Yesterday evening we went to what is called a “sagra”, a small festival where there are maybe a few rides for the kids, but where the central feature is always good food, and this was no exception. We had an excellent plate of beans and sweet onions with a light dressing, and another plate of various grilled meats with polenta, and of course enough red wine to wash it all down.

Italy takes its food culture very seriously. Most people here aren’t nationalistic in the way that they are in the United States, but when it comes to food, don’t cross them! Driving towards the Colli Euganei (the hills west of town), we were listening to a radio program where they were discussing, in alternatingly incredulous and very serious tones, the fact that some british chef had had the temerity to suggest that Lasagna had been invented in Britain during the reign of Richard II. Of course, they were having none of that, although they didn’t claim that Lasagna is actually Italian, but rather dates back to the Greeks and Romans.

They were also talking about the culinary arts with regards to Bologna, which is famous in Italy for its excellent cuisine, especially for tortellini and tagliatelle, as well as “tette” and “torri” (breasts and towers), but that’s another matter!. In the chamber of commerce, they apparently have a glass case which contains a tagliatella made of gold, in order to have a standard by which all tagliatelle can be measured. Impressive!

As with most sagras, as the evening wears on, sometimes there is dancing and music. That’s mostly for the elderly folks in attendance, so after the food has been consumed (slowly, and quite enjoyed), there’s nothing much to do, so we head home driving through the hot summer fields with the fragrances of the countryside filling the car.

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