Posts Tagged ‘artichoke celebrations’

Artichoke feast in Torricchio, Tuscany.

June 27th, 2010

Sagra del Carciofo Fritto


How many towns in the world can claim to be a one monk town? My guess is, not many, but Torricchio (MAP), just near Uzzano in the provence of Pistoia can, and it seems they are very proud of the monastery and the part it has played in the town’s heritage.

The tiny Uzzano town

On the face of it, this Sagra (celebration) is held by the monastery, but how can one aging Cappuccini monk organize such a massive party for the locals? These days the monastery lends the town it’s kitchens, gardens and dining areas where a feast can take place.

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Artichoke Celebrations

October 27th, 2009

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.

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To the artichoke lover

October 10th, 2009

Thanks for stopping and having a look. This blog will be dedicated to my scoping out of artichoke recipes, artichoke festivals over this coming Winter & Spring 2009 / 2010 season here in Italy. I’m living in Turin, in the north west of Italy.  This city boasts about a lot of things, among these is the claim that Turin has the largest outdoor fresh produce market in Europe called Porta Palazzo markets. They are quite enormous, but as the claim to fame is that they are the largest outdoor markets, I’m supposing that somewhere in Europe there is a larger and possibly more impressive indoor market. That aside, Porta Palazzo markets are a great place to shop and watch the seasons change over the 2 years I have lived here.

There is a covered section of the market dedicated to the local farmers. Here you’ll find the same faces showing up on most days to sell produce they picked earlier in the morning. They serve you with mud encrusted hands and, for some of the older folk, with hunched over postures. Unfortunately, there are no local farmers who bring artichokes to sell until very late in Spring(if at all), which means that until May I can only source artichokes from the main open air market. This main area is dedicated to produce from all over Italy, Europe and in some cases imported from Africa and South America. When I’m not out of Turin looking for artichokes and artichoke recipes, this is where I will buy artichokes for the following 5 to 6 months.

Now, Autumn is well under way and although farmers in some parts of the country have to wait til later in Spring 2010 to harvest from older plants, some other farmers, who planted earlier this year, will be collecting their first harvest around now. This means that from now til around the middle of May 2010, we should see artichokes on the market stalls.

Yesterday I went to do some shopping and got there way too late. All the sellers had packed up and the stalls were being packed down. As I walked through to see if I could buy a bargain from any remaining seller, I saw something that took my breath away. On the ground was a loads of  left over artichoke debris, bit and pieces, leaves and stems. This was the sign that got me motivated to start this blog the next day. From now til May or June 2010, this vegetable will follow me everywhere and I will follow it.

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