We all know Italy as the country that gave us pizza and pasta, the near-staples of urban eating. From frozen foods to fine dining, those to cover all the range of eating-fanciness. But Italy is more than just pizzas and pastas – and their food festivals prove it. So if you’re feeling hungry this autumn, there’s no better country to visit than Italy. Here are 5 food events you should try!
- Cantine di Morbegno, Valtellina
Start out light with the Cantine di Morbegno in the Valtellina region. This is the tour of the wine cellars in the old village of Morbegano. Or, to put it bluntly, you’re combining the quaint, old-fashioned cobbled streets and wine, an overwhelmingly classy combo.
As you taste the various wines of the region – don’t forget Sforzato di Vatellina, a local strong red – you’ll also partake of the salamis and cheeses that villagers make. This makes it basically a hors d’oeuvre festival! You can argue with the locals whether the wine/cheese/salami tours counts as antipasto, but don’t tell them we said so.
This festival takes place during the last weekend of September and the first two of October.
- Fall Truffle Fests, Anywhere Truffles Are Found
Truffle is that weird mushroom that you use a pig to find. That’s why it’s expensive: a pig that’s rooting for truffles is not sizzling bacon . In Italy, they deal in the white kind of the mushroom – tartufo bianco – and it’s mainly found in Piedmont, Molise, Tuscany, Umbria, Emilia Romagna, and Le Marche.
So naturally, October and November are the months when the feasts and fairs dedicated to truffles take place. The Alba White Truffle Fair – which just happens to last for both of the months – is probably the biggest and is well known for the market of the same name. But you don’t have to visit it to buy truffles. Local meals made with the mushroom are super tasty and usually at prices more affordable than what you find in a restaurant.
- Cous Cous Fest, Sicily
For those not in the know, couscous is a food of Maghrebi origin, made from durum wheat bran that was finely ground and steam-cooked. I can assure you that is very tasty with minimum preparation. However, ‘Cous Cous Fest – The International Festival of Cultural Integration’ (as it’s called in full) that takes place in San Vito Lo Capo, Trapani, Sicily, takes this staple food beyond its humble origins.
This multicultural event will attract participants from Italy, Angola, Côte d’Ivoire, France, Israel, Morocco, Palestine, Senegal, United States and Tunisia. They will be showing off their couscous mastery over the last week of September, taking part in world championships and the like. Regular festival goers will be able to experience over 40 couscous recipes daily, along with various other cultural event. By the end of it, you’ll be happy, filled quality cuisine from many different cultures and certain that “couscous” isn’t a slightly silly name for a food.
- Sagra dell’Anguilla Eel Festival, Comacchio
Couscous is good and all (and funny), but you know what other food you never expected to eat in Italy? Eel. Yes, the Sagra dell’Anguilla festival that takes place in Comacchio (Ferrara) on the first half of the October is all about consuming this vaguely snake-like fish. The first half of October sees the not to missed eel festival of Comacchio in the province of Ferrara.
For the duration of the event, food stands and restaurants both will offer their own takes on eel-based cuisine. The city center and the canals will be lined by stands selling handcrafted stuff, art, food and more. So if you love (eating) eel, you can’t afford to miss this!
- Euro Chocolate, Umbria
Time for desert! And what better sweet to treat yourself to than chocolate? That’s why you should head straight to Perugia, home of the Euro Chocolate festival that takes place every October. This city in Umbria is known for Perugina Baci (kisses) chocolates, so the location fits event quite well.
Once you get there, you’ll be greeted by chocolate sculptures, chocolate pasta (of course), chocolate alcohol, chocolate bricks and basically anything else you can stick the adjective in front of. Euro Chocolate attracts hundreds of thousands of chocoholics from around the world, and thus is one of the biggest events like that in Europe.
And if you find your trip to Italian culinary havens disrupted by flight delays or cancellations – or even overbooking – ground your disappointment by submitting a claim with Skycop. Getting compensation for your trouble might be just what you need to get a really awesome culinary trip next year!