Cilavegna, Pavia (Lombardia) — Ahhh…white asparagus. Thick, tender spears with a subtle and delicate flavor. Springtime sees a lot of festivals for the year’s first vegetables, and in this part of Italy it’s all about agriculture. The town organizes a big sagra with bands, folk music and entertainment for the kids. There also was a pig race scheduled – Palio dei Maiali – complete with men in medieval costume riding domesticated hogs to the finish line. Unfortunately the powers-that-be who grant permission for these events (involving animals) denied the seal of approval. In the words of Porky Pig, “I believe, I believe, I believe…That’s all folks!”
It was self-service at the food tent. We tried asparagus risotto, asparagus ravioli with melted butter and sage, turkey smothered in asparagus sauce, and asparagi alla Bismark (right). My husband described how they make this:
“First they put the asparagus on the plate, then a ladle of melted butter, then the fried eggs, and then a ladleful of cheese!” To finish, sorbetto all’sparago which tasted like 100% asparagus but with a consistency like mousse. It was light, sweet and creamy complimented by a cloud of whipped cream.