Drinks to enjoy in Ascoli Piceno

The wine Rosso Piceno, and the liquor Anisetta are two famous local drinks you can enjoy in Ascoli Piceno… Ready to order?

Marche is a very interesting region, often underrated and not very well known… However, it has a great coastline and also some amazing wine appellation like Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC, Lacrima di Morro d’Alba DOC, and Serrapetrona DOC.
Ascoli Piceno lies almost on the Southern border of the region, in the inland on the same latitude than San Benedetto del Tronto which is the sea town in the province.

Enjoy drinks in the gorgeous Piazza del Popolo in Ascoli Piceno
Enjoy drinks in the gorgeous Piazza del Popolo in Ascoli Piceno – Poster by Riccardo Guasco – Courtesy Silvio Meletti distillery

White wines

There are 3 main white grape varieties that are cultivated around Ascoli Piceno (Trebbiano Toscano, Pecorino, and Passerina) and 2 wine appellations only for white wines (Falerio DOC and Terre di Offida DOC). Passerina gives also very interesting sparkling wines.

Red wines

Local red wines from the area are produced inside the Rosso Piceno DOC appellation and in the Offida DOCG. The main grape varieties in these 2 wines are Montepulciano, and Sangiovese.

Liqueur drinks to enjoy in Ascoli Piceno: Anisetta

One of the masterpieces of Piazza del Popolo is the Caffè Meletti: one of the oldest Italian Cafe opened in 1907 by Silvio Meletti, founder of the local distillery. The bar is in art deco: beautiful and elegant like the beginning of the past century was.

The people of Ascoli Piceno consider the square and this building – which was in origin the town’s Post Office and were transformed by Meletti in an elegant commercial operation – a unique venue for social life.
Not only the locals love sitting at its table: Hemingway, Mascagni, Guttridge, Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir were amongst the most illustrious “representatives” that enjoyed the locale.
On the facade of the building, it reads “ANISETTA MELETTI”. 

Anisetta in Piazza del Popolo in Ascoli Piceno – Courtesy by Silvio Meletti Distillery

Altought Meletti was not the first producer of Anisetta, he was the one who gave fame to this liqueur in Ascoli and in the world.
Anisetta Meletti is a bottle you will find not only in bars and restaurants but in every single house of the Piceno area. And Silvio Meletti started from the family tradition: he learned from his mother and he was “lucky” that the main ingredient, the green anise (Pimpinella anisum), was of extremely high quality in the Ascoli area. In fact, it benefits from the extraordinary local terroir, rich in clay, that enhances the aromaticity of the green anise, so much that in Ascoli this pimpinella anisum is two or three times more fragrant than the anise in other Mediterranean areas. So, for this reason, the Anisetta is the first choice among the drinks to enjoy in Ascoli Piceno.

How to drink Anisette

The Anisetta (anisette) is essentially a digestivo, so it is meant to uplight the stomach after a meal. Anise in fact is known to aid with intestinal disorders. The Greek mathematician Pythagoras was the first to state that anise would prevent belching and stomach pain. In Rome, anise was used in a sweet cake at the end of banquets to aid in digestion.

So one of the most common way to enjoy Anisette is together with coffee, which is also the beverage that define the end of a meal.

Anisette can be poured inside the coffee, which become a “caffe’ corretto” (you will be ordering a “Caffe’ corretto con Anisetta, per favore”😉). Or it can be used as “ammazzacaffe'”, which means that the Anisette will be poured in the espresso cup after you finish to drink it, and it will litterally “rinse” the cup, mixing with some of the leftover coffee drops and sugar.
Always linked to the tradition of having Anisetta with coffee, you can also order an “Anisetta con le mosca”, meaning “with the fly”, which is served as straight Anisetta with a coffee bean in the glass.

If you come earlier in the evening, you can try the Anisetta as aperitivo with the addition of some sparkling water, also called seltz. One curiosity is that the anisette reacts on contact with fresh water or ice, taking on a strange color tending to pearl gray. The cause is attributable to the active ingredient of anise, ananol, which forms opaque crystals in contact with water / ice. Talking about ice, at the caffe Meletti, you can step up to the gelato window and get a scoop of anisetta ice cream. It’s really good.

Head to the page of the Anisetta to learn its secrets and find some other cocktail drinks that you can enjoy in Ascoli Piceno…and not only here.

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