Monday, November 22, 2010

Seasonal Pictures - Fall & La Sagra del Tartufo

Andrea and I spent the last two Sundays in the picturesque village of Savigno at their annual Sagra del Tartufo. Sagre are festivals that are typically held in small villages to celebrate a local product including those that are planted and harvested (squash and pumpkins for example), collected or foraged (like the tartufo) or prepared and cooked (like tortellini). Spending a Saturday or Sunday exploring a village and enjoying the goods at their Sagra has become one of my all time favorite things to do here in Italy and this (late fall and early winter) is the peak season for Sagre!

This is the second year in a row that we have gone to Savigno for the Sagra del Tartufo and it has become something for which I anxiously await. The great access to truffles here still absolutely astounds me. In the states truffles are such an exclusive product that they are reserved for only a very few. Here they are everywhere and so much more afforable in comparision! Truffles are offered in restaurants on everything from steaks, to pasta and even on pizza! The varieties of different truffle products is also outstanding! First, there are the whole truffles for sale

The truffles on the right are the black truffles which can be cooked and have a more subtle, less intese flavor. The truffles on the left are the prized white truffle which have a strong, intense flavor and smell. These truffles cannot be cooked but will be shaved on top of the already prepared food.

Now when I said affordable I meant in comparision to the states. As you can see, the truffles are a very desired and respected product and the larger ones demand quite a big price tag. I always find it interesting to watch the truffle sellers carefully weighing, measuring and examing their truffles much the same way a jeweler might exam a diamond. There is a true sense of respect and reverence towards the truffles.

Now if you are not in the market for a truffle in the raw, as I found out that I am not after Andrea bought me one last year and I was too intimidated to use it so it went bad in our cupboard, there are many other wonderful truffle products to buy...

Truffle sausage
(That is one long sausage and the woman selling it simply cuts off how much you want!)

Truffle Cheese
(which are actually the small rounds to the right - the huge round of cheese was just too impressive not to get a picture of. Also check out the huge piece of Coppa di Testa in the back. It is delicious but I am a little afraid to know what it is made of as the whole time I was eating it yesterday the boys err, I mean gentlemen I was with were teasing me about what I was eating. I told them better to just enjoy and remain in ignorant bliss.)
Truffle Eggs
(I find these to be truly amazing! The people that make these put the eggs and truffles into a big air tight, glass container and then seal it up. The truffles are so pungent that their smell/taste permeates the shell of the egg so that when the eggs are cooked they taste of truffles! I have yet to try a truffle egg but I am very curious.)

Then there are also many, many non-truffle delicacies to purchase as well...

More cheese (I think this Gorgonzola looks to die for) and more Coppa di Testa

Beautiful Tigelle
(think flat biscuit that are fantastic when they are hot and fresh with some sliced meat and cheese)
Exqusite fresh pasta

And candy pink Pesca
(These are a soft, cake like, cookies. The two halves are baked seperately and then soaked in liquor before being sandwhiched together with chocolate and then rolled in sugar - devine!)

This is my favorite part of Italy. I feel so grateful that there are small towns with real pride in what they make, forage and grow. It is in these towns that I feel a real, genuine sense of history, time, tradition and culture. None of this is done as a show or for tourists from faraway places. It is so very nice to be absorbed into the country and to intimately come to know the people and places that I feel make up the true Italy.


Rebecca Bright said...

Alex, I might have to unsubscribe from your blog... it makes me so hungry!

M. L. Benedict said...

Wonderful descriptions, wonderful photographs.