The invitation comes via Facebook: February 18 2011 – February 20 2011, Sagra della Salsiccia. The Sausage Festival. I browse the invite; no, this does not seem to be a Gay Pride Parade but, instead, an annual event celebrating local artisan sausage from Monte San Biagio and Fondi; small towns in the region of Italy where I live. Picture it, say my friends. Sausage, olives, cheese, and pastries as far as the eye can see! Oh, I can picture it. Now it’s your turn:
It’s only as I’ve aged that I’ve come to terms with my disturbing love for pig. Pork chops. Prosciutto. Ribs. All sorts of sausage, and, no, I don’t care how it’s made. In the weeks before the festival, I learn that sausage from these here parts tends to be heavy on the coriander, hot pepper, and cured in mastic smoke – an local resin I’ve never come across but am more and more eager to try. By 18 February, it’s indecent how excited I am. My friends are obsessed, too: You have to try the Fondi-style panino with sausage and broccoli rabe, they tell me. It’s to die for. It’s so good you’ll die.
So I eat one:
And it’s absolutely fantastic – like, enough to blog home about. Yet, I don’t die – instead, I live to eat even more pork:
And, near the entrance, across from the stage, are even more kiosks with even more things to eat:
If you read Italian then you are indeed reading correctly: cups of wine for 50 cents.
But there are other things to do at the three-day sagra besides eat. Friday night, participants are treated to a performance by Max Gazzè - an Italian Alt-Rock musician and Saturday night, the traditional music group Ambrogio Sparagna sets the crowd dancing tarantella. A first for me, but well worth the mild embarrassment and dizziness. Sunday night: Italian comedy troupe Di Zelig and the crowd goes nuts.
So much excitement; so much pork-filled fun; so much for lowering my cholesterol.
Been to an Italian gastronomic festival? Share your experiences in the comments section below!