Gourmet Break

After reading about Casal Dei Fichi’s gourmet break years ago we finally took the plunge and signed up.

In the 72 hours between being picked up and dropped off at the airport we had 6 amazing dining experiences (not including the breakfast. The venues for dining ranged from rustic traditional places atop a hill, to a stunning spot at the foot of the mountains, to fine dining within an ancient walled town, to a cosy spot in a medieval plaza to a seafood restaurant by the Adriatic coast, and even Casal dei Fichi itself. In this time we had antipasti, pasta, vegetables, fish, shellfish, meats, desserts in more guises than I can remember and all were delicious.

Somehow there was also time for visits to some very cool (literally) underground Roman cisterns, the ornate local theatre, a cathedral, a vineyard (just in case we hadn’t had the opportunity of a glass of wine for the previous 30 minutes) the local olive press, a cookery course and even a beach.

Casal dei Fichi is a great spot with fabulous views onto the rolling hills of the local countryside. Our hosts Bob and Ian treated us like old friends and ferried us around the winding roads of Le Marche from one fantastic experience to the next. Nothing was too much trouble for them and they are obviously passionate and knowledgeable about the place they call home.

All in all a fantastic experience that will unfortunately involve you going home at least 2kg heavier. You will also have experience the finest hospitality, accommodation, food, wine and scenery this lesser known area of Italy has to offer.

Earl of Chorley Whittaker 18/11/14 (Tripadvisor comment)

Wonderful Gourmet Experience
We have just returned from Bob and Ian’s fantastic Gourmet Weekend. This was a once in a lifetime experience as they only organize one or two such weekends per year. We were met at the airport by Ian , transported without fuss to Casal dei Fichi where we met Bob and were shown to our apartment, one of the best we have rented on our many holidays all over the globe.
The orgy of eating and drinking then began. Our hosts arranged dinner each night in different wonderful restaurants in the La Manche area where we sampled the best cuisine and wines the region has to offer. They also organised trips out to local places of interest including a ‘learn to cook’ lunch at a beautiful farm/restaurant in the mountains.
All in all a magnificent trip made even better by the hospitality of Bob and Ian. Would love to do it again.
Daveshear 13/11/14 (Tripadvisor Comment)

A Gourmet Experience and More

This was a special unexpected treat during our Golden Wedding Anniversary Year. We were invited by long term friends who had also celebrated their Golden Anniversary. This was a memorable weekend for many reasons. The venue was Casal dei Fichi’ a beautifully situated farmhouse, in the Marche countryside. Our suite was very comfortable, spacious and well appointed.
Our hosts were Ian and Bob. Their welcome and care for our enjoyment were exemplary..
The arranged visits to several varied restaurants gave us a taste of the good food and wine of the area. A wine tasting evening and a visit to the impressive Usami Ronchi Winery, Ancona were both enjoyable and informative.The olive oil tasting introduced another product of the area. This was further emphasized by the opportunity to pick olives at Casal dei Fichiand view their pressing locally.
The relaxed atmosphere shared with our friends, other guests and local visitors added to the overall experience of our visit to Casal dei Fichi in Le Marche.
An added pleasure was not having to drive or find our own way!
The inconvenient cancelled Ryanair return flight does not diminish our happy experience during this weekend. Ian and Bob helped to book a hotel, and find and book another flight home from Rome.

Mashindi 17/11/13 (Tripadvisor comment)

Non Pareil

Our second gourmet weekend, this time with friends to celebrate our Golden Wedding Anniversaries, yes we have known each other that long.

A wonderful few days, great food and drink, olive oil tasting, cooking (CDF ran out of gas during this but neighbours rallied round and rescued this) – a tribute to how well Bob and Ian have integrated into the local community. On to olive picking and a visit to a vineyard with yet another fabulous meal.
Great apartments, fantastic hosts, but Ryanair did their best to wreck the experience on the way back by cancelling our flight due to the weather, admittedly the previous night had been seriously stormy. It didn’t stop a Lufthansa flight though!
Bob and Ian stepped in and rescued us by booking a hotel in Ancona and getting us a Ryanair flight (at a ridiculous price) from Rome to Stansted the following night. We actually quite enjoyed the train journey from Ancona to Rome – eventually getting back to Stansted 30+ hours later than expected.
Would we go back? – yes but we would make a serious attempt to avoid Ryanair.
Trip Advisor does not offer enough stars to reflect the care received from Bob and Ian we cannot recommend the highly enough.

Forders 16/11/13 (Tripadvisor comment)

Gourmet olive Weekend

This weekend came highly recommended by friends. We were not disappointed!

We enjoyed every aspect of our stay. Bob and Ian are excellent hosts and gave us five star care. Our apartment was inviting, comfortable and equipped to a high standard. We ate sumptuous food in a variety of restaurants, some in quite glorious settings. In between all that eating we visited a beautiful theatre, explored an ancient Roman water system, relaxed at a wine tasting, harvested an olive tree and saw the results of our labours turned into oil at a local olive oil factory. And if that wasn’t enough, we had an excellent cooking lesson from a local chef and ate our efforts afterwards. it was an action packed and fun filled weekend!

We are now looking forward to visiting Casal dei Fichi next year for a week’s walking and sightseeing.

PatB 6/11/13 (Tripadvisor comment)

Gourmet Olive Weekend

This was our third stay at Casal dei Fichi, a charming Italian farmhouse which is divided into 6 luxury appartments overlooking the beautiful Marche countryside. This time it was for an all-inclusive short break with no worries about driving as our hosts were waiting for us at the airport and drove us around all weekend. As well as being wined and dined in some fantastic restaurants we also had a meal cooked for us by a charming Italian chef, picked olives, watched oil production at the press, had a cookery lesson, enjoyed wine tasting at a local vineyard, visited Fermo and toured the theatre. The accommodation at Casal dei Fichi is spacious, comfortable and the views are stunning. For anyone who hasn’t visited the area before, this weekend break would be the perfect introduction to sample what Le Marche has to offer, and to try the fabulous local foods and wines. Owners Bob and Ian go out of their way to make your stay everything you want it to be and are a wealth of information about this beautiful part of Italy. Like many of CDF’s guests, we look forward to returning.

Springer1 5/11/13 (Tripadvisor comment)

Keep it under your hat

Each year they say they won’t do it again. You can see why – it’s a lot for them to do in a short time! Each year they do do it again – it’s so much fun. We went to Bob and Ian’s “Gourmet Weekend” at the beginning of November. We were collected from the airport in time for lunch out on Friday and delivered back to the airport on Monday after a visit to the local miller to see your olives changed into oil. We were taken to five different delightful local restaurants for Menu Degustazione. The emphasis was on local Marche products (wine, olive oil etc.). One of the mornings, our group of eight had a masterclass from a local chef, who then served us the super lunch “we” had prepared. We had a winetasting visit to a local winery. We picked Casal dei Fichi olives and came away with bottles of olive oil. All excellent but you need to have fasted for several days beforehand and don’t plan anything for the evening you get back!

All of this as part of the family – Bob and Ian, two friendly dogs, a cat and 4 chickens. We stayed in one of their well-appointed holiday flats in the farmhouse they renovated a few years ago. Lovely views over the garden, swimming pool, the countryside and away to the hills. Marche is still relatively off the tourist track and Casal dei Fichi is clearly a great place to explore it from – so keep it under your hat.

SXDave 5/11/13 (Tripadvisor comment)

Gourmet weekend par excellence

An out-of-season special event for 8 people to discover and enjoy Le Marche, it’s people, food and wine. Foraging and cooking lessons include! Expertly organised by the owners; totally enjoyable! A real voyage of discovery with super memories and new delights to take home.Thanks!

llo1846 2/5/13 (Tripadvisor comment)

 

A perfect holiday

We just enjoyed a wonderful 4 day holiday at Casal dei Fichi with hosts Ian and Bob. Wonderful scenery, excellent meals at a variety of restaurants, a wine tour, a chance to pick olives and then to see first hand how olive oil is produced. The apartment was tastefully decorated and had everything we could possibly need (if only we could have stayed longer) while Ian and Bob were exceptional hosts. Highly recommended.
Lynda and Ban

Lynda 1943 13/11/11 (Tripadvisor comment)

 

A great weekend in a beautiful place

I went to Casal dei Fichi for one of their “Gourmet Olive” weekends. The weekend was not especially gourmet (though there was lots of great food) nor was it especially olive, but it was probably all the better for being neither of these things, and was extremely enjoyable.

The location is in the Marche region of Italy, a rural place of tradition, a slower pace of life, and beautiful hilltop towns. It is also about a 30 minute drive to some great coastal villages, which we visited for one of our meals. The region is great to escape the pressures and pace of modern city life. It is like Tuscany with far fewer tourists and lower prices.

During our weekend we visited a number of local restaurants, ranging from cheap local places to more high end. All were very good, our hosts had chosen extremely well to give us variety, local cuisine, good fine and wine in excellent locations.

We also visited Civitanova, a local town with a market, and Loreto, an important catholic shrine.
On the first day we visited Umani Ronchi, one of the areas bigger wine producers. The final day included a cookery lesson, which was fun and particularly notable for eccentric art club in which it is held. We finished with a “pizza party” at Casal dei Fichi on the final night, and on the final morning we did pick some olives and visited the local olive press.

Throughout the weekend our excellent hosts Bob and Ian, the owners of Casal dei Fichi were with us, guiding us, driving us to the different destinations and translating for us. There were 4 other guests, who provided good and interesting company.

What Bob and Ian have done in creating Casal dei Fichi from a derelict farmhouse is remarkable.
The 6 apartments are of excellent quality, large, and with high quality fixtures and fittings. There is a good sized 15m outdoor swimming pool (obviously not in use in November when we visited).
Whilst I was only personally interested in this special weekend holiday I cannot imagine that if you wanted a self catering apartment holiday in this location it would be possible to find better. It is located about 5 – 10 minutes drive from the nearest village, so you would need a car.

Bob and Ian are really friendly guys who work hard to ensure their guests have a great time. The weekend was really enjoyable, and a great introduction to this beautiful area.

nick fear  (Tripadvisor comment 2011)

 

 fantastic weekend break

We have just returned from the most fantastic “Gourmet Olive Weekend” at Casal dei Fichi. The appartment was superb with the most beautiful views of the le Marche countryside. It was a full weekend including a visit to a wine producer, a local market, the hilltown of Loreto, a brilliant cookery class, taking olives that we had picked to a local press and seeing how the oil is made, making pizzas in Bob & Ian’s outdoor pizza oven, as well as being wined and dined at the most wonderful restaurants. Bob and Ian were the perfect hosts and it was great to be ferried around all weekend with no worries about driving. The food was amazing and the fact that we are vegetarian made no difference whatsoever as our hosts ensured that we were catered for. Rest assured that whatever your diet, you will not go hungry on this weekend!! Casal dei Fichi has a lovely relaxed atmosphere and Balzo and Hattie, the delightful resident dogs, were always there to greet us when we returned from our trips. If you want a weekend break in a beautiful location, love good food, good wine, good company and don’t mind putting on a bit of weight, you will love this trip. We cannot recommend this highly enough and have already arranged to return again.

springer 8/11/11 (Tripadvisor comment 2011)

 

Great to be back

Recently returned from a long weekend at Casal dei Fichi, my third visit, but the first time taking part in the Gourmet Olive Weekend. Wonderful to enjoy 20-degree temperatures and warm sunshine in the middle of November! The trip was an absolute pleasure from start to finish, with hosts Ian and Bob guiding us around a succession of visits to vineyards, markets, the olive press and off-the-beaten-track restaurants. With our hosts taking care of the driving, we were able to enjoy the local wine with all our meals. Especially enjoyable, was the Italian cookery lesson and the lunch that followed.
The tranquil setting of the house and the wonderful views across the valley are one of the reasons I will keep returning to Casal dei Fichi. I tried to capture one particularly beautiful, misty sunrise with my camera, but the photos failed to do the view justice. Maybe next year, with a better camera I’ll have more luck.
As always, the apartment was comfortable and spotlessly clean. It’s a great place for a relaxing break and to explore an unspoilt part of rural Italy.

Peter (Tripadvisor comment 2010)

A perfect gourmet weekend

Thanks for making this weekend truly memorable, it certainly was the perfect gourmet weekend. Beautiful scenery, great food, good company and a beautiful place to sleep off all the food and wine!

Stephen & Eva (Guestbook 2010)

 

Fantastic eating and drinking weekend with great hosts and company

The gourmet olive weekend lived up to all expectations; even the weather was excellent. The accommodation is superb and the care and enthusiasm of Bob and Ian could not be surpassed.

David and Chris  2010(Tripadvisor comment)

 

A week to remember

A wonderful week themed around the olive. Very comfortable accommodation in a superb setting in a totally unspoilt part of Italy. Our hosts, Bob and Ian looked after us in an exemplary manner showing us many aspects of gourmet living in Marche.

Tim & Jill 2010 (Tripadvisor comment)

 

Our third visit and hopefully not our last

Just returned from a Gourmet Olive Weekend at Casal dei Fichi. As ever Bob & Ian were great hosts and had put together a superb itinerary including many memorable meals in local restaurants sampling the gastronomic delights of Le Marche as well as a trip to a local vineyard with delicious wine tasting, a vist to a local market and a morning at a quirky local cookery school where we all managed to turn out a delicious lunch with much help from Guida our tutor. We also tried our hand at olive picking and visited the local olive press to see the new harvest being crushed into glistening olive oil, bottles of which we have safely transported home to remind of us of lovely Le Marche during the winter months. A truly fabulous weekend, thanks to Bob & Ian.
This was our third visit to Casal dei Fichi over 18 months and we don’t plan for it to be our last. We think that speaks for itself, we love the place, the views are to die for and the apartments are excellent, equipped with everything you’ll need for your stay. Plus the weather was great too, a sunny 20c in November. Not sure how Bob & Ian fixed that!

Pam & David 2010 (Tripadvisor comment)

 

A perfect taster of le Marche

As a total Italophile this was my first visit to Le Marche area for the excellent Olive Oil Weekend based at Casa dei Fichi. Bob and Ian were the perfect hosts and their property is fabulous with stunning views. Each apartment is really well appointed and ideal for guests who enjoy cooking as the kitchens are so well equipped, down to the de Longhi coffee machine. Joy! An hour from Ancona airport the property is tucked away in the middle of the countryside, so a car is essential to explore the local area, which is rich in hill towns and with lots to see. The drive to the coast is also less than an hour and makes good beaches reasonably accessible. I will definitely return for more of la dolce vita!

Alison 2009 (Tripadvisor comment)

Fantastic weekend, great company, excellent organisation and wonderful facilities

The place, accommodation and hosts were first rate! We went on an “Olive weekend” but had much more. Wine tastings several gourmet meals and visits to local towns & villages. I couldn’t reccommend it more, it was just perfect – except for my waistline!!
Andy & Pam 2009  (Tripadvisor comment)

 

Make this your country house weekend  party  

November in Italy – time to pick olives – that was the pretence of the weekend, but really it was a weekend of good food, good wine and good company – enabled by the ever efficient but somewhat disturbing Ryanair flight from london to ancona.
Bob and Ian have a great place – overlooking a view that you can just sit and watch for hours. their apartments are spacious, well designed and each has its own outdoor siting space, although on our visit the roof terrace that was attached to our room was of limited attraction due to the inclement weather.
The olive weekend was great – and it included a cookery lesson which means the end of bought- gnochi , some olive picking and olive pressing – the olive oil gift was delicious- but we look forward to returning for a week in the summer next year once we have lost those extra pounds put on over the weekend.
Do visit but leave room for us to return.

Jill & Ian 2009 (Tripadvisor comment)
A wonderful break

Yet another wondeful break. The olive weekend was an absolute delight, organised and yet casual. I particularly enjoyed Sunday – the demo, the cooking, the eating and he picking ofthe olives.

this is our 5th visit, 2nd this year and we love coming here. Thanks again for a great time and I am sure we have made some new friends in your other guests.

Susan and Colin 2009 (Guestbook)

 

Very enjoyable gourmet weekend

This is my fourth visit to Casal dei Fichi and this Olive/gourmet weekend certainly did not disappoint. From the point of being collected at Ancona airport everything was excellently arranged by Bob and Ian who are charming and talented hosts. The weekend started very promisingly with a stop for wine tasting and lunch just a short drive away from Ancona airport at a high quality winery (Umani Ronchi). This set the tone for an extremely enjoyable indulgent weekend of eating and drinking. The venues we visited were carefully chosen, varied and interesting and there was not even any need to decide what to eat and drink as Bob and Ian had arranged in advance well chosen fixed menus and accompanying wines. Whilst the whole weekend was a joy particular highlights were the excellent fish lunch at a panoramic seaside restaurant in Numana and the cookery class/demonstration and resultant five course lunch on the Sunday. Every time I return to Casal dei Fichi I see improvements which suggest that Bob and Ian will never “rest on their laurels”. This really is a delightful (albeit slightly off the beaten track) place to stay for a relaxing break and I will definitely be returning.

Geoff 2009 (Tripadvisor comment)

 

 Perfect for relaxing and eating and drinking

All the reviews are correct, nothing else you could want apart from an enforced diet when you get back to the UK.
We went on the gourmet olive break which was fabulous – great food, wine and company. A resounding success due to the lovely location and of course the hosts.

Gemma & Kevin  2009 (Tripadvisor comment)

 

Fabulous setting, fabulous food, fabulous hospitality

I leave Casal dei Fichi relaxed, replenished and with a few extra pounds it will take a while to work off. Ian and Bob, you’ve created something very special here.

Bob Maddams 2008 (Guestbook )

 

Olive discovery Weekend

Actually a bit of a misnomer, as this was a gourmet weekend covering all ap sects of Italian food and wine (including cooking your own at the quirky Arts Club) in an unspoilt corner of Italy. Picking olives on the estate and taking them to local press was definitely the highlight of the weekend though.
Hosts Bob & Ian were great fun and it felt like being on a farm with all the dogs and cats (chickens and other livestock also coming soon!!) A great break for singles as the supplement is very reasonable and you are guaranteed like-minded fellow guests with whom to share the experience.
Will definitely go back in the summer to enjoy the pool, the veg garden and the outdoor wood burning oven.

Lynne Lowrey 2008 (TripAdvisor comment)

 

A weekend filled with many pleasant memories

My wife and I have just returned from Bob and Ian of Casal dei Fichi’s “Olive Discovery Weekend.” However, It was more than just about olives. We discovered the fantastic wines and food of this little known region. We helped to make one of the meals under the expertise of a local chef. We even picked some olives from the property and saw them crushed in the local mill.
How satisfying to have the oil from the olives that you picked yourself. Our hosts made it all so interesting and special. To also stay at their luxury apartments and to wake every day to the fantastic view of the hills and mountains of the region.
We are back home but still have the memories and olive oil to remind us of a special weekend.

Douglass Lee 2008  (TripAdvisor comment) 

 

A lovely weekend

Thank you so much for a lovely weekend. You deserve all the compliments anyone can offer. We wish you lots more sucess.

Marian and Conrad Gold  2008 (Guestbook)
A fantastic packed weekend

Thank you guys so much for a wonderful belated birthday celebration. It has been a fantastic packed weekend incorporating so much of the local area – a real flavour of Le Marche followed by rest and relaxation, all in amazing warth, clear skies, beautiful scenery and such a comfortable and well planned apartment.

Your Olive weekend is a definite must, your hospitality and helpfulness at all times fantastic. you have made our break very special. We will be back.

George and Jane Westwell 2008 (Guestbook)

 

Gourmet

Great fun, fabulous food (and lots of it), very comfortable and good company.  All of this set in beautiful Italy – what more could one need.

Charles Harbord-Hammond 2008 (Guestbook)

 

Olive weekend

I spent a wonderful holiday at Casal dei Fichi during the second Olive Weekend organized in November 2008. Everything was perfectly arranged to make our holiday as good as possible. This time of the year still offers mild temperatures and magic colours in the landscape.
The Casale is set in the middle of a beautiful and peaceful valley, covered with olive trees and, in summer, with bright sunflowers. the Casale consists of six luxurious apartments, fully equipped with all the comforts. The rooms are big and bright, with a full view on the marvelous hilly landscape, typical of this part of Le Marche. The atmosphere is cosy and familiar thanks to the kindness of the two owners, Bob and Ian, who are always ready and happy to help you to feel comfortable. Although I could not use it in the middle of November, there is a beautiful pool where to refresh during hot summer days.
I would recommend this Casale to anyone visiting this part of the region, both for a short holiday and for a longer staying, to take a perfect break and enjoy the beauties of this region at its best!

Lucia Cattaneo 2008 (TripAdvisor comment)