It’s already November, but somehow it feels like summer just ended and fall has finally arrived. September seemed an extension of summer, with countless blue sky days and perfect temperatures; and October, if you ask me, passed by while I blinked. The temperatures have taken the plunge and fall coats and boots have made their way out of storage and out onto the streets of Bologna.
Perhaps it finally feels like fall because this is one of the first weekends we really slowed down; we made no plans and just simply enjoyed living in Bologna. We bundled up and biked to the Saturday morning Slow Food market. We read on the couch. We caught up with family and friends back home. We cooked a big pan pizza topped with chard and onions and took a stab at cooking the typical Tuscan soup ribollita. A friend came over for dinner bringing pumpkin puree and porcini mushroom risotto.
Then on Sunday, we finally visited our first sagra — an Italian festival typically celebrating a specific local food. We headed to the Sagra del Tartufo Bianco (White Truffle Festival) in Savigno about 40 minutes outside Bologna. It was a gorgeous and relaxing day: we wandered the streets sipping mulled wine (vin brulé), checking out the truffles and other local food products, and browsing stands selling handmade crafts and second-hand clothes. We came home with full bellies – after sampling some truffle dishes and plenty of sweets – and a bag full of souvenirs: dried porcini mushrooms, fresh chanterelles, dried figs, salted pumpkin seeds, prune and orange compote, raviole cookies filled with blueberry jam, a pair of second-hand shoes, and a handmade knitted poncho.
Here’s the afternoon in photos:
I admittedly felt guilty leaving the White Truffle Festival without, in fact, buying or sampling any white truffles (we did sample black truffles!!). But I didn’t trust my hands to handle a prized white truffle in the kitchen and I also couldn’t justify buying the €20 truffle shaver for what would likely be a one-time use. If we’re feeling extravagant, perhaps we’ll head back into the countryside to taste white truffle prepared properly at an agriturimso before fall is through.
There are times I feel at odds with Bolognese traditions — as a person who tends to eat vegetarian fare and is more often found hiking than wining and dining — but on this particular slow, fall day it felt great to surrender my usual ways and live the vita bella for an afternoon.