My clients have long come to realize that when they travel with me…..they eat well. Sometimes, I admit we eat too much, but we do eat well. Today, is no exception. We have a couple of great treats in store; a lovely lunch, a riotous wine tasting, and finally the unique treat of a Sausage and Black Celery Festival. Whew! But first, we need to build up an appetite. And what better way to do that, than with a few hours of shopping for ceramics!
Lunch is delicious! Each person gets their own appetizer plate…..tooooo much! But so good. Then comes gnocchi. But this is no ordinary gnocchi. The sauce is made from Sagrantino wine, my fave! Again; too much, but so good. And lastly, three big silver tureens arrive to the table. Each is filled with the house recipe for wild boar stew. Oh. My. Goodness. I was wondering what that little special something was in there, and upon close inspection, I find a few tiny grapes in the stew. Unique and wonderful.
After a little more time to explore the booths in the piazza in Bevagna, we load into the van and head to Trevi for a really unique and special treat. We happen to be in the area during the time of the annual Sagra di Salsicce e Sedano Nero, or the Sausage and Black Celery Festival. Everyone knows sausages are incredibly delicious in Italy, but Black Celery? In fact, the celery itself is not black; but the seeds that it grows from are. This particular celery, indigenous to this area, is quite hearty. It has a stronger flavor than the celery we are used to, and is denser, with less water content. The celery farmer below is the first place winner for this year's celery!
And when we have finished the nightwalk, we are just in time for our reservation at a pop-up taverna. These little restaurants aren’t open for the bulk of the year, but at special times, open up and serve delicious local food. Tonight, we have reservations at one that has received awards for its food. It’s a boisterous atmosphere. People are flush from watching live enacted battle scenes, and from drinking local wine.
We order toast covered in fresh ricotta drizzled with the famous local olive oil. Another toast arrives which is slathered in a sausage spread (This is the sausage fest, remember?) And best of all, we order stuffed black celery. It’s a little hard to describe, but the local celery is packed with a sausage, vegetable mixture, then baked and lastly slathered in a delicious, yet simple tomato sauce.
It is just so good, and the local wine served in terra cotta cups flows. The crowd is loud and casual. We are loud and casual. It is: So.Much.Fun. These are the experiences that simply can’t be replicated in the U.S. Everyone around us is speaking Italian; we are the only tourists in the building.
I’m dying for one of the adorable terra cotta cups and ask if I can buy one. “Just take it”, says the owner with a smile.
I don’t know about my clients, but I am so happy. (Actually, I know my clients were pretty happy too.)
It's been a long day, we've done so many fun things, and had lots of wonderful food. But.....this is a sausage festival after all.
So on our way out of town, a couple of my clients decide they really must taste a grilled sausage sandwich from Trevi's piazza.
Good for them. My kind of people!