Polentonissimo at Monastero Bormida

“It happened the year of the Gentleman in 1573, when a group of coppersmiths, gathered at Monastero to solder tin pots and cauldrons, remained blocked in due to an exceptional amount of snowfall. Famished, the coppersmiths asked hospitality to the Marquis of the Carretto, who generously gave them maize flour, onions, eggs, and sausage. So it was born the first Polentone, still evidenced today by the large copper cauldron where Monastero cooks start early in the morning to begin the long and meticulous cooking of the gigantic polenta.”

[Loosely translated from L’Ancora.]

Fast forward a few centuries to a square within the walls of Monastero’s medieval castle. Word-of-mouth sure gets around in these parts and the Polentone grew into Polentonissimo. That amounts to roughly 1500 kilos, or 3300 pounds of soft and creamy polenta. We stuck around just long enough to partake in the pranzo rustico, the country-style lunch. Had I been feeling better, we would’ve been able to witness the scodellamento, or the dishing out of the enormous pot of polenta at 4:45pm. From what I understood, for a taste of it you needed to purchase a hand-painted ceramic plate which depicts the celebratory event.

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