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.

poster-on-abbey

poster-sagra

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)

preparing-antipasto

cutting-cipolla

olives

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.

little-waitress

little-waitress-2

cleaning-sala

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:

cucina

preparing-affettati

Anna Giulia oversees braised meats (simmered in vernaccia)

on-fire

Cesare (retired local butcher) slices roast meats

cutting-porchetta

preparing-maialino

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

meshing-meat

Giuliana on the fried artichokes

cooking-pasta

Silvana fills the creamy pastries

breaking-eggs

Alba sets out plates on the trays

smiling

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

serving-fagioli

Guido on the pasta and gnocchi

preparing-pasta

Guido, proud of the ravioli with vernaccia

guido-proud

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

menu

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

cipolle-in-agrodolce

For Pino, an antipasto reminiscent of the Umbrian Easter breakfast

antipasto

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

risotto

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

pasta-served

pnio-gusting-pasta

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

ravioli

For un secondo? Pino tried the parmigiana alle cipolle

pino-and-pasta-al-forno

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

porchetta

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

poster

desserts

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

pino-and-red-wine

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

other-customers

serving-food

tasting-pizza

customers-together

salone

guys

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

ravioli-vernaccia

ravioli-ready

ravioli-to-prepare

brasato

meat-ready

pino-parmigiana

pizza-cipolla

cipolle-in-agrodolce

all-together-in-cuisine

tovaglia-festa

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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