La Festa Alpina: Tasi e Tira!

Tasi e tira

“Well can I just have the shirt off your back?” Upon first sight of this tshirt, I had my heart set on getting one but alas! – unless you’re a member of the club, Tasi e tira is not for sale. The term Tasi (dialect for ‘stay quiet’) and tira (pull) is an oft-used expression that equates to “just quit talking and work”. Uttering that phrase stirs deep emotions of pulling together as a team to get the job done – an invaluable mindset when the going gets tough.

This particular celebration was put together by a faction of veteran Alpini (alpine brigade of the Italian Army) to raise funds for L’Aquila’s earthquake victims in April of this year. Typical abruzzo cooking was on the menu, and we had such a fantastic time dining communal-style (sharing a table for 6) with a couple from Campania/Napoli and another couple with roots in Abruzzo. I was really impressed with the organization of it all (table service man!), and the genuine hospitality of those in charge. While the aperitivo came free to all who attended (Campari, juice, chips, cheese, ventricina), the rest of the meal was worth way beyond the 20€ each that we paid. Refills on pitchers of wine, second helpings to anyone with room for more, and of course more rolls – you gotta have bread to mop up the juices – as soon as it’s requested. A good thing that we chose to attend the lunch hour seating where at least 150 persons were present. We were told that for the evening crowd, nearly 500 reservations were expected to arrive! Okay crew…Tasi e tira!!

Basket of rolls
Crusty rolls that were nice and soft within. I started helping myself to these even before the main meal arrived. All that Campari and never-ending nibbles made me so hungry.

Arrosticini grills
There were these tall, narrow, makeshift grills to cook the arrosticini (lamb kebabs). See how they’re just the perfect width to lay the skewers right over? The aroma was simply AMAZING! The guy on the right was nice to pose with a few cooked ones.

Arrosticini
And here I go again sticking my lens in the chef’s domain.

Caciocavallo and ventricina
Caciocavallo cheese and ventricina, a mild, spicy sausage from Abruzzo. This was SO good!

Spaghetti alla chitarra and risotto
Spaghetti with a sauce made from sheep of Capracotta (a town in Abruzzo) and a risotto made with saffron from Navelli. Okay I had to unbutton my pants here…

Polenta and cinghiale
Creamy polenta with wild boar sauce. Oh can I have more? Oh you mean there’s something else coming? Well I better wait…in the meantime, mop up the sauce with some rolls.

Arrosticini and grilled bell peppers
Yes this was worth the wait (not a long wait too). The famous arrosticini of Abruzzo, with some grilled peppers. I love eating lamb even if they’re cute, but seriously, now I am stuffed.

Taralluccio from Abruzzo
This large treat is a taralluccio filled with a mixture that tasted like very thick grape jam. It looked to be a sort of tubular cookie that was twisted onto itself, and yes, it was delicious. We also had a small serving of panna gelato with chocolate sauce then ended the meal with coffee (the only ‘extra’ that you had to pay for). What a meal!

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