Tag Archives: sagra

June in November

What gives? Since the start of this month it has been 70-76°F during the day and the air is so warm that a load of laundry is completely dried before the sun goes down. I’m stocked up on holiday baking supplies, a truckload of firewood is on the way, and yet…and yet it feels as if I should be putting the mosquito screens back into place and planning meals around leafy salads and iced tea. Make me a mojito, it feels like early summer in the chestnut forest.

San Marco

Only that it isn’t summer, it’s fall, and with fall comes all the really good stuff like…

Truffles – this photo was actually taken last year when we ordered black ones through our favorite supermarket. They’re nothing compared to the white truffles in Piemonte, but they’re easier on the wallet. No time to attend any tartufo fairs this season but there’s a lot of truffle products (butter, cream, oils, etc) on store shelves right now.

Mister B and the big black truffle

Figs – honestly, I thought fig season was over. I adore figs. Weekends are the only time when we do breakfast, and it’s always something speedy. Fruit, nuts, ricotta, whole-grain bread and cappuccino. Sometimes it’s pancakes or waffles, appetites willing.

Breakfast ultra-lite to start a Sunday

and the best part of fall… sagra events. The last weekend of October and the first weekend of November in Pizzighettone, Lombardy are the set dates for Fasulin de l’oc cun le cudeghe. Tender black-eyed peas with pork skin in a thick, hearty soup. We’ve gone a couple times since our first experience in 2006 but I never updated with a post. Things have changed (in a good way) especially for dog owners. A full report tomorrow.

Fasulin de l'oc 2015
Fasulin de l’oc, raspadura cheese, grilled polenta, cheese and mostarda, lardo and salame.

Sagra del Macagn

Macagn cheese stand at the sagra

Crocemosso (Piemonte) – Macagn is a cheese made from raw cow’s milk and has a pleasant flavor with a delicate smell. It’s perfect as a table cheese, turned into a sauce, or lovely when melted all over hot, steaming polenta. Owing its name to a mountain pasture at the foot of Monte Rosa, Macagn’s origins date back to over 150 years which earns it a solid spot in Slow Food’s cheese hall of fame. Slow cheese indeed; it came as a shock when I discovered that the sagra del Macagn was celebrating its 15th edition this year. Where have I been?

Ravioli, pasta, and 7 types of polenta combinations, but the best plate in our opinion – a juicy pork steak cooked in Bramaterra wine and slathered with Macagn sauce. Delicious food with a piemontese red to wash it down. Everything was well-organized and there’s also the option of making reservations by phone, guaranteeing a spot at the communal-style tables. Parking wasn’t too difficult and the dynamic duo were also welcomed in the covered dining tent.

For more information: Facebook https://www.facebook.com/prolococrocemosso

As with most small local affairs like this one, you’ll need to get in line to make your order. Take the printed receipt, nab a seat, and wait for someone to check the receipt and bring your selected dishes. If you make a reservation beforehand, see the person to the side of the order kiosk and he’ll direct you to your reserved spot.

Apple strudel with vanilla sauce
Apple strudel with vanilla sauce

Sagra del Misultin

Dervio fishermen

Dervio – This past Saturday we took a gamble and left our ever so slightly cooler altitude to head down to the lake to see if temperatures were better than up in the mountains. Boy was I surprised. Can you just imagine that cool breeze coming right off the water? Located on Lake Como’s eastern side, Dervio is less than 6 miles north of Varenna and one of a number of small villages dotting the lake’s shores. We probably would’ve never heard about it had it not been for this sagra of the misultin.

Misultin (missoltini in italian) is sun-dried agone or shad. A specialty of the Lake Como area, we enjoy eating it every now and then (flaked and stirred into spaghetti – yum!) but in all our time here have never seen the fishermen in action. Strolling south along the waterfront promenade from Boldona Park where the sagra was being held, we came across a few of them by chance. Check out the walking plank to this one particular fishing spot.

Walk the plank

Agone tasting menu

The process of turning agone into missoltini was well-illustrated on several board signs in the park, but only in italian. Live music, a limited menu, and lots of seating for the fish-lovers. We tried the tasting menu (15€) that included water or wine: agone in carpione (marinated in vinegar), fried little lakefish, and misultin over grilled polenta. Good stuff!

Parco Boldona

Even if at the time I thought it was crazy to leave the tranquility of the chestnut forest, sometimes it does pay to leave the house. Dervio seemed serene and not overrun with summer visitors like Varenna and Bellagio. Really, it looks like a prime spot for a bit of fishing.

Dervio fisherman