Festa della Sparasina 2012
A few weeks ago I went to the Festa della Sparasina, “The Wild Asparagus Festival”. It’s an annual event in Pigozzo, a small Cimbrian village situated in the Squaranto valley a few kilometers from Verona. The area is uncontaminated by tourism and progress, surrounded by a rich vegetation, mostly vineyards and olive orchards on the lower elevations and forest on the top of the hills.
I already wrote a post about this annual event here but I took new pictures this year so I thought I could share them with you. I started my lunch with the bruschetta. One half was spread with sparasina pâté and the other half with radichiella which has similar leaves to chicory and dandelion. I then ate risotto with sparasina (asparagus acutifolius L.), “wild asparagus risotto”. I followed that up with a huge plate of wild herbs like radichiella gonfiata (crepis vesicaria L.), dandelion, chicory and wild asparagus served with boiled eggs. Finally I made it to the feverfew cake with its unmistakable aromatic flavor. Unfortunately I didn’t find the potato gnocchi with sparasina as they don’t make this dish every day but my friend, who did eat them, told me they were a real specialty and I believe her. I hope to find them next year.
This year I bought a very interesting book written by the Sparasina Association about the wild herbs found in their territory. The book lists each herb giving a detailed description of the plant correlated by pictures, its properties and usages. It also describes how to prepare decoctions or herb teas to cure, to detox etc. There are also 3-4 recipes for each herb. Among these recipes I finally found the famous feverfew cake recipe I love so much. The recipe is very similar to the one I tried to replicate here few years ago so I’m pretty happy about that.
What I really like about this festival is the love and effort these people put into it. It’s not just a culinary event they want you to discover nature’ s treasures and learn how to use them. After lunch in fact you can follow their two experts on a walk through the woods and learn how to recognize the herbs, tubers etc. The field trip is free.
Here are the pics of my lunch:
Bruschetta, first half with sparasina pate and second half with wild chicory
Risotto with sparasina
Boiled eggs with sparasina, candelina and wild chicory
Here’s the book I bought at the Festival “La migliori erbe spontanee nella cucina contadina di Pigozzo”
After lunch we went for a short walk and here’s some pics of Pigozzo. Here they are: