FANTASTIC ITALIAN FOOD FESTIVALS THAT ARE WORTH A PIT STOP
1) Terra Madre Salone del Gusto
When: 22-26 September 2016
Where: Turin, Piedmont
Terra Madre Salone del Gusto is one of the world’s biggest international food fairs. This great event in Turin celebrates all Italian typical products with markets, stalls, cooking demonstrations and themed workshops (after buying a ticket, all are open to the general public). Together with the Slow Food organisation, this five-day festival gathers celebrity chefs, thousands of farmers, artisans, wine producers and food producers in the city of Turin. The location of the event is completely new: it will be in the heart of the city with its wonderful and prestigious sites, like Parco del Valentino, Borgo Medievale, Palazzo Reale, Teatro Carignano, Circolo dei Lettori and Reggia di Venaria. Terra Madre Salone del Gusto is the perfect place where visitors can hear the producers’ personal stories, taste their products and stock up on delicious delicacies to take home, from freshly baked breads to cheeses, from cured ham to pungent olive oil.
2) I Primi d’Italia
When: 29 September – 2 October
Where: Foligno, Umbria
In September 2016, pasta lovers, pasta makers, tomato sauce aficionados, foodies and families looking for fun will gather in Foligno for a four-day food festival of all things pasta! I Primi d’Italia is all about the starters: soups, spaghetti, penne, rice, polenta, orecchiette, gnocchi, lasagne… there’s everything you need, from tastings to demonstrations, from classes to exhibitions. And if you are gluten intolerant, no problem, there’s a lot of gluten free pasta for you! This festival has plenty of hands-on activities too and children have the chance to make their own pasta shapes. In the meantime, parents can visit medieval taverns in the historic center of Foligno and taste traditional dishes for just €3 (whereas the complete menu costs €8). If you have never tried I Primi d’Italia before, this is the place to go for your first bite.
3) Truffle Festival
When: 8 October- 27 November 2016
Where: Alba, Piedmont
Truffles are a top Italian culinary item therefore going to a truffle festival is a must for foodies visiting Italy! Alba’s white truffle fair and market, one of the best in Italy, takes place on weekends from early October, when the white truffle season begins, through late November. In the Truffle Market you can find stalls selling all kinds of truffle-related produce, while the fair is more of a showcase for Piedmont’s specialty foods. The best thing to do is to buy a truffle then take it to one of the local restaurants and ask them to grate it onto your meal. Chefs will be pleased to cook a personalised dish for you, using local ingredients, of course.
Real fact: during the truffle auction the most exotic of funghi go for up to £1,600 a kilo… are you ready to bet?
4) Pizza Village
When: 6 – 11 September 2016
Where: Naples, Campania
Inevitably, Naples takes its place in the Italian food calendar. The city celebrates its most famous dish, pizza, with a big event in September with a six-days festival to discover all the secrets of the real Italian pizza. Everybody knows that pizza was born in Naples and it has been exported all over the world, so this is why such a delicious event takes place in the city. You’ll have the chance to try lots of pizzas from different pizzerias: believe it or not, you can choose among 45 renowned Neapolitan pizzerias. Moreover, there are a lot of shows, workshops, laboratories, and activities for children. During the festival you can also take place in the World Pizza Maker Championship, an international event that allows the best pizza makers to show off their talents and gain recognition, offering a unique show of skill and practice combined with talent and competition. The entrance to the village (from 18.00 to 00.00) and the shows (21.00) is completely free. A menu (pizza, drink, dessert and coffee) is extremely cheap, around €12. So we totally recommend this festival… if you’re a pizza lover you should go to the Pizza Village at least once in your life!
5) Merano Wine Festival & Culinaria
When: 4-8 November 2016
Where: Merano, South Tyrol
Merano Wine Festival & Culinaria in South Tyrol is the perfect place to discover typical food from the complementary combination of Austria and Italy’s culinary heritage. The gastronomic offer of South Tyrol is actually the result of the coexistence of the two local culinary traditions, therefore you can find delicious home made apple strudel in a stall and fontina cheese in the next one. At the festival, many major wine producers from all over the world will bring their most recognized bottles to Merano, so there’s also the possibility to try wine tasting. So, what’s better than ending your day with a glass of excellent wine while watching the sun set over the Alpine peaks, in a vineyard?
6) Peperoncino Festival
Where: Cosenza, Calabria
Hot and spicy food lovers, Peperoncino Festival is back! If you enjoy the zestier things in life, then you can’t miss this! It is a free, local food & music event that takes place in Calabria, homeland of chilli pepper. Apart from the celebration of the spicy and hot food, you we’ll find also live music, cabarets, shows along the street, exhibitions and food tastings. There will also be chilli-eating contests, the “International Championship of chilli pepper eaters”: to eat 500 g of chilli pepper in 30 minutes is the standing record…. Can somebody really break it?
So all you have to do now is go there and try a variety of dishes with chilli peppers that will get your taste buds fired up! There’s no better place to satisfy your craving for flavor and fire!
7) Streeat Food Truck Festival
The food truck madness has arrived to Italy thanks to Streeat Food Truck Festival, a fantastic event that gather chefs, gastronomic artisans and entrepreneurs. Streeat Food Truck Festival is focused in artisan food craft and you can find any kind of food, from juicy hot dogs to gourmet burgers, from typical dishes to delicious desserts, drinks and beers. This is an environment-friendly festival that you can’t miss if you like informal eating out. Where exactly? It’s difficult to say, because you literally have to follow the trucks that go all around Italy (Firenze, Genova, Milano, Torino, Verona, Bari, Padova and a lot more cities). If you want to know the next stops, stay tuned and follow the website! The festival has already started and is open to the public for free.
Where: Perugia, Umbria
Calling all chocolate lovers, like every year, the famous chocolate festival in Perugia is back for a celebration of all things chocolate. Eurochocolate festival, now in its 23rd year, promises to be fun-filled, sugar-fuelled ten days with chocolate-themed market stalls, tastings and family-friendly entertainment throughout the medieval city center. You can expect an array of artisan chocolatiers and bakers, plus every kind of samples of chocolates, plenty of street food and other market stalls. You will also see chocolate waterfalls (for serving chocolate fondue) and objects made out of chocolate. So you can bite a door handle, a shoe or even a hammer. And yes, the chocolate waterfall is not just for your visual enjoyment, you can actually eat it!
10) Sagra del Limone
Where: Massa Lubrense, Campania
At the end of July, Massa Lubrense, a town near Sorrento, in Campania, hosts Sagra del Limone (Lemon Festival). The locally grown lemons have made this area famous and they are used to produce limoncello, a sweet, lemon-flavored liqueur traditionally served after meals as digestif. During this festival you can taste the best limoncello in Italy, made only with three ingredients: sugar, spirit and lemons, symbol of a sun-soaked vision of the South. Be prepared to spend three days buying and tasting all the lemon delights you can imagine! If you’ve never visited Costiera Sorrentina before, this festival is a fantastic chance to make the most of everything it has to offer.
Feeling hungry? Now for sure your stomach is rumbling and your brain is more than a little curious, so it’s time to start planning your food festival road trip in Italy. From North to South, Italy hosts a number of great festivals throughout the year. As you may have noticed, Italy’s events agenda spans all tastes and genres and the range of festivals attracts both Italian and international festivalgoers. So what are you waiting for? A culinary trip is what you need to justify your desire to travel across the world, because only who has never traveled thinks that his mother is the only good cook in the world!
Written by: Isotta Pieraccini
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