Sagra del Pisello

Sagra del PiselloCasalborgone, Piedmont – At the end of the month of May and less than 20 miles east of Torino, this land of peas, or Pais di pois, hosts its annual celebration of a legume that caused so much grief for a princess. Poor thing, remember her? We’re back on the sagra trail and I’m glad we decided to visit this one for a single reason: gogu (guess which one it is in the food collage). According to some elderly folk that were sitting next to us, the cultivation of peas was much greater back in their day. With a nearby opening of a car manufacturing plant and the siren call of the outside world, pea farming simply isn’t what it used to be. This year, surprisingly, marked the 56th celebration.

Piselli di Casalborgone

A long, long time ago the Pisello of Casalborgone took its form in different varieties, namely Quarantin, Casalot and Barchetta. Then about 50 years ago the development of a commercial variety named Espresso Generoso became the pea that is now cultivated in the area. It has a nice sweet flavor. We bought 2 kilos from a vendor after he let us sample fresh peas from the pod, and this was after we had just satisfied our appetites with a lot of pea plates.

Sagra del Pisello collage

Pea and coconut milk gelatoLeft side from top to bottom:
Gogu (GOH-goo, a sort of tortellone with a thick pea filling)
Lasagna (with some peas thrown in) and
Pork and sausage with peas (island folks can relate to this!)

Right side, top and bottom:
Pea frittata and cream of pea in puff pastry

At one time there used to be pea gelato but sadly it wasn’t on the menu this year. I tried my own experiment with peas and coconut milk in the image at right but it turned out more coconut in flavor than anything else.

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