Mission Europe 2: The Festival of Forgotten Fruits

The Festa dei Frutti Dimenticati is unfortunately one of the lesser known festivals in Italy.  I say unfortunately because it makes it very hard to find.  I had had my eye on this particular celebration since the beginning of 2010.  When I embarked on Mission Europe 1, I was unable to find a way to attend.  However, on this trip I solemnly vowed to grace the jubilee with my presence.

For weeks I sifted through information on the internet.  I wrote numerous emails, checked maps and reviewed transportation routes.  Today is your lucky day, because I found the Festa dei Frutti Dimenticati and I am going to tell you all about it.

I truly believe that a trip to Italy should include a visit to the Festa.  It is a charming village soiree that embodies the true country spirit of Italy.  I recommend arriving via rental car.  I am sure there is a bus or train route, but I doubt it is easy to find or use unless you speak amazing Italian.  As a plus for you car renters, the drive is spectacularly picturesque.  We drove approximately 80 minutes from Bologna to the small city of Casola Valsenio located in the province of Ravenna.  The morning was beautiful, the skies clear and the air was fresh with smells of autumn.    There was not a lot of parking around the city square; we parked about 4 blocks away.

The festival celebrates fruit varieties dating back to the roman era that are extremely hard to find elsewhere.  Town farmers and cooks spill into stone clad streets to set up tables, handwritten signs and colorful edible displays.  Tablecloths borrowed from grandma are covered with fruits that look familiar but taste unusual, jars of homemade marmalade, jugs filled with wine to serve on tap and even local artisan trinkets.  Shouts of: “Vuoi assaggiare?” are exchanged across the road as you walk around corners to discover a new lane just as colorful and lively as the last.

My favorite fruit of the day was something quite peculiar named Corbezzoli.  It looked every bit the part for a Willy Wonka candy audition.  At first glance I thought it would have a firm or tough skin and perhaps a grape style interior…  Much to my delight it buckled effortlessly between my teeth to reveal a creamy soft center that tasted unlike anything I have ever had.  As I was preparing to leave for another festival, a blue clad jazz band struck a lively tune that made me pause to smile and tap my foot.  It was a perfect end to my visit…

Festa dei Frutti Dimenticati was more than I could have hoped for.  People where rosy-cheeked and smiling, beckoning me over to their bountiful tables.  The music was moving and the fruits were incredible.  I have but one regret.  I was unaware the festival continues into the night, there is even a schedule and pop-up bistros…  If you go and when I return I think it would be lovely to make a full day of the festival and then stay for dinner.  As a parting tip let me say that you should be sure to have a cash supply on you, but also have an idea of how much you want to spend.  If you are a food lover like myself you will be hard pressed for self-control.

Be sure to check out all the links if you plan to visit.  Hope it helps.

Stay tuned for more…


One response to “Mission Europe 2: The Festival of Forgotten Fruits

  1. Pingback: Mission Europe 2: A Brief Affair in Cinque Terre | The International Poor Chef School Project

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