Nero Norcia 2017: Umbrian Black Truffles

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View of Norcia, Umbria

The Umbrian town of Norcia sits at the foot of the Monte Sibillini in the Valnerina River Valley. It’s about 45 minutes east of the famous music festival town Spoleto and near the Umbrian border with the Lazio and Le Marche regions. An ancient settlement, Norcia has found traces of human occupation from the Neolithic Age (approximately 10,000 BC – 2,000 BC). It’s a great base for hiking mountains and walking through the beautiful natural scenery of the Santa Scolastica plain.

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Piazza San Benedetto in Norcia;   Left: Palazzo Communale;   Right Church of San Benedetto

The shade of trees in the forests nearby harbor these fragrant and expensive mushrooms. Used raw or cooked they are often tossed with rice or pasta. Norcia’s foodie highlights are more than just it’s truffle production; the famous Norcinos (butchers) and their salumerie shops are not to be missed for further tastebud exploration.

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Nearby Castellucio di Norcia

#neronorcia #eventiumbria #umbria #italyfestivals #norcia

INFORMATION

2017 Nero Norcia Information

Umbria Tourism

@umbriatourism

Umbria Tourism on Facebook

ABOUT

Lisa M. Vogele is the author of Food & Folklore: A Year of Italian Festivals, a travel reference guide that “helps you go local” by incorporating festivals into your travel planning. The second book in her Food & Folklore Series on Festivals of Spain will hit the shelves in 2017. You can find out more information about Lisa’s books, custom itineraries and small group tours at Lisa’s Travel Guides.    BROCHURE: Fun with Food & Festivals Tours!

 PHOTO CREDITS:
VIEW OF NORCIA FROM FIELD:   LAVALNERINA.IT VIA FOTER.COM / CC BY
BLACK TRUFFLE:   MOEDERMENS VIA FOTER.COM / CC BY
EGG WITH SHAVED TRUFFLE:   NOCIVEGLIA VIA FOTER.COM / CC BY
TAGLIATELLE AL TARTUFO NERO:   UMBRIALOVERS VIA FOTER.COM / CC BY-SA
PIAZZA SAN BENEDETTO:   STEVECADMAN VIA FOTER.COM / CC BY-SA
CASTELLUCIO DI NORCIA:   PHOTO CREDIT: MOYAN_BRENN VIA FOTER.COM / CC BY

The Great Italian Food Fight

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Battle Aftermath

Oranges are the ammunition of this battle royale in the northern Italian town of Ivrea. Referred to as the “largest food fight” in Italy, the Battle of the Oranges engages over 5,000 participants inflicting pain by hurling 60 tons of blood oranges at each other. Ivrea, north of Turin and west of Milan, imports an entire train full of oranges from Sicily each year for the event.

The Battle is based on stories of real people from the rebellion 900 years ago. At this period in time, the “right of the first night” or jus primae noctae allowed the local Lord to sleep with a bride the night before her wedding. As the story goes, the mugnaia (miller’s daughter), went to the castle the night before her wedding, wielded a knife, murdered the Lord and cut his head off. The locals then started a three-day rebellion which is represented by the throwing of the oranges.

398726005_a7c96d4e35_bActivities for this Carnival period celebration started in January and culminate today and tomorrow with historical parades, feasts and of course, the famous orange fight this afternoon. Aranceri (orange handlers) on fifty carts battle the aranceri from the nine pedestrian teams. Spectators are strongly advised to purchase and wear at all times the beretto frigio; this red stocking cap identifies the innocent onlookers hoping to escape errant oranges. Nets are strung throughout the parade route with designated areas for spectators to gather beneath for protection. The orange throwing spectacle can be seen on Sunday (last night) and Monday nights (today) before dinner, refer to the full program schedule below for parade map and times.

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Castello di Ivrea

Historical Carnival of Ivrea – Information

Photo Credits:

BATTLE AFTERMATH – SEBASTIANO ROSSI VIA FOTER.COM / CC BY-ND
ORANGE THROWERS (LEFT) – SEBASTIANO ROSSI VIA FOTER.COM / CC BY-ND
ORANGE THROWERS (RIGHT) – PIGLIAPOST VIA FOTER.COM / CC BY-SA
SBANDIERATORI (FLAG THROWERS)- GIÒ-S.P.O.T.S. VIA FOTER.COM / CC BY
CASTELLO DI IVREA – GALLI LUCA VIA FOTER.COM / CC BY

 

It’s Gnocchi Friday (& More) in Verona!

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Carnevale Parade in Verona

If you are looking for an alternative to the carnevale crowds in Viareggio and Venice, Verona may hold the ticket. Gnocchi Friday in Verona is kind of like Fat Tuesday in New Orleans. It’s the first of FIVE days of celebration as the fun carnevale period ends and the Christian abstinence period of Lent begins. Verona is a city in the northern Italian province of Veneto, often thought of when Romeo and Juliet are mentioned.

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Il Papa del Gnoco

GNOCCHI FRIDAY  “Venerdi Gnoccolare” Starting around noon on Friday floats start to gather for their journey through downtown, starting around 2pm. Led by “Il Papa Gnocco” (the Father of Gnocchi), 70 floats participate along with bands and entertainers in front of 100,000+ strong crowd. The 6 km parade ends at Piazza Bra, but head over to Piazza Zeno where the real fun begins in my opinion (FOOD!). Gnocchi is made by mixing potatoes and flour, cutting into small squares and then boiling in water. It can be served with a variety of toppings; the Veronese eat it with a meat ragu and even have their own word for the after-effect of eating too much, GNOCCOLONITA!

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Arena di Verona

The best of the rest:

HISTORICAL REGATTA (SATURDAY)  “Regata Storica Sull’Adige”  Since the fifteenth century, Prince Reboano arrives by canoe on Saturday afternoon and leads a masked carnival procession through the Filippini district and ending in Piazza Bra.

CARNIVAL ON LISTON (SUNDAY)  “Carnevale sul Liston”  A Carnival party begins in Piazza bra late in the morning and moves through the other districts of the City in the afternoon.

FEAST OF SANTO STEFANO (MONDAY)  “Luni Pignatar”  Traditional soup and plenty of music are on tap Monday afternoon in the Santo Stefano District of Verona.

FAT TUESDAY  “Martedi Grasso”  An afternoon party in the Porto San Pancrazio district on Shrove Tuesday begins at 2:30 pm and carries into the night.

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Gnocchi with Ragu

INFORMATION

Carnevale Verona Official Website (Italian)

Verona on Google Maps

ABOUT

Lisa M. Vogele is the author of Food & Folklore: A Year of Italian Festivals, a travel reference guide that “helps you go local” by incorporating festivals into your travel planning. The second book in her Food & Folklore Series on Festivals of Spain will hit the shelves in 2017. You can find out more information about Lisa’s books, custom itineraries and small group tours at Lisa’s Travel Guides.    BROCHURE: Fun with Food & Festivals Tours!

PHOTO CREDITS

Arena di Verona   rick ligthelm via Foter.com / CC BY

Gnocchi with Ragu    I am Jeffrey via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

All other photos from Carnevale Verona Official Committee

 

A Traveling Polenta Feast in Lazio

 

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Making Polenta in Sermoneta

William Caetani returned to his hometown of Sermoneta in 1503 after the death of the Borgia Pope Alexander VI and exile in Mantua and America. He brought with him maize (corn) seed, beginning a long history of polenta production in Italy. If you’ve ever made polenta, you are familiar with the long, continual stirring while cooking to prevent lumps from forming. It can be eaten hot like a porridge or allowed to cool and solidify. Once solid, it can be sliced and then grilled, fried or baked.

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Sagra della Polenta in Sermoneta

The local Polentara are polenta professionals with years of experience (and strong arms from all that stirring!). Though there are different varieties of polenta preparation and combinations with other foods throughout Italy, here in Lazio, the two most popular are topped with a tomato-based sauce enriched with pecorino cheese and a white sauce with garlic, olive oil, sausage, chiles, and bacon.

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Castello Caetani in Sermoneta

Sermoneta’s annual celebration of polenta occurs on the weekend closest to Sant Antonio Abate day (January 17th). This last Sunday, the 22nd, was the big day in Sermoneta and Droganello,  but the festival moves to nearby communities of Pontenuovo on the 29th of January, Sermoneta Scalo on February 5th and Tufette on February 12th.

INFORMATION

Official Program Sermoneta Polenta 2017

Google Map of Sermoneta

ABOUT

Lisa M. Vogele is the author of Food & Folklore: A Year of Italian Festivals, a travel reference guide that “helps you go local” by incorporating festivals into your travel planning. You can find out more information about Lisa’s books, custom itineraries and small group tours at Lisa’s Travel Guides.

PHOTO CREDITS

MAKING POLENTA IN SERMONETA    Erik il Rosso via Foter.com / CC BY-SA
SAGRA DELLA POLENTA IN SERMONETA   Erik il Rosso via Foter.com / CC BY-SA
CASTELLO CAETANI IN SERMONETA   Erik il Rosso via Foter.com / CC BY-SA
 @SermonetaTurism @Sermoneta_ @visit_lazio

 

Roasted Chestnuts and Savory Sausage South of Rome

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Panorama of Prossedi

The smell of roasting chestnuts wafting in the air always reminds me of the holidays. Tonight, that aroma is accompanied by the smell of grilled sausage for the residents of Prossedi at their annual sausage festival. The Sagra della Zazzicchia (Festival of Sausage) began at 7:00 PM in the central Piazza Umberto, filled with dancing and music.

Sausage contains a variety of meat and seasonings. The sausage served at Sagra della Zazzicchia  includes a seasoning of chili, salt and orange peel that is mixed in and sits overnight to marinate in the seasoning before being stuffed into its sausage casing the next day. The sausage cures for up to 4 days then is grilled and served with broccoli.

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Panorama of Prossedi Countryside

The Baronial Palace of Prossedi sits proud and dominant on Piazza Umberto. At one time the palace boasted a moat and a drawbridge. It has passed through the hands of several families and continues to be privately owned. Prossedi was founded in the 7th century by refugees from neighbor Priverno.  It sits on a hill overlooking the Amaseno Valley, less than two hours south of Rome.

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Palazzo Baronale in Prossedi

INFORMATION

Map Prossedi, Lazio Region, Italy

ABOUT

Lisa M. Vogele is the author of Food & Folklore: A Year of Italian Festivals,  a travel reference guide that “helps you go local” by incorporating festivals into your travel planning. You can find out more information about Lisa’s books and “Fun with Food & Festivals” Tours at Lisa’s Travel Guides.

PHOTO CREDITS

Panorama of Prossedi   Croberto68 via wikimedia commons

Panorama of Countryside at Prossedi   andynax via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Palazzo Baronale  Raoul De Michelis via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Clocktower Entry Gate on Piazza Umberto   SignorC via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Sausages on the Grill   Julien Menichini via Foter.com / CC BY

Roasted Chestnuts   paolo.r via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

@Visit_Lazio

Savory Salame & Gnocco Fritto Fantasy

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Gnocco Fritto with Salame and Lard Appetizers

Gnoccho, Salame e Fantasia” is a savory food feast dedicated to the gastronomic delight of salame on gnocco fritto (batter fried into a cracker). Rubiera hosts this food event as part of their December-long calendar of holiday events. When you see the word Gnocco your mind may travel immediately to gnocchi, the potato filled pasta. However, what we are talking about here is Gnocco Fritto, a crispy, fried dough in the shape of a cracker or pillow served as an appetizer with meats or lard. It has different names with slight recipe variations throughout the region: Gnoccho Fritto in Rubiera, Pinzino in Ferrara, and Chisolino near Piacenza. Flour, bacon fat or oil, milk, water, yeast and salt are mixed together to form a dough that rises over time. It is then rolled into a sheet, cut into triangles and rectangles and boiled in lard. The results are small pillows or crispy, cake-like crackers.

 

Rubiera is a town set in the countryside of the Emilia province of Emilia-Romagna with beautiful, portico-lined streets. Its original name was Corte de Herberia translated as “in the middle of the plain” in Celtic. Located along the ancient Via Emilia, it is about 30 miles northwest of the University city of Bologna. The Via Emilia is an ancient Roman trade route running from Piacenza to Rimini on the Adriatic Coast, where in ancient times, it connected to the Via Flaminia route to Rome.

Rubiera can easily be reached by car off of the A1 motorway that runs between Parma and Bologna off the Modena Nord exit. Consider visiting some nearby balsamic vinegar producers or visiting the Ferrari Museum in Maranello.

LINKS

Gnoccho, Salame e Fantasia Event Link

Rubiera, Reggio Emilia, Emilia Romagna Region on the map

Emilia Romagna Tourism site

ABOUT

Lisa M. Vogele is the author of Food & Folklore: A Year of Italian Festivals,  a travel reference guide that “helps you go local” by incorporating festivals into your travel planning. You can find out more information about Lisa’s books and “Fun with Food & Festivals” Tours at Lisa’s Travel Guides.

PHOTO CREDITS

Gnocco Fritto with Salame and Lard Appetizers   artnbarb via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Rubiera Porticos   Turismo Emilia Romagna via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Rubiera Street  Turismo Emilia Romagna via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Gnocco Fritto, Salame & Wine   thepinkpeppercorn via Foter.com / CC BY

Gnocco Fritto, Salame & Olive Oil   hotelrealfini via Foter.com / CC BY-ND

Forte di Rubiera   By I Sailko via Wikimedia Commons

Piazza Padella, Rubiera   I Sailko via Wikimedia Commons

 #Rubiera #TurismoEmiliaRomagna @ComuneRubiera @turismoER

 

Candelara by Candlelight in Le Marche

 

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A Snowy Night in Candelara

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the Marche region of Italy this weekend. The Italian medieval village of Candelara in Pesaro is bathed in candlelight 8 nights each November & December. “Candele a Candelara” (Candles to Candelara) is an Italian Christmas Market devoted to Candles. At 5:30 PM and 6:30 PM, all of the electric lights are turned off in the town and it is basked in the warm glow of candles for 15 minutes.  70 wooden houses line the streets and sell different, locally made goods and, of course, candles!  There are candle-making demonstrations, jugglers, violinists and other live entertainment. Each year, their own Santa Claus band, made up of 35 musicians in Santa Claus costumes, leads a procession through the streets in honor of Santa Lucia (Santa Claus is Babbo Natale in Italian). Several restaurants also serve dinners by candlelight, to continue the festivities inside.

Candelara in Pesaro is only about 10 km from the Adriatic Coastline, in the northernmost part of the Marche region. It is an area of rolling hills that transition into the coastline and known for its terrific beaches. Candelara has several interesting churches and a castle dating back to 400 AD. If you are interested in learning more about Candelara in depth, Il Ponticello, a local tour company is offering a walking tour that begins and ends at the candle market celebrations, includes local highlights and even a wine tasting stop (see Il Ponticello below) for 15 Euro.

“Candele a Candalara” takes place over eight days straddling the last weekend of November, and the first two weekends of December. The market is open from 10AM – 9PM on the following dates in 2016: NOV 26 & 27, DEC 3, 4, 8, 9, 10 & 11. Admission is 2.50 Euros for ages 13 and over (12 and under enter free).

INFORMATION

Candele a Candelara Website

Candele a Candelara Full Program

Il Ponticello Walking Tour

ABOUT

Lisa M. Vogele is the author of Food & Folklore: A Year of Italian Festivals,  a travel reference guide that “helps you go local” by incorporating festivals into your travel planning. You can find out more information about Lisa’s books and “Fun with Food & Festivals” Tours at Lisa’s Travel Guides.

PHOTO CREDITS

A SNOWY NIGHT CANDELARA   Niki Giada via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA
SANTO STEFANO IN CANDELARA   Gaspa via Foter.com / CC BY
STREET IN CANDELARA   Gaspa via Foter.com / CC BY
CANDELARA BY CANDELIGHT MONTAGE   Augustine Alessandroni, Edward Serretti, Silvano Spadoni via Pro Loco Candelara
 #destinazionemarche #candelara @pesaroeurbino @ilponticello

 

Dreaming of a Trip to Italy? Virtual Bookstore SALE & Signing – Order Now!

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Know anyone dreaming about a trip to Italy? Or perhaps you know someone that has been to Italy before but wants to experience something local and different?  Food & Folklore: A Year of Italian Festivals makes a great gift, stocking stuffer or addition to your travel bookshelf.

To celebrate the first anniversary of my Lisa Love’s to Travel blog, I’m having an online book signing event now through the end of December, 2016. All copies will be personally signed and shipped* at reduced prices in an all-inclusive flat rate.

One for $11   OR    Three for $22 (Buy 2 get 1 Free) 

Buy two for friends and get one free for yourself!

Click Here for Online Sale Details

*shipping to continental US destinations only via USPS media mail

November Festivals of Brisighella

brisighella_ra_pano_2Brisighella is a beautiful town situated on a hillside about one hour southeast of Bologna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. It hosts many wonderful food and folklore festivals throughout the year and in November there are four food festivals, one every Sunday to enjoy. These celebrations are collectively referred to as Quattro Sagre per Tre Colle (Four Feasts for Three Hills) referencing the hills that are part of the Brisighella landscape.

4817960056_646ea7e5a8_b-2NOVEMBER 6 – SAGRA del PORCELLO – Festival of Pork Products

The market opens at 8:00 AM displaying a variety of products made with pork. Later int the morning, from 11:00 AM and until 8:00 PM, food stands serve up pork prepared in the local traditions of the Faenza Apennines (mountains). In Piazza Carducci, expert butchers will give two demonstrations (at 10:00 AM & 3:00 PM) on how to work with/butcher pork. There will be folk performers and games throughout the town during the day. Nine different restaurants are participating in the festivals via menus highlighting pork products.

pera-volpina2NOVEMBER 13 – SAGRA della PERA VOLPINA e del FORMAGGIO STAGIONATO – Festival of Volpina Pears and Seasoned Cheese

This autumn fruit market highlights pears and cheese. Volpina pears are smaller, rounder and harder than the pears we are used to buying at our local supermarkets. They are boiled, cooked in wine, or baked before being eaten. Formaggio Stagionato is a hard, aged pecorino (sheep’s milk) cheese that is often enjoyed in combination with the pears.

11433752756_2b124dab53_b (2).jpgNOVEMBER 20 – SAGRA del TARTUFO – Festival of the Truffle

Sua Maestà il Tartufo (His Majesty the Truffle) of both the black (nero) and white (bianco) varieties are showcased on Sunday, November 20th. Dishes are served up at both food stands and restaurants all around town with truffles as the highlight.

olive-oilNOVEMBER 27 – SAGRA dell’ULIVO e dell’OLIO – Festival of Olive and Oil

There are two types of extra virgin olive oil manufactured in the Brisighella area: “Il Brisighello” and “La Brisighella“. The Brisighella product (ending in “A”) is a PDO Product (Protected Designation of Origin). PDO product designations guarantee the product was made in a certain geographic location and not falsely reproduced somewhere else. There are currently 138 DPO products from throughout Italy protected by this designation.

INFORMATION

Brisighella Map

Brisighella Information

ABOUT

Lisa M. Vogele is the author of Food & Folklore: A Year of Italian Festivals,  a travel reference guide that “helps you go local” by incorporating festivals into your travel planning. You can find out more information about Lisa’s books and “Fun with Food & Festivals” Tours at Lisa’s Travel Guides.

PHOTO CREDITS

Panorama of Brisighella   By Revol Web from Bologna, Italia (Brisighella (RA) Pano) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Pork Products Display   Any.colour.you.like via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND
Volpina Pears   Brisighella Ospitale
White & Black Truffles   Michela Simoncini via Foter.com / CC BY
Olive Oil with Olive Branch   USDAgov via Foter.com / CC BY
Brisighella Castello Summer   Revolweb via Foter.com / CC BY-SA
Brisighella Food Stands   Brisighella Ospitale
Brisighella Castello Winter   gminguzzi via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

#Brisighella @BrisighellaBlog

 

Honey in the Italian Mountains

While other towns and regions are busy with their fall chestnut, apple, and truffle festivals, the community of Chatillon in the Val d’ Aosta Region of Italy is celebrating honey in all its sticky sweetness. Stands featuring local honey, honey products, and a honey competition highlight the event. The festival began on Thursday and runs through Sunday, October 29th. Tonight features a Castle of Honey tour in the Castello Gamba with food & wine tastings and a fundraiser for Italian earthquake victims. Tomorrow at 11:00 AM you can enjoy a local parade and at 2:00 PM enjoy a walking tour that combines town history and local honey.

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Castello di Ussel, Chatillon, Val d’Aosta, Italy

Chatillon is a town located just east of Aosta in the Val d’Aosta province, near the Italian border with Switzerland and the famous Matterhorn peak. The Castello di Ussel was built in 1350 and dominates the skyline. Once you’ve enjoyed your fill of honey, head over to the nearby spa town of Saint-Vincent for some rest and relaxation.

church-view-chatillon

INFORMATION

Honey Festival Info at Official Val d’Aosta Tourism Site

Comune di Chatillon

ABOUT

Lisa M. Vogele is the author of Food & Folklore: A Year of Italian Festivals,  a travel reference guide that “helps you go local” by incorporating festivals into your travel planning. You can find out more information about Lisa’s books and “Fun with Food & Festivals” Tours at Lisa’s Travel Guides.

PHOTO CREDITS

Castello di Ussel in Chatillon   Jelle Drok via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Church View Chatillon   Sergio & Gabriella via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Shades of Honey   http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Dripping Honey   https://www.flickr.com/photos/hillarystein/2751693052/

#explorevalledaosta #valledaosta #chatillon #italia #italy

@AostaValley @ValledAosta @Italia