Festival delle Sagre

The Festival delle Sagre, born in 1974 from Giovanni Borello who was at that time the president of Asti Chamber of Commerce and who decided to group in two days the best food and wine of the countryside tradition. The aim of this festival, in fact, was and sIMG_9306till is the valorisation and celebration of all those values related to the life in the countryside, which during the industrial period were disappearing. The tradition, the values and the costumes are all symbols of a strong sense of place and common identity. To make it possible, about three thousand people take part in a parade through the street of the city, showcasing the historical farm equipment and recreating what was the exactly country life during the 19

The tradition, the values and the costumes are all symbols of a strong sense of place and common identity. To make it possible, about three thousand people take part in a parade through the street of the city, showcasing the historical farm equipment and recreating what was the exactly country life during the 19th and 20th century in the area of Asti. The parade finishes in one of the main squares of the city, which hosts at the same time the food festival representing the most authentic Piedmont’s cuisine. This incredible festival host around 300,000 visitors from Italy and abroad every year. For this occasion, forty-four “pro loco”, which are non-profit associations spread all around te main district of Asti bring all together the best of IMG_9307the Piedmont cuisine preparing Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch for thousands of people.

Another important element, which reinforces the identity tradition of the festival, is the parade that takes place during the early hours of Sunday morning. The aim of the procession is to bring to life the old traditions of the people who were leaving in this territory, history and modernity come together harmoniously expressing the strong identity of the community. The people participating in the parade are the same members of the pro loco and each of them has a different tradition to showcase such as, wine and food production or livestock what they were famous for.

Hence, talking about cultural tradition and community identity, this event really showcase the best of it. The involvement of the community within the preparation both of the food and the outfits for the parade is outstanding. The identity of the event is strongly related to the tradition of the place but there is also a collective identity, which is made up from the support of the community. If you are looking for a city to discover with strong traditions to showcase, September it Asti will not disappoint you!

For more info visit Festival delle Sagre website !


Pasta&Vino- Palau, Sardegna

Living in London, aka the city with no sun, is not easy and if you are Italian and spring represent just a little intro before a full sun summer, things are not getting better. Following my needs of sun and relax I decided to went for nine days off-season trip to North of Sardinia.

Palau is the small town where I stayed. Connected with public transport to Olbia’s airport, this seaside town is the perfect place where to relax and enjoy the sea life. Moreover, many ferries are leaving every day the little harbour and bring you to the famous island of la Maddalena, which is also connected to another famous island called Caprera. April is an off-season month for Sardinia, which is better known for its summer season that starts in June till September. However, both because of this time of economic recession but also because people started to experience a new way of travel not always following the main touristic season, Sardinia opened its door even in spring. During this time of the year, you still can expect a lot of sun but also many trekking or cycling routes, while because of the weather the coast becomes more attractive for many windsurfers. Sardinia it’s basically offering a new market for that tourist willing to go on holidays without spending a fortune. Included in this package, food and beverage is another main attractive with regards to the rural tourism of the island.

In fact, the local “trattorie”, which are basically restaurant serving typical Sardinian food made by the same farmer who owns the restaurant are growing very fast and IMG_9171tourists often prefer them to the more touristic places of the coast. These places offer authentic local food, freshly made but also products that you can really call sustainable. This, together with the very affordable prices but also combined with the simplicity and the spontaneity of the owners is often a winning card for the farmers. My experience in the local trattoria in Palau Pasta&Vino it was the proof.

The first few days I tried different restaurants, all good but all with the same offers and approximately the same prices. After couples of days of research and conversation with the locals, I found the trattoria. My surprise reading the menu was big and from that moment I became a frequent visitor of the restaurant. Local and sustainable food, high-quality product served with originality but at the same time really affordable prices.

However, the food wasn’t the only surprise. Pasta&Vino in fact collaborated with local wine producers offering to the customers not only high-quality local wines but also something a bit different that you can’t find often in Sardinia. Coming from London, the natural wine market is something common nowadays, but not in Palau. The Italian wine market, similarly to the French one, is pretty much traditional, however, during the last few years is experiencing a new style of wine and surprisingly this arrived in Sardinia as well. The restaurant, in fact, cooperates with a local wine producer from Nuoro who is growing is wine in a totally sustainable and organic and biodynamic way, basically creating one of the first natural wine is Sardinia.

I found this collaboration, innovative and exemplary. A great support from a producer to another producer inIMG_9169 order to break the mould of the usual touristic offer, but also a way to present something authentic and real. The real enhancement of the local products means also, bet on something new and not ordinary. This new approach to the rural sustainable tourism includes a
also, visits at the local farmers and wine producers where tourists have the great opportunity to see how the products are made up and finally try them.

Unfortunately, this is still a niche market in Sardinia but from my personal experience, I hope this will become more and more popular, always respecting the traditions.



If you would like to see more pictures of my days in Sardinia: Sardinian Adventures

NoMad – Marrakesh, Morocco

IMG_9156Last summer I decided to get out of the ordinary box of the more traditional summer trips such as Spain and Greece and moved my attention to Africa, Morocco and precisely Marrakesh. Also called the Red City for the natural red pigment of its walls and buildings, Marrakesh is a place full of colours, acrobats, drummers, dancers, pipe musician, storytellers and merchants. Because of its Berber origin connected with the local populations of the desert, the city keeps a sort of magical and hidden beauty that attracts a lot of tourists from everywhere nowadays. The Medina, which is the old part of the city with its ancients palaces and the souk, how the locals call the market, is the main attraction of Marrakesh.

Jamaa El Fnaa is the main square just in front of the souk, here you can find snake charmers play their flutes, medicine men, tooth-pullers, trays of previously extracted molars and more and more things going on. Back in the days, the square was a place of public execution for criminals, but was also a place of reunion for local rioting to become today one of the major attraction for tourist. The local market, better know as the souk, is almost impossible to navigate and the most interesting times to visit are or in the early morning when the merchant are about to open their shops or late in the afternoon when you can find good bargaining.

In the heart of the souk, you can find NoMad. This place is a modern Moroccan restaurant based on local products and simplicity offering at the same time a very interesting revision of traditional Moroccan cuisine. The menu is articulated between cold and hot starters moving to good size main courses, ending with sides and desserts. You can expect a lot of vegetables together with the more traditional pastille stuffed with pigeon but also different varsities of the famous tagine. Fish is not very present on the menu but is understandable considering the local products, which are mainly based on meat however my sardine tart with caramelised onions was incredibly tasty. After fish, I moved to a modern Tunisian brick, which is basically a small pastry pie stuffed with aged lamb, eggs and harissa. The main was nice but the revelation of the meal was the desert, saffron ice cream that totally blows up my mind.

Prices are for sure different from the majority of the restaurant in town but the menu offers very different and innovative option as well. If you are wine lovers, prices are quite high with glasses of wine sometimes more expensive than main courses dishes. Hence this clearly represents the Moroccan culture where alcohol is not a common ingredient within the society, therefore not so common to find around.

On overall my experience at NoMad was great and the location played its part. For sure a must go place in Marrakesh.


If you would like to see more picture of my days in Marrakesh: Moroccan Days!

Local is Good

During my last journeys I gave more and more importance to the experience of the local authenticity. Everyone gave different meaning to this concept but for me was mainly about gastronomic culture and tradition of the place visited. Is incredible how many things will be possible to discover about a country and its people through food. Why they use a particular cooking method, why they conserve product in a certain way or even all the different ways used to season various food. The wine tradition of a country says even more sometimes. You have place like France and Italy where wine is considered as a part of their DNA since day one or you have place like Morocco where according to the religious practice followed, alcohol is not such a thing.

But with or without alcohol and using cumin or oregano, each gastronomic tradition has something to offer to whomever is ready to explore it.

In this section of the blog I will revise with you the best culinary discovers of my last journeys.