Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Celebration of Celery

The town of Trevi here in Umbria grows what is called sedano nero, or black celery; it's not really black, the roots are covered and the chlorophyll shoots to the leaves, giving them a dark green color.  October is the month when this vegetable is celebrated in style with a sagra.  Part food festival, part rock concert (they are so crowded) and part county fair, these celebrations are a lot of fun, and you get to mingle with the locals.  When my friends and I went, we were the only gringos in the crowd.

When we got to Trevi, there was a carnival-like atmosphere in the parking lot, with trucks selling everything from organic honey to candy to Cippolini onions, and fresh produce.   

Think I saw this guy at the Del Mar Fair!
Upon entering the city, your senses are assaulted with the noise, smoke from the fires cooking sausages, and the smell of celery.  Yes, celery does have a aroma, and when it’s grown organically under DOP seal, as it is here, it’s sublime.  

Our friend Anne headed towards the band that was playing and then proceeded to drag us all into the fray---I took movies, but told my friends that they are for sale. 
 The sausage grillers were working hard with grills that had flames as high as 5 feet at some points.  

 Unfortunately they weren’t working fast enough for this group!  

Even the president of the commune was cutting rolls---in his suit and tie!
The celery was for sale in the square, and each farmer has a story to tell. 

  This gentleman is in his 90’s and still farming and selling his celery. 
 This is the prize winner for the night.  

After 1 1/2 hours in the square, we headed for our dinner at a tavern located down the hill on a twisty side street---an all celery extravaganza.   


Crostini with sausage and celery

Celery tortino with lardo

Sausage stuffed celery with ragu

Wild Boar Stew

Filet of beef with celery and Sagrantino sauce

Raw Celery with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper

Panna Cotta with sweet celery garnish

Eating with the locals
The men in charge of the sausage brigade; once they found out I was blogging then they had to have everyone in the photo.  This is why I LOVE the Italiani! If you are in Italy during harvest time, there are  festivals in almost every little town to celebrate.  Since I've been here I've hear about the snail festival in Cantalupo, and the Cippolini festival in Cannara, I had to go to this one.  At the end of the month in my grandparents' home town of Gubbio there will be a festival of the white truffles---I'm going to miss it, since I leave here a week from today.  (sad face)  Wishing you a buona notte from Spello.

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