Like how it happened for the Liberty style, splendidly represented by the insides of the “Caffè Meletti”, the beginning of the 1900s were the years of the great success of the anises and of the anisettes in Mediterranean Europe, liqueurs made for conversations and worldly life. For this liqueur, that was and still is a symbol of Ascoli Piceno, a popular and rural root can be tracked down, although a cosmopolitan matrix can also be found: its popularity grew in the coffees of a lot of European cities in the second half of the XIX century and at the beginning of the XX.
A fortune tied up to the art of the conversation and to the worldly life. It’s no accident that Caffè Meletti came to life between the end of the XIX century and the beginning of the last century, going alongside the success of the anisette that Silvio Meletti proposed to the ones who stopped to buy cigars and to chat in a small shop of tobacco products, a few steps away from the location of the actual Caffè Meletti (the historical coffee shop has been founded and managed for a long time by the same family that manifactured the homonym Anisette).
Anise and anisette come into play in different types of desserts characterized by a cool and slightly alcoholic taste, tied mainly to festivities and particular seasons; it is also traditionally used as “ammazzacaffè“, a digestive after the meal. At the end of a truly ascolan lunch, starting with stuffed and fried tender olives, continuing with “spaghetti di magro all’ ascolana” with green olives and tuna and with a pan-seared rabbit or a fry-up of lamb and vegetables, not without a taste of pecorino cheese of the Sibillini and pink apples, there isn’t anything better than an anisette!
The ascolan way of cooking, naturally, includes a lot of other specialties, starting from the meats (lonza, ciauscolo, salami, sausages of meat and liver, ham and so on) that, as from sharecropping tradition, pace the various seasons of the year, to the polenta, seasoned in various ways, from the same sausages or pig ribs to dried cod. The latter is present in ascolan cuisine very frequently, alongside tender green olives, in many dishes.