Sweet Sfincia in Sicily

 

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Sfincia Sprinkled with Sugar

Sicily is undoubtedly known for its fabulous pastry sweets. Sfincia, also called Spincia, are sweet, donut-like pastry treats served around festivals and holidays but in particular, for festivities honoring San Giuseppe. The sfinica are made by combining basic ingredients of flour, eggs, butter, salt, and water. There are slight variations of this recipe, but all are shaped into elliptical balls of dough, then deep fried golden brown. The Sfince are served several ways at the feast: sprinkled with sugar or filled with ricotta, cottage cheese or cream.

 

The town of Montelepre has been celebrating the Sagra della Sfincia for over 15 years. Montelepre is located on the outskirts of Palermo, trailing down a mountainside. It’s home to 6,000 residents and has a long history dating back to 1400. The Sagra della Sfincia in Montelepre usually takes place on January 6th but was postponed until January 8th this year due to bad weather. The festivities are centered around Piazza Principe di Piemonte from 3:00 PM – 10:00 PM. If you find yourself in Sicily at another time of year, visit Pasticerria in Palermo to give these sweet treats a try.

INFORMATION

ATMA Montelepre Event Information

Montelepre Map & Location

Scimone Pasticerria in Palermo

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

Sfincia Sprinkled with Sugar By Civa61 via Wikimedia Commons

Church in Montelepre serguei_2k via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Chiese di Montelepre By Dedda71 via Wikimedia Commons

Montelepre Street Scene By Dedda71 via Wikimedia Commons

Abandoned Train Station By SalvatoreI88 via Wikimedia Commons

Panoramic View of Montelepre By Missale P via Wikimedia Commons

 

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

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

 

The Fabulous Feast of the Thrush – Montalcino, Italy

Photo Credit: ViaggioRoutard / Foter / CC BY
Trumpeter in Costume During the Parade Procession Sagra del Tordo, Montalcino – Photo Credit: <ahref=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/viaggioroutard/22289123532/”>ViaggioRoutard / Foter / CC BY

Since 1958 the last weekend in October is marked with pageantry, camaraderie, competition and food in the southern tuscan hilltown of Montalcino.  I attended the Sagra del Tordo (Feast of the Thrush) in October, 2011 and was not disappointed.  From the first drumroll and blasts of trumpets, through the parade of about 150 locals and the archery competition, there wasn’t a dull moment.  It is evocative of hunting traditions of the past when hunters and falconers would go into the woods, bring back their spoils and everyone would feast, noblemen and commoners alike.

Piazza del Popolo, Montalcino - Photo credit: yashima / Foter / CC BY-SA
Piazza del Popolo, Montalcino – Photo credit: yashima / Foter / CC BY-SA

Surrounded by the golden, late fall sunshine and colorful leaves that mark autumn in this region we established our place on the parade route and watched as participants paraded through town making various stops along the way to the fortress.  It was the first (and only) time I have ever been up close and personal with two ghostly Chianina bulls; they dwarfed me as they walked past pulling a cart, I don’t even think I came up to their shoulders!  The Chianina produce the Bistecca Fiorentina, a massive steak served throughout the region and Italy.

Chianina Cow & Calf - Photo credit: Monica / Foter / CC BY
Chianina Cow & Calf – Photo credit: Monica / Foter / CC BY

Montalcino is split into four neighborhoods (quartiere) each with their own tribal colors: Borghetto (white and red), Pianello (white and blue), Ruga (yellow and blue) and Travaglio (yellow and red).  During the celebration two archers from each quartiere compete in an archery competition.  The losers suffer insults and jokes of the winning team for the next year.  Each quartiere also has a food booth in the main park “Giardini Impero” outside of the Fortezza serving several courses of food; you can pick and choose what you buy from each and eat at the picnic tables provided.  The food is great, inexpensive and best of all, local.  Let’s not forget, this is the home of the famed Brunello di Montalcino, a hearty Tuscan red that’s produced with 100% sangiovese grapes.  Try the wine at one of the food stands or venture into one of the many tasting rooms located around town and at the Fortezza.

Photo credit: mava / Foter / CC BY-SA
Fortezza, Montalcino – Photo credit: mava / Foter / CC BY-SA

Pro Loco Montalcino Tourism

Sagra del Tordo 2015 Full Itinerary