Well, I've got a new favorite food festival. This year was the fifth edition of Porchettiamo, but my first time (unbelievable, I know). Porchettiamo is a play on Porchetta Ti Amo (I love you, porchetta), which is a phrase that has definitely been heard echoing through the streets of Umbria!
Porchetta is central Italy's traditional street food, and has recently been gaining chic-foodie status in the States. It is basically a whole pig (head to tail), deboned, seasoned with wild fennel, garlic, and bay leaf, rolled back up, and roasted in enormous, wood-fired ovens for 10-12 hours until the meat is tender and the skin is crispy, then sliced and stuffed into a bun for the perfect panino - what could be better?!
Now, Porchettiamo is not your traditional sagra, where, even if you don't like to eat the "main event," or are (gasp) vegetarian, there will be something else for you...nope - here it is really just pig. There are a few other food stands in the Pig-nic area, but even these are not for the weak of stomach: fried lake fish from Trasimeno, Lampredotto, the strongest of all tripe dishes, and Cicotto di Grutti - basically all of the drippings and savory bits collected from under the roasting porchetta - you know that is a crowd favorite!
But, back to the main event: the stands. There were 10 porchetta stands from different regions of Italy: Umbria, Le Marche, Lazio, Calabria, and Tuscany. You could either buy a full sized panino indivdually or a degustation ticket for €12 which let you sample each of the porchette in mini-panino form. We did the ticket, which was more than enough for 2 1/2 people, knowing of course, that we had to "save room" for the lampredotto and cicotto as well. The best porchetta? I hate to say this, but it was not from Umbria. The best was from our neighbor Le Marche, and the runner up was from Calabria - they spread 'nduja (pork fat mixed with smoky hot peppers) on it - just too good! My least favorite (and I swear on a pig's head that I am not saying this out of bias) was from Tuscany - it was soooo dry.
Make a day out of it! Apart from the food, there were art shows throughout the town, and there was lots of great live and DJed music - everything from traditional Italian to American pop - a few bottles of wine and everybody was up dancing. There are also activities for kids - painting and amusement rides - fun for the whole family!
There is only one thing I would change about this festival - move it to September AFTER bathing suit season!