Italy. Mid-August dishes from the Alps to Sicily

Italy – It was the Emperor Augustus in 18 BC who invented the August 15th (from feriae augusti). A day off to get away from it all and relax. That’s why all Italians have always been very fond of this date, August 15, because it is synonymous with holidays, free time spent with your family and friends.
It goes without saying that, as in the good tradition of belpaese, this anniversary is also celebrated at the table. Each region, from north to south, has its own plate of mid-August to enjoy in the company. How and where it doesn’t matter. There are those who do not fear the heat and love to go to the beach for a table by the sea and there are those who seek shelter and coolness in the mountains or hills for the most classic of outings, enjoying their favorite dish on a beautiful green meadow. In short, what counts for everyone is to celebrate with a full stomach.
Let’s start from the north of Italy. In Trentino and Valle D’Aosta we have dishes of substance, just as you would expect from a mountain cuisine with respectively: the classic dumplings, tasty meatballs of bread and speck, and the lesser-known Seupa à la Vapelenentse, a soup that takes its name from the village Valpelline, made of bread, fontina and meat broth.

In Lombardy, the classic soup, in the cold version and more suitable for the month of August. In Veneto and Liguria, we turn to fish, with sardines in saor and caponadda, a fresh seafood salad with tuna, anchovies, tomatoes and olives, the perfect dish for sailors and fishermen. Friuli Venezia-Giulia and, of course, Emilia Romagna, focus on stuffed pasta with Cjarsons and the more classic cappelletti al ragù. The only ones to focus on the dessert are the Piedmontese, with a typical dessert of the 15th of August that is the Margheritina di Stresa, a biscuit whose particular fragrance is given by the presence, in the ingredients, of the sifted egg yolk reduced to flour.

Arriving at the heart of the peninsula we find in Tuscany the roasted pigeon, a tradition born in the Carolingian era. An ancient Florentine popular saying confirms that the “pigeon” is a.: “In mid-August, roast pigeons are eaten. In nearby Umbria, the main dish is gnocchi with duck sauce, while in the Marche region we find roast goose. Also in Molise a rather rustic dish with cavatelli with pork sauce. On the other hand, in Rome as in the rest of Lazio, it is not mid-August without the chicken stewed with peppers, a delicious dish and also perfect for lovers of the final shoe.

Slowly we continue to go south and we arrive in Campania, where the main dish on occasions like August 15 is the so-called Pizza di Maccheroni, neither a first course of spaghetti nor a classic omelette. A single dish to be enjoyed strictly in slices. In Puglia, a cornerstone of Italian cuisine, orecchiette with turnip greens, while in nearby Basilicata you return to the meat with Lucanian lamb. In Calabria, there is still pasta, this time baked. Pasta chijna (i.e. stuffed) is a classic of Sunday lunch or festivities, such as mid-August. Probably the best known version of pasta baked in Calabria is the one with meat sauce and meatballs, but there is also another variation, the one with soppressata. Dulcis in fundo we have the islands with the culurgiones of Sardinian potatoes, a stuffed pasta, and the typical Sicilian Melon Frost. The main ingredient of this fresh dessert is watermelon, which in Sicily as in other areas of southern Italy is commonly referred to as “melon”.

So a myriad of traditional dishes and recipes, to be prepared at home or to be enjoyed in the many restaurants open also on August 15th, which will accompany the Italians on this day of celebration. Diets are postponed until September!


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