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 !

 

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!