat out of the tip.
The oysters were French and so good, but unfortunately on the expensive side at €2 each and the “clams” that turned out to be cockles (fasolari) which I guess are some type of clams (what do I know about bivalves, really?) for €.50 each.
We were too late for the indoor market, so after lunch we headed back to the train station by way of the port, stopping in at the Lazzaretto. I think at times it was used as a barracks and also to quarantine immigrants but now it houses a museum where you can actually touch the artwork.
|the hexagonal Lazzaretto from the "molo"|
|the temple inside the Lazzaretto|
|on the "molo" (wharf)|
We stopped in the Mix Market, full of eastern European delicacies where I got a Russian ice cream cone and then got on the train.