The first annual ‘Festa del Bollito’, ‘Slow Boiled Meat Day’ is 6 February, 2011 in Fontanellato, a small Renaissance town between Cremona and Parma, Italy
If you are in Northern Italy and hankering for some real Italian food, the kind farm wives serve on holidays and Sundays, the kind that takes hours and hours to prepare, put February 6, 2011 on your calendar. That’s the Sunday chosen for the first annual ‘Slow Boiled Meat Day’ , the ‘Festa del Bollito’ in Fontanellato, near Parma, Northern Italy.
Fontanellato, Citta’Slow, and its Famous ‘Bollito’
Fontanellato, a small town between Cremona and Parma , was recently named ‘CittaSlow’, to highlight the town’s dedication to preserving its heritage and culture by, among other things, promoting the historical foods its citizens prepare best. The ‘Bollito’, the second course of Northern Italian Sunday dinners for hundreds of years, is one of these foods . Large cuts of various meats, plus vegetables and spices are boiled and served with a plethora of appetizing sauces, such as green parsley sauce, red sauce with tomato, both sweet and spicy fruit based sauces, and homemade horseradish sauce.
Fontanellato’s ‘Festa del Bollito’ , ‘Stew Day’
The event begins at 9 AM and is sponsored by The International School of Italian Cuisine, the local business bureau, the town and provincial governments and the farms and restaurants of the area.
‘Bollito’ with all the trimmings will be served in the Sanvitale Castle Renaissance courtyard at noon . The courtyard is covered and the meal inexpensive. A tour of the castle is also planned, with emphasis on the paintings on culinary subjects by Felice Boselli and the Sanvitale family’s china and cutlery sets and serving customs. Many restaurants in the area will offer their own special versions of the ‘bollito’ on that day as well.
Before lunch, don’t miss the cooking lesson with mini-tastings, followed by a round table of chefs , restaurateurs , wine experts, and food writers speaking on the proper preparation and presentation of this traditional dish. The chefs will also offer tasty recipes for using the leftovers, a thrifty habit rapidly disappearing.
At 10AM a ‘Sauce Competition’ is on the agenda. The various ‘bollito’ sauces will be judged by two juries, the ‘expert’ panel and the ‘peoples’ panel made up of local high school students. As you can see, Fontanellato takes its ‘bollito’ seriously, and the education of its young people as well. A respect for the local traditions can only be taught by involving young people in them.
For Children, a Different Sunday
Also at 10 AM, easy cooking lessons with emphasis on ‘bollito’ sauces will be offered to children from five to ten years old in the Sanvitale castle. Children of all ages will love visiting the live cattle and calf exhibition, where the best local animals will be on show, to be held in a special tent with corral outside the castle.
Local butchers will be offering their cuts of meat at special prices from stands set up throughout the town. Mark 6 February on your calendar and visit Fontanellato!
Make it a day by visiting one of the other small, picturesque towns nearby: Padernello, Soncino, >Sabbioneta, Torrechiara, Cremona
Enjoy and be safe!