Archive for the ‘Facts’ Category
Celebrating the Artichoke at the Sagre
In Italy a ‘Sagra’ is a celebration of food, usually a particular food. Here is a list of artichoke sagre (plural) around Italy. These events are a real mixed bag, some much more appealing than others. Some of the larger ones in bigger towns have had a tendency to explode out of proportion. Once you manage to find parking at these events, you will find dozens and dozens of market stalls which sell nothing but cheap ‘made in China’ type junk. Many other stands have nothing at all to do with artichokes. If you can avoid those ones, the remaining few sell fresh raw artichokes or you can try plenty of artichoke dishes prepared in heaps of different ways which will make the whole experience worth it. It’s always good to remember that there will be tasty morsels everywhere at hand and usually an area to have a sit down lunch or dinner. Obviously, each town has it’s own specialty and you should never leave town without at least trying some of what locals do best.
So which way to Ramacca?
When my Sicilian friend, Filippo, told me that I should try roasted artichokes I thought I shouldn’t miss a celebration in the proudest headquarters of this tradition, Ramacca. We (Alice and I) drove to Ramacca by taking a minor road winding through field after field of the locally prized artichokes, the Violetta Ramaccana. Driving into this hilly town for the annual Sagra di Carciofi (Sagra translates to festival), I was struck by the dilemma of trying to convey the unique aroma of smoke infused with olive oil and laced with a healthy suggestion of a small farming country town in the middle of Sicily. (more…)
“Italy is really like a great , mythological artichoke…a single
flower, green and purple, where each leaf hides another, each layer
covers another layer, jealously hidden. He who knows how to take off
the outer leaves will discover unimaginable things, in a difficult
voyage in time and space.”
Carlo Levi, Le Mille Patrie (Rome 2000)
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