Lasagne, beans, and a whole lot of pungent garlic. Not the ideal mix if carbonated water is the only “gas” that you have at a table, but I’ve been wanting to attend this hugely popular piemontese event for a long time and let me tell you, it was well worth the wait! It ranks as one of the most popular summer festivals in the Alessandria province, pulling in hundreds of visitors on the evening of each night it’s held.
Tip: if you want to be seated on time, ARRIVE EARLY, especially if you’re in a large group. We’ve come to expect crowds at these sort of things but we weren’t quite prepared to see so many parked cars upon arrival at 6:15pm. That’s 45 minutes before they opened (7pm), and when we reached the festival grounds there was a pretty good-sized line to the cashier and a longer line to get in. A big menu board was propped on a table along with a stack of menus. Grab a menu (good to have a pen handy), check off the items, and pay at the cashier. Get into the entrance line and hopefully if you arrived early enough, they’ll let you in. When the communal-style dining tables are full, they won’t let anymore in unless a space clears up. We were lucky, but those arriving late had a long wait.
Every dish ordered comes with a ticket, and food servers stop by to pick them up to fill your order. There was a guy going around (he had cassa volante – flying till – written on his tshirt), taking more orders from anyone who wanted to add extra dishes to their meal. We ordered everything from primi to contorni, but the following dishes are worth a mention.
Polenta with mushroom and sausage sauce. They must have a secret spice mix because this tasted way better than what I expected. When we mentioned it to our b&b host, she said that it’s one of the typical dishes of the area.
Veal cutlet in a kind of cream-based sauce is all I can make out. MotH says that foods with the word folklore attached denotes something traditional.