Let’s go back to Italy, shall we? Because I started telling you about my weekend, but I have yet to tell you about the most important part of it: the Sagra Nazionale Del Gorgonzola, the National Gorgonzola Festival.
As with any food festival, there is a lot to discover. There were hundreds of stands offering a large variety of goodies, from cured meats,
to olive oil,
mushrooms (mainly porcini, morels and black truffle),
desserts (yes, that is a cake made with Chantilly cream and gorgonzola cheese – I dare say I did not try this one… yet)
or sugared almonds in every flavour you can possibly imagine
Two stands in particular drew my attention.
One was selling crostatas, some jam tarts with a criss-crossing pastry pattern on top. It reminded me of a Greek pie which we call pastaflora. As it turns out, Greek pastaflora is a close cousin to these crostatas. If I understood everything correctly, crostatas are made with a short pastry called pastafrolla (you may notice the Greek and Italian words are the same, save for 2 inverted letters and an extra L).
The second stand was making and selling farinata.
Farinata is a sort of thin pancake, made of chickpea flour, water, olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary, and served piping hot. I have yet to attempt to make some, but it is definitely on my to-do list.
Needless to say, cheese, and particularly gorgonzola, was the star of the day, and there were cheeses of all sorts, shapes and sizes, as far as the eye could see (yes, those little pigs in the first picture are cheese).
As you can imagine, this being a food festival, lunchtime is the high moment of the day, and one could feast on polenta (topped with gorgonzola)
or risotto (with gorgonzola, of course)
But we didn’t have lunch at the festival. Sofia and Maurizio took us to a restaurant, Vecchia Pesa, which had a special menu, based on gorgonzola (what else?).
Of course, you could still order off the regular menu if you wanted, such as these tagliatelle with courgette
For antipasti (starters), we had:
The first courses (primi piatti):
Taglia is a cut, but I have yet to figure out which one – given the name, I believe it must be some flank cut.
And finally, dessert (dolce):
Warm apple cake with chocolate sauce and gorgonzola ice cream. Now, I understand that “gorgonzola ice cream” sounds bizarre, but trust me, it was very good. It was a cream gelato with a hint of gorgonzola and tiny bits of white chocolate. It was a perfect balance of sweet and savoury. Just yummy!!
There you go. I hope you enjoyed this (long overdue) review, and maybe I shall see you there next year?😉