It’s that time of the year in Italy when they seem to have a festival for everything. However, this is a very good thing in my book.
Last week myself, my wife and a work colleague visited the food and wine festival in Fiorenzuola, which is a village about 15 minutes by train from where I live in Piacenza.
I was a bit unsure about what to expect given that Fiorenzuola seemed to be very small when I passed through it on the train to either Parma or Bologna. However I was pleasantly surprised to find the town’s streets lined with food stalls no more than five minutes walk from the train station.
We headed towards Piazza Duomo which, according to the information on their Facebook page, was the epicentre of the wine festival. When we arrived we were very pleased to find out that, although there was an ‘entrance fee’ of €7, this entitled you to five free tastings from the many producers, and you also got to keep the wine glass as well! (You can never have too many wine glasses, and I always think it looks better if they don’t match!)
The producers were from all over the north of Italy and not just the local area. I like the local wines in the Piacenza region, such as Gutturnio and Ortrugo, but I always like to taste other Italian wines, and not just for research purposes!
Now, normally at festivals in the UK, you are given just a thimbleful of wine, and maybe a small morsel of food to accompany it. However, at this festival each ‘tasting’ consisted of a full wine glass, and the food just kept on coming!
We were trying out our pidgin Italian with the stallholders, but when they detected our appalling attempts at Italian, they became even more friendly and started giving us more wine for free in return for teaching them some English!
This meant that, by the time we had finished, we had drunk several more glasses of wine, and had eaten more food than our entrance fee allowed, but none of our tasting cards were fully stamped!
As the locals came out at 7pm to enjoy the evening festival, we were already on our way home; happy, with full stomachs, and with a nice little haul of delicious Italian wine.
We were also smiling at having had another day of enjoying the wonderful Italian hospitality. This is definitely in our diary for next year!