Five Unique Festivals That Celebrate Italian Cuisine
Just a mere mention of Italy evokes images of the delicious foods that make up the country’s world-renowned cuisine. These dishes and delicacies are so tied to the country’s culture, that they’ve become the focus of many festivals throughout the country.
Porchetta is a popular Italian street food consisting of thickly sliced, slow-roasted pork stuffed with rosemary and other seasonings sandwiched between fresh bread.
The town of San Terenziano in Perugia celebrates the dish with a three-day festival where porchetta producers across Italy gather to make their unique version of the sandwich. The festival also hosts cooking workshops, musical acts, wine tasting flights, and all the pig-themed merchandise you could ever want.
Alba White Truffle Market
One of the most popular places to find truffles in Italy, Alba is the site of the country’s largest truffle festival. The celebration of this delicacy takes place at the Alba White Truffle Market in the Piemonte region.
Attendees can sample decadent meals with white truffles made by internationally renowned chefs. There is even a truffle show where you can witness some of the region's most expensive and impressive finds, and plenty of vintners are also present to offer local Barolo wine for you to try.
Fiera de Riso
When you think of Italian food, your mind may go straight to pasta. But in Isola Della Scala, the focus is on rice. The town is home to Fiera de Risotto, Italy’s largest rice and risotto festival.
The celebration of the town’s local rice crop is more than 100 years old. Festival-goers can try classic risotto dishes and unique recipes featuring pear and taleggio cheese.
Locals organize parades and events highlighting historic and modern rice farming processes. You can also purchase rice milled in the area if you want to try your hand at making authentic risotto at home.
In the late winter, Carnevale celebrations happen across Italy; however, the most well-known takes place in Venice. Revelers wear elaborate costumes and masks for the two-week-long party.
The Italian word Carnevale comes from the Latin term “carnem levare.” which means “eliminating meat.” The Carnevale offers attendees one last chance to partake in indulgent food and drink before the beginning of Catholic Lent.
Desserts are a highlight of the annual festival. Fritelle, a small yeast-risen, fried pastry, is a famous Venetian treat. Other sweet snacks include tortelli dolce (ravioli with ricotta and chocolate chips), crostoli (fried dough made with alcohol then covered in icing), and migliaccio (lemon and ricotta cake).
Battle of the Oranges
Unlike most Italian food festivals, the Battle of the Oranges doesn't focus on eating the food for which it’s named. Instead, the event is Italy's biggest food fight.
The Battle of the Oranges commemorates the uprising of the citizens of Ivrea against medieval tyrants and their army. For three days, people recreate a battle inside the city using oranges as ammunition.
Some participants portray feudal soldiers riding on horseback. The horses are the stars of the event and revered by the festival-goers.
Even though the oranges aren’t for snacking, there are plenty of street food options available to fuel up with before the daily fight.