At Mercato, we are passionate about bringing authentic Italian experiences from Italy, to your doorstep here in Adelaide. In the next coming months, our main focus will be Sagra D'Autunno (Festivals in Autumn) that are celebrated in the regions of Italy. From regions such as Piedmont, Bologna, Tuscany and Lazio, we will be exploring the local food festivities that take place in their Autumn season.
WHAT DOES SAGRA MEAN?
SAGRA - Singular | SAGRE - Plural
In Italy, a sagra is a local festival that is celebrated by the towns folks as well as people from all around the world. Most sagre revolve around a specific local food item that is at the peak of its season.
That particular ingredient is then used in multiple triumphal dishes to revel in the community’s delicious bounty. These events are a great opportunity to see rural towns at their peak of excitement. You can generally count on finding some carnival-type games, live music, and a good portion of the town’s population waltzing and dancing through the piazza.
FESTIVALS CELEBRATED IN THE AUTUMN SEASON IN ITALY
Sagra Del Tartufo Bianco e Funghi
The White Truffle and Mushroom Festival, Piedmont, Tuscany, Umbria, Le Marche, and Emilia Romagna
Products that grow in the underbrush pop up in the Autumn time, such as mushrooms and truffles, which in the kitchen can be used to make tasty recipes. In the areas in which they they grow, become the subject of many fairs and festivals, which in turn become happy meeting places for enthusiasts, professionals or those who just love to eat good food!
Some of the biggest truffle festivals in Italy take place in the Piedmont, Tuscany, Umbria, Le Marche, and Emilia Romagna regions during October and November.
Among them, the biggest is the Alba White Truffle Festival, which takes place on weekends throughout October in the Piedmont town of Alba and will feature local cuisine, wine sampling, a donkey race, and several other family-friendly activities and events.
Sagra Della Castagna
Chestnut festival, Soriano nel Cimino, Lazio
The Chestnut Festival, is a historical reenactment taking place in Soriano nel Cimino, in the Province of Viterbo, on the first three weekends of October.
The origin of the festival dates back to the 15th Century, when the City Council established the first celebration in honour of the local specialty: chestnuts.
The modern version of the festival took place for the first time in 1968 and it consists of two main sections: the historical reenactment and the celebrations in honour of the chestnut.
The chestnut festival is filled with interesting events such as food and wine tasting, Convivium Secretum: a historical cooking contest between the four districts of the town, preparing Medieval and Renaissance recipes, ring jousting, archery tournament, popular traditional games, the historical reenactment recreating the main historical events of Soriano from 1200 to 1489.
To add to all that, is a sumptuous historical parade featuring more than 700 actors that dress up with Medieval costumes.
La Sagra dell’Uva
Grape festival, Marino, Lazio
The grape festival in Marino is famous for having wine run through the town's central fountain. Launched in 1924, today the sagra is one of Italy's liveliest celebration. Grapevines are strung all across the street, on peoples balconies, decorated on statues (in their mouths and on private parts) and on the majority of fountains.
On each Sunday of the months in which they celebrate (August & September), they hold a big costumed procession that re-enacts the 1571 Battle of Lepanto. This is also the day when wine flows through the fountains.
La Sagra Del Tortellino
Tortellini Festival , Valeggio district of Lake Garda.
The tortellini festival, also poetically known as the "Love Knot" festival, is celebrated in style every 18 June where guests come from all over Italy as well as from other countries to taste the famous “Tortellini di Valeggio”.
Valeggio sul Mincio is the capital of the original homemade Tortellini. Every year about 4,000 guests attend this spectacular must see festival celebrated with an elegant dinner on the Visconteo Bridge crossing the Mincio River.
The festival officially starts with a parade of medieval costumed extras, to recall the protagonists of the legend, which the festival was named after. Each year over 600,000 tortellini are handmade one by one by 100 voluntary cooks.
A small square of pasta stuffed with pork loin, ham, mortadella, parmesan cheese, nutmeg, pepper and salt has always been the symbol for the culinary tradition of the region.
Why is it called the "Love Knot" festival?
Basically, military captain Malco fell in love with Silvia, a beautiful nymph. As a symbol of their undying love, she gifted him a handkerchief tied in a knot. Legend has it that the two disappeared into the river to escape prison charges and to this day, this special pasta is made in pasta houses and homes across Valeggio sul Mincio to honour their beautiful love story.
Olive Oil Festival, San Quirico d’Orcia
San Quirico d'Orcia is a comune of about 2,500 inhabitants in the Province of Siena in the Italian region Tuscany. Once the summer tourists have gone home, the grapes have been harvested which means it is then time for the Olive harvest to commence.
The tradition of growing olives and making olive oil dates back to even before these venerable wonders, all the way to Roman times.
At the sagra, the menu is filled with the fresh flavor invigorating the local cuisine: bruschetta with olive paste, pasta and fagioli with raw olive oil, and carne alla brace. The freshly pressed oil is at its peak, and used to perfection by this knowing community who will kindly welcome you into their celebration, as long as you like to eat and you like to dance.
Sagra Del Riso
Rice Festival, Veneto
The rice festival is the most important fair in Italy dedicated to rice and risotto, which you can find here prepared in a thousand different ways! Chefs from many Italian regions and Risotto experts will delight you with the flavors and aromas of their lands, preparing delicious risottos with the same passion and tradition of when they prepare it for their families.
At these festivals, parades of period costumed locals go through, sports, conferences and shows will also offer a varied entertainment for all 26 days of the 2018 risotto festival in Verona!
Each year more than a hundred tasty recipes based on rice are prepared by renowned chefs who will also advise visitors on the right combinations with the best wines from Verona: the Rice Festival in Verona 2018 awaits you with paella, croquettes, sushi, pizzas and oven products made with rice flour and other delights that will satisfy even the most discerning palates.