My Favorite Sagra (that I've never been too)
I have been recommending to friends and tourists alike to attend the Festa del Bosco in Montone for years... but I've never been to it! I don't make a habit of telling people to go places that I've never been to, but its a festival I just always had a good feeling about (plus, obviously I always got good reports back).
This year, as I was neither working nor forced to attend a not-to-be-named-but-decidedly-less-fun-sagra in another part of Umbria, I finally got there. Even though the summer festivals are considered to be bigger and better, I actually prefer the fall/winter happenings. The big reason is because they tend to be during the day - a good reason to go out and enjoy the few precious hours of daylight we have in the winter!
Of course, my main reason for going to any sagra is the food and, like every sagra or festa, it has its taverne, little "restaurants" set up around the town either in tents or old medieval halls. The food in Montone was pretty good - very simple, typical Umbrian food: torta al testo galore with all the fillings immaginable, tagliatelle with mushrooms or truffles, and Stufato di Cinghiale or wild boar stew, a fall favorite. I was very excited to find the Monni family (Montone locals) who are AMAZING cheesemakers - their cheeses are delicious to eat & beautiful to look at, like this cheese aged in grape lees:
My favorite find was the Frutti di un Anno (Fruits of a Year). I didn't even know what this was - I just saw a woman scooping something delicious-looking out of a gigantic jug and putting it into jars for people...so I got in line to get whatever it was...which turned out to be fruits taken throughout the year and put under alcohol to preserve them - yum!
Other fun things winding through the streets of Montone: local beer, basket weavers, foraged mushrooms, boulder-size white truffles, fire-roasted chestnuts, iron-works demonstrations..... I'll be back!!!
Originally posted November 2011