Monday, August 15, 2011

Sagra Season Begins!

August is usually fairly dead because while you are staying behind and working, taking care of kids, etc., everybody else is out having fun a getting a fab tan.  But according to this article, August is the beginning of sagra season in Italy, where towns celebrate local products, local saints, and/or local traditions with good food and lots of dancing.  Realizing this, I promptly did my research, and found two sagre going on this last weekend: the Festa del Ciclamino in Fontanelle di Conco and lucky enough the Gran Gala de Baccala in the next town over, in Gomarolo di Conco.  Sagra season begins!

First off is the Festa del Ciclamino, on its 60th iteration this year. I'm not exactly sure what the cyclamen has anything to do with the town's party, other than the fact that the plant blooms around late summer and early autumn.  Nevertheless, they serve a different grilled meat each night.  We went during their first night, when they were serving wild boar or cinghiale.

Plastic-covered tables and the inefficient service (which are to me part and parcel of the sagra experience by now) aside, the food is very good.  The meat was tender and moist, and the toasted bits were very flavorful.  I was tempted to go back on Sunday when they were serving up deer, but the hour-long drive made the choice not so appealing.  Although music usually accompanies the food, first night jitters must have gotten to the performers because they were for the most part a distraction than an enhancement to the experience.  Hopefully they had a better second night...

The next stop, just a few minutes down the road, was the Gran Gala de Baccala.  Unlike the previous festival, this one was decidedly bigger and more popular.  They even had a bus to ferry people from parking lots to festival grounds.  On a friday night, it was also the main focal point of the fun before the weekend, with locals from the town and the surrounding area coming out of the woodwork.  Families and the older folks came out first and had their spritz, then followed by the teenagers who were out in droves ready for a night out. 

The baccala vicentina was great, possibly the best I've ever had.  The fish was creamy, not too salty (not soaked long enough and the fish retains a lot of the salt it was cured on), and the sweetness of the peas was a nice complement.  But to be honest, as much as it pains me to say it, baccala vicentina is just not my thing.  I know that it's an iconic dish that Vicenza is hugely proud of, but it's much too much like tuna salad to me.  I have forced myself too long to like the dish, and as good as this last iteration was, it will be the last time I think that I will have it.

Now the bigoli con l'anatra, on the other hand, is a different story...

Edit (1 September 2011): Hey!

1 comment:

  1. Buongiorno, je découvre votre blog, bravo, a presto !