Hey y’all! Now here’s a fun sagra that should get your tummy rumbling. Tasty grill-roasted galletto americano, taroz (a potato and green bean mash), and french fries – just 10€ and all of it washed down with cold beer. We drove north to Cosio Valtellino (Sondrio province) to see what this festival was all about and to my surprise, the galletto americano (also known simply as americanino) is none other than a Cornish game hen. Taroz is a dish that I tried making earlier this year, but this is the first time I’ve had it at a sagra.
Being that this was the first edition, we weren’t sure what to expect in terms of organization and attendance. It was pretty empty when the kitchen staff started serving at 7:30pm and it only began to fill up an hour later when we left. Still, the delicious food and foot-tapping country western music (Garth Brooks!) was such that I do hope this sagra will firmly establish itself in the community and grow to become a summer event for years to come. Bye y’all!
Facebook: Sagra del Galletto Americano
Photo by Rubber Slippers in Italy. Derivative of IMG_0376, licensed under CC BY 2.0 by clay53012.
Well, there’s a 70% chance – according to weather forecasts – for clear skies this weekend, and one can always HOPE. A tuscan holiday is still on, but in the event we end up stuck in a hotel while it pours outside, there’s a bar downstairs and free WiFi to entertain ourselves. I’ll show you the first thing I buy when we go shopping.
Italy Week as deemed by Masterchef Australia
The direct result of this unrelenting and unsummer-like weather is that now there’s more time for television, even if it means watching shows that are 2 to 3 (or even more) years old. Masterchef Australia 2012 (series 4) is just one of those programs that snuck up on me while I was cursing the fact that we were short on Campari, and while I’m aware that it’s reality tv in an apron, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to enjoying the drama between contestants while they battled it out during Italy Week. Lucky Ozzies. Too bad they had to be dubbed over in italian in order for us to understand them. Rome, Tuscany, the ginormous Barilla factory in Parma – the top 10 finalists made me green with envy when they met Gualtiero Marchesi and sampled his risotto oro e zafferano. Heck, his precious rice dish matched the color of his cooking school!
In Marchesi’s words, risotto is at the right point when it’s al dente without being raw.
Antipasti dinner, chicken Sunday lunch
Sun or no sun, weekends are meant for meals like this. Burrata with oven-roasted tomatoes, roasted red peppers, white bean puree, lavender chicken, zucchini just plucked from the garden, chocolate ganache/salted caramel tarts! Here’s the thing – I was
infected influenced by Masterchef. And as silly as that might sound, I’ll be drawing inspiration from the Italy Week episodes and taking it one step further by recreating some of the australian recipes in my own italian kitchen.
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.’