Anne's Blog

In April, Vernaccia  Stars in Cannara

Date: April 24, 2017 - categories: , , , , - 1 Comment

The plethora of sagre and other food festivals burst out all over Umbria in April – and will continue to entice palates and unite families and friends all the way to late fall. One of the first of the year – and NOT to miss – is the late April Festa della Vernaccia in the village of Cannara (not far from Assisi, near Bevagna and Spello), celebrating the area’s indigenous grape.



All the village unites to celebrate their vernaccia in the April 5-day festival, rich with an array of cultural activities and highlighted with feasting on home-cooking starring la vernaccia in many a dish. And onions: the Cannara area is known, too, for its onion varieties.

Preparing pizza alla cipolla (pizza with onions)




As at all these food festivals, labor is volunteer: the cooking, the taking of orders, serving at table (the younger ones), cleaning up the tables (often the retirees).

Young ones serve up the goodness and retirees clean up the tables.




Pino and I headed to Cannara one Sunday for lunch and while awaiting our orders, I roamed the kitchen where the many volunteers proudly posed for photos. And here they are:



Anna Giulia oversees braised meats (simmered in vernaccia)


Cesare (retired local butcher) slices roast meats



Sandra stirs up the guanciale (pork cheek), key ingredient of the gnocchi sauce


Giuliana on the fried artichokes


Silvana fills the creamy pastries


Alba sets out plates on the trays


….and she also oversees the onion Parmesan and sweet-and-sour onions


Guido on the pasta and gnocchi


Guido, proud of the ravioli with vernaccia


The menu certainly tempted and we tried a variety of dishes highlighted by the Cannara vernaccia and the Cannara onions:


As my antipasto, cipolle in agrodolce (sweet and sour onions)


For Pino, an antipasto reminiscent of the Umbrian Easter breakfast


For a first course, risotto with vernaccia and speck for me


Pino opted for la griccia (made with Cannara onions and pork cheek)



…and I had to try the ricotta-fondue-filled ravioli with sauce of vernaccia, cream of artichokes and crispy pork cheek


For un secondo? Pino tried the parmigiana alle cipolle


…..and staff kindly offered me just a taste of the braised beef in vernaccia


We thought we were too full for dessert – but I had to try that gelato alla vernaccia:



….while Pino sipped a small glass of la vernaccia:


As we were leaving, we passed tables of feasting families and friends in animated conversation:







They’ll be back next year for to celebrate the goodness..…and so will we!











Read more on vernaccia grapes and Cannara’s festival
Read about a family group’s “favorite day in Italy”

1 Comment

  • Janet Eidem says:

    Pizza alla cipolla! Oh my!!! I make it with soured cream as a base for the onions. How about in Italia?

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