A “Sagra” is a festival that celebrates a particular ‘something’; like fish, or potatoes, or black celery, or truffles. Last Saturday evening we went to a Sagra del Pesce in the small village of Calzolaro. We were a merry group of eight, including three ragazzi who are studying Italian at the Universita dei Stranieri in Perugia. What better way to introduce three twenty-somethings to a true Umbrian experience!
This sagra looked a bit like a fairground, with small booths set up on the perimeter of the festivities, then a huge dining tent and off to the side an enormous bandstand and dancing area. First you stand in a long line, and decide on the menu, which is not at all unpleasant because we were drinking a light, fresh white wine, while choosing what we wanted. Fortunately with so many of us, it was easy; we ordered at least 2 or 3 of everything! We had marinated anchovies, mussels, octopus salad, shrimp risotto, pasta with shell fish, fish on a stick, little baby octopus in a dark red sauce, spaghetti, grilled prawns, fried calamari and shrimp. It was a feast! And for festa food, it was damn good! We estimated that they were feeding at least 300 people at one time, and the food was served hot and perfectly prepared. This is one sagra that I can’t wait to go to next year!
And after our feast? Dancing! What better way to work off those many bottles of wine and plates of fish? OK, so we didn’t know the steps, and we crashed into people during the line dances. But, who cares! And our young ragazzi friends? I’d go out eating and dancing with them anytime! What a treat to see them laughing and eating and dancing and filling themselves with new experiences.