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Monday, 28 July 2008

of pears and sagre

Well the temperatures have been rising again and we've been praying for the relief of a nice thunderstorm. It was threatening today, clearly heading our way, but then decided to take a right turn out to sea. I think it's saving up a big one for us. There was the brief cooling of a shower today, but it did not last long. On the land we mostly water now and harvest lots of fruit and veg. We carry a few kilos of pears home each day as we pick them as they fall. Back home we bottle them in syrup as we can't eat them all at once and I can't think of anything else much to do with pears.

I may have mentioned it before, it's festa season and this weekend we visited a couple more. In fact they were sagre. There is no real translation for the Italian word sagra in English, but it is essentially a festival around a particular culinary speciality of a region or village. Saturday we went for the sagra testaroli e tagliatelle at Baccano di Arcola, just a kilometre from our plot of land. Tagliatelle does not need much of an introduction, but testaroli are a kind of thin pancake, which is usually served with either pesto, oil and parmesan or with a mushroom sauce. Susan had the testaroli with pesto, while I had Taglialtelle 'rustico', with a spicy tomato sauce. For secondo we shared an 'asado', Argentinian style slow grilled veal. It was scumptious. The after-dinner music was supplied by a one-man band, but the star of the show was a young Joe Cocker look-alike. He was barely 2 1/2 both in years and feet height, but he was tireless on the dancefloor, getting the Joe Cocker moves just right and asking all the girls his size to dance with him.
Sunday we went to a village called Bastremoli for the Sagra della Torta. We had not actually heard of the village before, but the posters promised music by our friend Riccardo Borghetti. The surprise was that the village faces ours across the valley, we just didn't realise it. It afforded a beautiful view back across to our village as can be seen on the top photo (Ponzano is in the background not the forground). However the food was a bit disappointing, the torte in question being a vegetable pie and a rice tart, both were not exciting. Also the music wasn't great. Instead of playing his own songs in Spezzini dialect, he played cover versions of popular American and Italian songs. He had a good few glasses of wine before he went on stage and did not get much feedback from the crowd, so he did not put too much into his performance. Shame...

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