This is an overview of some of the wine and food festivals, and matrkets that happen around the Autumn months in Italy. Another reason to join one of our wine and food tours at this time of year to take advantage of exploring Piedmonte and Emilia-Romagna and the amazing Slow Food the region offers.
Bologna and the Mercato di Mezzo
Walking under the two great arches of the spectacular facade of Palazzo dei Banchi designed by the celebrated architect Giacomo Barozzi (il Vignola).
Enter that fascinating area known as the “Mercato di mezzo”, a network of narrow streets almost all of which bear the names of the type of craftsmen or shopkeepers to be found there (Drapperie (drapers’ shops), Degli Orefici (goldsmiths), Clavature (locksmiths), Pescherie Vecchie (fishmongers in the old fish market).
These narrow streets are a wonderful sight and a joy for the palate: a riot of brightly coloured vegetables, fresh fruit and also different kinds of rarely seen and long forgotten fruit. The shop windows are a fantastic display of local gastronomic specialities: from pasta tortellini, lasagne, tagliatelle, tortelloni with ricotta and vegetables, to every imaginable type of salame and sausage (especially mortadella) and the different prime cuts which compose the traditional dish of boiled meats.
Follow your nose out of Piazza Maggiore and be lead astray towards the narrow streets of Via Pescherie Vecchie and Via Clavature; a pocket of the city that is a culinary shrine to the sacred delicacies of Italian cuisine. Tucked away on Vicolo Ranocchi resides Bologna’s oldest osteria, where animated scenes of old men arguing over card games instil the feeling that you are walking into a sepia-toned photograph. Though hidden, the 15th century Osteria del Sole is always bursting at the seams with locals, where bringing your own food from the surrounding delis is a common courtesy and a glass of local vino can be enjoyed at negligible prices.
Mercato delle Erbe is the largest covered market in the historical city center, where it is possible to buy fruits and vegetables, meat, cheese, wine, and much more. In 2014 some areas of the market were transformed into a food court. Since the beginning of the century, the Mercato delle erbe (vegetable market) was held in Piazza de Marchi next to the church of San Francesco.
In 1910, when the city needed the space occupied by the market, the present market hall was built in Via Ugo Bassi.
Between Modena and Parma: Parmesan cheese, Parma ham and balsamic vinegar
September arrives and with it ‘sagre’ season – from now until the beginning of December, towns and villages around Italy host a number of food festivals centered around seasonal regional products.
We love sagre as they provide a fun chance to try authentic local food and wine while mingling with locals. Here we’ve selected some great sagre around Italy you can reach by train.
Information on tours to this region. http://wineandfoodtraveller.com/tours/slow-food-gourmet-tour-wine-and-food-regions-in-italy/
Some more markets in other areas………
Mercato del Pane e dello Strudel – Bressanone, South Tyrol
Schüttelbrot and Pusterer Breatln are two varieties of typical breads of the South Tyrol region of Italy, which will be on display, among others, at the ‘Bread and Strudel Market’ on Piazza Duomo in Bressanone-Brixen.
Bread is revered in South Tyrol, where hundreds of different types are produced: black, wholemeal, flavored with fennel, topped with sunflower or poppy seeds, and more.
Bakers illustrate the various bread-making and –baking techniques and reveal tricks and secrets to obtain some excellent bread.
Bressanone is easily reached by regional train from Bolzano, which in turn is well served by high-speed rail.
Dì de la Brisaola – Chiavenna, Lombardy
Literally the ‘Day of Bresaola,’ the event is a celebration of a product that is the symbol of the Valchiavenna, a beautiful alpine region located to the north of Lake Como. It will be possible to try 14 different varieties of bresaola (air-dried, salted beef, aged two to three months, produced since at least the 1400s), directly from the local artisanal producers. Breasola originated right in this area and adjacent Valtellina, and it is spelled ‘brisaola’ in Valchiavenna to differentiate it from that produced in Valtellina.
The major town in the area is Sondrio, which is where you can catch the regional train to Chiavenna, site of the event,
Festa del Vino e del Monferrato – Casale Monferrato (Alessandria), Piedmont)
In September, the hills of Monferrato come alive for the most important time of the agricultural season: the grape harvest, which will eventually result in the production of some of the finest and most appreciated wines in the world. Monferrato, a Unesco World Heritage site, is indeed among the most important wine regions of Italy.
September is also rice harvest time in the plains of the area, and you’ll be able to try varieties of risotto. In addition, other typical products, such cured meats and sweets, will be on offer for a true foodie feast.
The event takes place on two consecutive weekends in September. Casale Monferrato can be reached by train from Milan and Turin.
Alba White Truffle Festival
The Alba White Truffle Festival is one of the best-known truffle fairs in Italy. It takes place in Alba, considered the capital of the Unesco-inscribed hilly area of Langhe, every weekend from October 6 to November 25. The event includes a truffle show, a truffle sensory analysis, wine tasting (this is the home of Nebbiolo, Moscato Bianco and Barbera vines).
Festa di San Nicola-Sagra del Tortellino – Castelfranco Emilia, Bologna
Your chance to taste authentic tortellini in the place that, according to legend, is its birthplace, the small town of Castelfranco Emilia, located halfway between Bologna and Modena. A small square of egg pasta stuffed with pork loin, ham, mortadella, parmesan, nutmeg, pepper and salt has become the emblem of Emilia’s cuisine.
Castelfranco Emilia is an easy and quick train ride from Bologna or Modena.
Sagra delle Castagne e del Marron Buono – Marradi (Romagna-Tuscany)
The Festival of Chestnuts in Marradi, a charming village in the Romagna Apennines, between Faenza, Florence and the Adriatic coast, is a must for castagne lovers. Surrounded by extensive chestnut groves, Marradi, land of the ‘marron buono’ (the good chestnut) is especially renowned for its chestnut production and its chestnut fair is one of the most important in Italy. It takes place every Sunday in October, and the train ride to get there, along the Faentina railway line, from Faenza, is especially picturesque.
Festa dell’Olio – San Quirico d’Orcia
One of Tuscany’s most prestigious olive oils is produced in the area around San Quirico d’Orcia, where the Festa dell’Olio in December celebrates the new oil, still made with the traditional stone mills.
Primi d’Italia – Foligno (Umbria)
The Primi d’Italia is a national festival taking place in the historic center of Foligno dedicated to celebrating first dishes only, like pasta, polenta, soups, gnocchi and rice. Chefs from all over Italy gather in Foligno to give visitors a taste of original primi recipes they’ve created for the event,