May is the month when we visit the small, family-run facility in Le Marche in Italy that does such a great job of making our more formal footwear. The Marche is a relatively unknown region on the Adriatic coast that boasts great beaches, myriad medieval towns atop up-and-down hills, and wonderful food, all of which we love.
Our base for our stay is Civitanova Marche, the picturesque seaside resort town that doubles as a busy fishing port. Of course, being a fishing port makes Citanova a great place to eat. And especially so from May until October, which is the season for moscioli, the wild mussels that grow on the rocks all along the coast of the nearby Monte Conero natural park.
The harvesting of the moscioli is a tough job, with the fishermen clambering up or diving down at the submersed feet of the rocks, rakes and nets in hand. Once there were approaching a hundred boats taking these men out, and now there are a handful. But the fruits of their labours, intensely sweet and saline, remain as treasured as ever.
Says our Production Manager Laura (from Padua, up the coast in the north-east of Italy): “I love travelling to this part of Italy because the landscape here is so pretty and varied. I only wish I could enjoy Civitanova Marche more, but when I travel to see our shoemakers there just isn’t enough time. To make up for that, at the end of the day I always treat myself to a very nice dinner at one of the many small restaurants in the town. They all serve local, super-fresh food cooked simply, the Italian way, moscioli and more!”
If you’d like to try moscioli the traditional way (or mussels for that matter, as moscioli tend not to travel too far from Le Marche) then simply pan-cook them to open in a generous amount of olive oil and lemon juice and give them a good dusting of fine chopped parsley and black pepper.