Sagra della Pera

Incorporating fruit in dishes other than dessert is no longer a secret to most well-rounded palates, but I gotta admit to surprise when I saw the menu of savory pear offerings for this sagra in Vigarano Pieve (province of Ferrara). Lasagna with pears and truffle? Yes please! Held on the 2nd and 3rd weekend in September, the event highlights the voluptuous pear – mainly William and Abate Fetel – a fruit that grows very well in this area.

“In bocca chiusa non cade pera.”
A pear will never fall into a closed mouth.

That would most likely ring true if you’re bound to a fruit diet, but whether or not a deeper meaning hides behind the italian proverb is anybody’s guess. All I can say is that we had a great time trying pear this and pear that, beginning with a plate of Red Bartlett and assorted cheese, along with pinzin tond (a fried flatbread).

Pinzin Tond Pear and cheese plate

Tiny cubes of William pears were featured in this dish of tortelli with zola and speck.

Tortelli alle pere con zola e speck

Abate Fetel pears appeared in 2 dishes, adding a sweet note to oven-baked lasagna with black truffle slices on top, and putting a fruity spin on fork-tender strips of balsamic-glazed pork. And just to be sure we got our daily quota of greens, an order of grilled vegetables and a salad of pears with walnuts rounded out the main meal.

Pear lasagna with black truffles
Straccetti alle pere con aceto balsamico

Dessert was the only weak spot because the pear gelato was hardly inspiring. A square of choco-pear cake was better but it could’ve used a bit more chocolate. And if you don’t like pears? No problem, because the extensive menu also included traditional dishes to satisfy all palates. Fill out the order form, pay at the cashier, and they take care of the rest. One thing I should note is that reservations were encouraged for this event, but families were still showing up later in the evening with no reservations at all. We left “peary happy” after a couple shots of espresso. Info: vigaranopieve.it

Desserts at the pear sagra

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8 thoughts on “Sagra della Pera

  1. farfalle1

    Wow – ;pear tortelli sounds scrumptuous. We’ve just finished with the peach/nectarine eating and are moving into pears and apples – lots of good ideas here, thanks.

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    1. Rowena Post author

      Oh yes pears and apples — and I can’t wait til kaki start appearing in the produce department. What I missed this year are figs! The ones at the super are just so devoid of flavor.

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    1. Rowena Post author

      The pears and cheese combo is common enough (in northern Italy anyway) on a pizza menu, but it’s funny how the names are almost always different. The pizzeria up the road has the “Beatrice” with pear, zola and walnuts, but other places might call their version something else.

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    1. Rowena Post author

      I especially liked the pear with pork straccetti. There was no obvious pieces of pear so I think perhaps they used pureed fruit in the cooking. It was wonderful with that touch of balsamico drizzled on the top.

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  2. tesorotreasures

    I love pears and cheese! That is such a great combination. My mom use to tell me a little proverb…”il contadino non puo sapere quanto e buono il formaggio con le pere.” I’m not exactly sure what they are trying to say with this, but maybe that if the farmer knew how good the pears were with cheese, he would never sell his pears or his cheese!
    It’s interesting how they are starting to add pears to savory dishes, like lasagna. I can’t really get my taste buds to imagine that one!
    Thanks for sampling for us 🙂

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    1. Rowena Post author

      What an interesting proverb. I’ve heard of the tuscan version – “Al contadino non far sapere quanto è buono il cacio con le pere” – and like to think that if the farmer knew how WELL cheese and pears paired together, prices would go up on his products! On another funny note, farmers won’t hesitate to give pears to their horses as well. We just came back from a farmstay in Piemonte and overheard a conversation between a grandfather and his grandkids. He said, “Let’s go to feed some pears to the horses!”

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