Chicken, eggs and some crayfish. I can just imagine the little man sitting down to this meal after defeating the Austrians in the Battle of Marengo. It only makes sense then, that a sagra for Chicken Marengo/Pollo alla Marengo is hosted in a location where french and austrians troops fought centuries ago. I’ve known about this sagra for several years but we were never able to time things right and drive to Piemonte on the first weekend of September when this feast occurs. Just 10 miles south of the province of Alessandria, Bosco Marengo is a dot on the map. We arrived a few minutes before the food stands opened at 7:30pm, and where a small crowd had already gathered around the order booth. The sagra is very well organized in that you take your receipt, sit at any one of the long communal tables, and a server comes to fill your order. All of our plates appeared in front of us within a matter of minutes. Here’s a photo of the menu.
Clockwise from top left: vegetarian antipasto (roasted bell peppers, bruschetta, beans with tuna? and a couple of fried nuggets that I couldn’t identify), agnolotti al vino (pasta in wine), grilled galletto (like a cornish hen), agnolotti al culo nudo (naked ass agnolotti!). There’s a limited amount of seating and late arrivals had to wait until diners cleared out so get there early. The evening ends with music and dancing – a good way to burn off any calories from all the great food to be had.
I should point out that mosquitoes didn’t miss a chance to join the party. If you don’t like being dinner, bring some repellent. Overheard among the chit chat: ‘the sagra begins just around the time when the mosquitoes start coming in.’