Italian Language Blog

The Village Feast Posted by on Aug 22, 2013 in Italian Language


A long row of tables lines the cobbled village street, accommodating four generations of locals (and a few, such as me and Geoff, not so local) who have come together to share each other’s company, and traditional food efficiently served by a small army of kids. The karaoke, managed by an excellent semi professional female singer with a typical Italian husky voice, is playing classic Italian songs from the Seventies, such as La Canzone del Sole by Lucio Battisti and Il Pescatore by Fabrizio de Andrè.


People are singing, dancing and laughing. Pietro grabs his wife Elda, who’s still wearing her apron, by the arm, and swings her around in the middle of the street in the animated liscio (ballroom dance) style to the melody of the traditional folk song Romagna Mia. They’re followed by their grandson Davide who holds his little cousin, half his age and size, up in his arms, her feet dangling above the ground. Children are playing happily together on the steps of Simona’s house.


Pietro’s pet cornacchia (crow) hops about amongst i conviviali (people gathered to eat together) picking up scraps of food from the ground. Stefano’s beautiful lupo italico (Italian wolf) wanders around the tables, his wolf eyes glowing by the light of the full moon which hangs overhead smiling down upon the happy gathering. For a single night the ancient stone village is brought back to its old life, the life it knew before the mass emigrations that took place after the war. Tonight, everything from the music to the wine is ‘made in Italy’, the excellent food is homemade and il più possibile nostrano (using as many local ingredients as possible).


 Let’s have a look at the menu:


Torta d’erbi, torta di riso, frittata alle erbe e salame di Felino
Swiss chard pie, rice pie, omelette with herbs, salami from Felino
Testaroli all’olio o al pesto
First course:
Testaroli with olive oil or with pesto
Grigliata mista di carne
Chicche di melanzane e uova alla mimosa per i vegetariani (Gino, Geoff ed io!)
Second course:
Mixed grilled meat
Aubergine rissoles and mimosa eggs for the vegetarians (Gino, Geoff and me!)
Insalata di pomodori, insalata verde, cipolle dolci novelle
Side dishes:
Tomato salad, green salad, new sweet onions
Formaggi con miele di castagno Cheeses with chestnut honey
Crostate varie
Various types of jam tarts
Caffè e liquori:
Limoncello, grappa e … whisky!
Coffee and liqueurs:
Limoncello, grappa and … whisky!

Torta d’erbi is a  very thin savoury pie made with bietole (Swiss chards), ricotta and Parmigiano cheese, enclosed in two layers of thin, crispy pastry. It’s typical to the Lunigiana and Liguria areas.

Torta di riso is a very thin pancake made with rice, eggs, ricotta and Parmigiano cheese. It can be made with or without a pastry case.

Salame di Felino is not made from felines! Felino is a place near Parma, just on the other side of our mountains.

Testarolo is a big pancake made with flour and water, and cooked inside a hot cast-iron skillet. It’s then cut into squares about an inch wide, and boiled in water for about 4 minutes. It’s served with pesto or simply drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and freshly ground Parmigiano cheese. This is the traditional pasta dish from Pontremoli.


All the food is wonderfully cooked in situ by Elda and her volunteer helpers. Apart from the salami and the Parmigiano cheese, all the ingredients are local: fresh vegetables from the village allotments, eggs from the village hens, homemade jams, extra virgin olive oil from the local olive groves. Meat and cheese from Franco, the young shepherd who lives on  the other side of the valley, chestnut honey from Elda’s bees! The testaroli are produced by Terrae Luni, a baker down in Pontremoli who happens to be a cousin of one of the villagers.

All this, of course, is accompanied by litres and litres of homemade wine, which has been stored underwater in the nearby fontana to keep it nice and fresh. The water has been drawn from the local spring. The only foreign ingredients are … Geoff, and the whisky which we were offered at the end of the evening! The high silent moon and sleepy chirping of crickets accompany us during our ten minute walk home down the little mountain road that winds through the forest to casa nostra.

Davvero una bellissima serata!

Tags: , , ,
Keep learning Italian with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

Leave a comment: