Welcome to the "New" Friends

Welcome to the "New" Friends

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Summer Fun in Casperia and Nearby - SAGRE

Summer at Friends Cafe

Summer is a wonderful time to visit the Sabina. The weather is hot, the skys are mostly clear, and there are lots of things to do in the towns and villages in the Sabina. You may have heard of Sagre (plural of Sagra), the popular food-themed festivals we Italians like to celebrate. Summer is one of the busiest times for these festivals. Just recently in nearby Selci was celebrated the Sagra del Fallone

Fallone are a type of baked pastry filled with wild and cultivated greens. The contents of the Fallone vary from season to season and according to traditional recipes of different towns where they are made. The Fallone come from the kitchen of the poor farmers in the region. It is a simple dish, tasty and nutritious dish very typical of Sabina.

A simple dough is made using flour, a little warm water, olive oil and salt. The dough must be kneaded for about ten minutes then divided into smaller portions that are stretched out with a rolling pin.

Greens and pot herbs such as spinach, chard, or chicory are wilted in a pan with garlic, sage and pepper then spooned over the rolled out dough which is carefully wrapped and sealed around the greens. These raw fallone are then pricked with a fork, drizzles with Sabina D.O.P. olive oil and then put in the oven on a baking sheet.

The resulting golden brown rolls of baked pastry filled with the green bounty of our Sabine fields and hills is delicious. Though they are mostly typical of Stimigliano, Torri in Sabina, and Montebuono, you will find them sold in many of the alimentari and supermarkets in the region. You will often find them here in Casperia at the alimentari outside the town walls. If you have not tried one, I recommend it. 

Three Sagre that are coming up soon in the region are the Sagra della Pizza Fritta, or Fried Pizza Festival in Cottanello on July 13th...

the 13th annual Festa degli Gnocchi in nearby Cantalupo on July 25th through 28th...

...and the 32nd Annual Sagra  dei Stringozzi in Casperia, which takes place over four days, August 1st through 4th.

First, let's look at the Sagra della Pizza Fritta in Cottanello as that is the one almost upon us. As the poster above advertizes there will be three type of fried pizzas offered for sale: sweet, savoury, and stuffed. Our sweet pizzas are like the so-called "Elephant Ears" I hear you have in America, or the "Beaver Tails" you will find in Canada.
Canadian Beavertail
The savoury version you will find all over Italy. The famous British chef Jamie Oliver fell in love with them during a recent stint in Italy for one of his shows, and uploaded a recipe for one version online. I am sure Signor Oliver's version is quite good, but if you want to taste the best pizze fritte, you must come to the Sabina where it is so popular there are Fried Pizza Festivals also in the towns of Canneto Sabino (famous for its ancient Olive tree) and in Morro Reatino.

Image of Sabine Fried Pizza courtesy of Italiavirtualtour.it
Of course during our Sagre we have entertainment, usually some live bands and dancing. There are contests, prize draws, and local produce and products for sale. It is fun for the whole family.

Gnocchi are known the world over... those delightful potato, flour and egg dumplings have fans everywhere, and the Gnocchi you will taste at the Festa in Cantalupo are special because they are of course made with potatoes and other ingredients produced here in the Sabina. 

Stringozzi, on the other hand, you may not know...

Stringozzi alla Cottanellese at La Foresteria Restaurant in Cottanello, courtesy of Alessandra Finiti
Stringozzi, or hand rolled string pasta, is very typical of the Sabina. We serve two versions here at Friends Cafe, Stringozzi al Ragu', which is served with a meat sauce, and Stringozzi oh my god, in which the noodles are dressed in Sabina D.O.P. Olive Oil, peperoncino chili pepper flakes, and a mixture of hard cheeses.

Here is a link to a video uploaded from the 2009 Sagra dei Stringozzi which will give you a taste of what happens.

You may also enjoy this video of some of our local children demonstrating how stringozzi is made: Gnam Casperia.

The programme for the 2013 Sagra dei Stringozzi is still being finalized. When things are more set, we will let you know the details.

You can see from the 2012 poster that music, gastronomy, entertainment and local crafts were advertised as part of the fair.

And if you look carefully at the poster just above the space between the words "Sagra" and "dei" you will see us waving at you from Friends Cafe just to the right of Piazza Umberto I.

Photo courtesy of Massimo Fidale
Come on by for a visit, a Negroni or two, of perhaps a bottle of Pecorino during the festival. Remember, we have the best place to enjoy a summer sunset in the Sabina.

Photo courtesy of Ine Dennekamp

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