Pizza night in the Italian countryside

Today is Thursday. I wish I were at La Tavola Marche, a wonderful agriturismo and cooking school in Le Marche, one of Italy’s least known regions – and, as it happens, a wonderful place to have pizza in Italy.

pizza in Italy

You see, every Thursday, Ashley and Jason Bartner organizes pizza night at their agriturismo. And it doesn’t hurt to have a chef in charge, a chef with years of experience working at top notch restaurants in New York and San Francisco.

Jason believes in the slow food movement, in cooking with the seasons and keeping it simple. You won’t find pizzas with everything here. Instead, each pizza has just a few ingredients, all fresh from the local meat and cheese market and from the garden.

Pizza night at La Tavola Marche, chef: Jason Bartner

While Jason cooks the pizzas in a wood-fired oven outdoors, we sit at a large table with other guests, friends and neighbours. On a lovely June evening, we counted five nationalities around the table: Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway and the USA were all represented, a miniature UN we were.

Pizza night at La Tavola Marche

But enough about us. This is about pizza. Pizza in Italy! And wine. And dessert. Then it’s about more wine and yummy liqueurs, just to digest it all, you understand.

Pizza night at La Tavola Marche

Sadly, I don’t have any photos of cooked pizzas. Each vanishes almost as soon as it is brought to the table: roasted pepperoni, salami, melt-in-your-mouth prosciutto.

You’re vegetarian, you say? Fear not. My favourite of the evening: potato pizza! Also known as pizza biancha, white pizza. It’s incredibly delicious. And very simple: thinly sliced potatoes, ricotta cheese, arugula lettuce, olive oil, salt and pepper. That’s it.

Another favourite is onion pizza, almost as simple.

Pizza night at La Tavola Marche

Then there’s wine: yummy house wines!

antipasti and house Montepulciano Lentil salad and house Verdicchio

For dolce, sweet, there’s tiramisu. Normally, I don’t like tiramisu. Yet this one I ate so quickly I forgot to take a photo. Instead, dear reader, I’ll share the recipe with you. Straight from the horse’s mouth – or rather, from Jason’s magical kitchen, here’s the world’s best tiramisu.

Ashley serves home made digestivo made from nuts and berries growing around the house. My fave is nocino, walnut liqueur. Others prefer brugnolino, plum. Of course, you can never go wrong with limoncello.

La Tavola Marche, home made limoncello

The 95 % alcohol used for soaking fruits and nuts can be bought at the hardware store. Same place you can buy chickens.

La Tavola Marche
Early morning at La Tavola Marche

Disclosure: I was a guest of La Tavola Marche. However any opinion expressed is of course entirely, yummily, delectably my own.

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  1. inka 4 August 2011 at 1444 - Reply

    Serenity, good food and international company??? How, did you say, can I get there? BTW, the only good thing which happened to me in Naples was the onion pizza. I love it.

  2. Marie R. 4 August 2011 at 1457 - Reply

    Oh my god, this sounds too divine for words!

  3. neha 4 August 2011 at 1530 - Reply

    This looks so inviting!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 4 August 2011 at 1545 - Reply

      Thanks guys. It was a wonderful evening!

  4. Barbara 4 August 2011 at 1600 - Reply

    You know, when I went to Italy, THIS is what I was expecting. I didn’t get it. Got rude waiters, overpriced food and very very small hotel rooms.
    Tell me, Sophie, how do you get this experience? It sounds like the most fabulous day.

  5. Italian Notes 4 August 2011 at 1600 - Reply

    Sounds and looks really tempting.

  6. Ana 4 August 2011 at 1701 - Reply

    I’m green with envy!

  7. The Travel Chica 4 August 2011 at 1707 - Reply

    That is just the style of pizza I love. Looks delicious! I would love to attend this pizza night.

  8. Jeremy Branham 4 August 2011 at 2021 - Reply

    Believe it or not, the only pizza I eat is homemade. I don’t like pizza from the stores because they are too greasy. Pizza made by hand tastes to much better. These look delicious!

  9. Cathy Sweeney 4 August 2011 at 2037 - Reply

    Pizza night at La Tavola Marche looks wonderful. Love the idea of the mini U.N. — how fun and interesting. Delicious photos.

  10. Louise 4 August 2011 at 2311 - Reply

    What a wonderful discovery – theat house and land looks so inviting. I’m going to attempt a pizza biancha right now.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 4 August 2011 at 2337 - Reply

      @Louise – Do make one! It’s surprisingly easy – even for someone like me who is seriuosly challengeed in the kitchen 🙂

  11. Now this looks perfect! The last picture is so inviting. I used to prefer pizzas piled high but recently have become more a fan of the minimalist pizzas. You can really taste everything more clearly.

  12. Michael Hodson 5 August 2011 at 0942 - Reply

    You had me at pizza. Damn it. Now I am hungry again.

  13. […] Sophie’s World – Pizza night in the Italian Countryside […]

  14. Those pizzas look AMAZING! YUM!!


  15. Tim B. 5 August 2011 at 1620 - Reply

    Love this article and the atmosphere it conveys! Love the pizza (potato pizza sounds too yummy), love that beautiful house, and not least, I adore the fact that you can buy spirits and chickens at the hardware store… so quirky, so very Italian…

  16. Christina 5 August 2011 at 1728 - Reply

    I’d love to do this. And I really like the pizzas with only a few ingredients, so you can really savour their taste. Yummy pictures!

  17. Kelly 5 August 2011 at 1847 - Reply

    This is like something out of a movie! Amazing!

  18. walkingontravels 5 August 2011 at 1859 - Reply

    You are killing me! This looks so amazing. I’m already full from lunch and yet I want to eat again. I’m trying very hard not to look up the next flight to Italy. Never mind that the baby is sleeping and my hubby was on a red eye to meet us out east this week and is passed out. They can stay here. I’m going to get that pizza!!!

  19. Just gorgeous! I love the agriturismos of Italy. It brings the local food movement to life!

  20. Christy @ Technosyncratic 5 August 2011 at 2127 - Reply

    Can’t. stop. salivating!

    The best meal I’ve ever had was a margarita pizza in some hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Naples, Italy. The next day I tried to go back and couldn’t find it… and the next day as well. Before I die I HAVE to find that place again. The grim reaper is just going to have to wait.

  21. Sonja 6 August 2011 at 0031 - Reply

    This is too good to be true. This is getting bookmarked for sure and put at the top of the travel list. Yum.

  22. Agriturismo and cooking school La Tavola Marche, Le Marche, Itlay 6 August 2011 at 1007 - Reply

    […] feast for dinner. Or perhaps you might like to join other guests and neighbors for the weekly pizza night around a long table in the stone courtyard, nibbling and chatting long into the warm Italian […]

  23. robin 6 August 2011 at 1121 - Reply

    I love the slow food movement 🙂

    This place looks perfect – can I get the onion pizza home delivered?

  24. Emilia 6 August 2011 at 1731 - Reply

    That’s a wonderful post. Just watching at the photos, I feel hungry and wish I could be there right now. I’ve been just once to the Italian countryside, in Tuscany. That was 2 years ago. We rented a small farmhouse through but sadly we had no chance to participate in making pizzas. Instead there was plenty of wine to enjoy.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 6 August 2011 at 1800 - Reply

      @Emilia – wine’s just as good 🙂

  25. Vivienne @ The V Spot 6 August 2011 at 1843 - Reply

    I love Italy, and my next trip needs to be something slow and easy like that. Yum!
    Here from R We There Yet Mom? Thanks for sharing those fab pix.

  26. Sailor 6 August 2011 at 2224 - Reply

    That looks like a wonderful set up for a nice pizza dinner.

  27. jade 8 August 2011 at 1137 - Reply

    This sounds like the best night ever! ah, now I want pizza!

  28. Laurel 9 August 2011 at 0659 - Reply

    This sounds like my idea of a perfect evening and I’m very curious about the potato pizza.

  29. Balu 9 August 2011 at 1116 - Reply

    always love italian pizzas with pastas….
    mouth watering pics………

    visit india… visit my blog to see more…

  30. Andrea 9 August 2011 at 1128 - Reply

    I love pizza – these look so fresh! Ingredients really make it…

  31. Anna 9 August 2011 at 1202 - Reply

    These pizzas look just sooo yummie! What a great discovery you have made, I absolutely love it all!

  32. Sherry 10 August 2011 at 2359 - Reply

    I am soooo jealous! The food, the drinks, the location, the atmosphere blends so well. It almost appears you’ve stepped into Italian heaven. If I could have pizza any way, it would be cooked in a wood burning oven, eaten outdoors, with some good wine. You got it all in one place. Lucky, Sophie.

  33. James Cook 14 August 2011 at 0001 - Reply

    That sounds amazing. I miss Italian food so much. I spent 2 months in florence and really crave a pizza!!

  34. wandering educators 14 August 2011 at 0250 - Reply

    i can’t WAIT to go visit ashley and jason. what an incredible place (and food!)

  35. Anne-Sophie Redisch 14 August 2011 at 2116 - Reply

    Thanks for your comments, everyone 🙂

  36. I had the best potato and rosemary pizza when I was in Italy. A unique combination that tastes fantastic!

  37. Nomadic Samuel 22 September 2011 at 0802 - Reply

    What a delicious looking pizza! I love the shots of it being made. Unfortunately in Korea the pizza here tastes like cardboard pie 😛

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 24 September 2011 at 1948 - Reply

      @Nomadic Samuel – probably best to stick to kimchi in Korea, eh? 🙂

  38. 50+ and on the Run 5 November 2011 at 0426 - Reply

    Maybe everyone already knows this–but my favorite pizza shop will sell you a ball of dough for about $3. I can make really delicious and cheap! pizza at home. My favorite is topped with fresh sliced tomatoes, arugula and fresh mozzarella. Couldn’t be easier.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 12 November 2012 at 1628 - Reply

      Sounds yummy 🙂

  39. agriturismi marche 24 May 2012 at 1751 - Reply

    very very wonderfull pizza for my eyes 🙂 , compliments for great photo

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 25 May 2012 at 1628 - Reply

      Thanks 🙂

  40. Terry Denton 6 July 2012 at 1839 - Reply

    I am viewing your pictures just a little before lunch time. Exceedingly cruel! ;o)

    Congrats on making the “100 Reasons To Travel” list by Trip Logic – As a fairly new blogger, I was pleased to make the list as well (# 16).

    If you have a moment, check out my admittedly quirky travel blog at It’s a fun read, or meant to be at least. ;0)

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 12 November 2012 at 1626 - Reply

      Sorry for the late reply – and discovery of that great list. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  41. 30Traveler 12 November 2012 at 1602 - Reply

    Even as a vegan, those look delicious!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 12 November 2012 at 1627 - Reply

      Really gorgeous pizzas they were. As a vegan, could you eat the potato pizza, I wonder? Perhaps one without the ricotta cheese?

  42. […] Creativity gives you the chance to savor good food. […]

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