Up on the hill, Assisi backdrops the small (pop. 2500) village of Rivotorto, where Umbria’s traditional rural cuisine draws the locals – and not only! – for nine mid-August evenings of feasting, ballroom dancing and more.
…..to a re-evocation of a summer wheat harvest to a presentation of antique musical instruments used by the local band. A conference between grandparents and teen grandchildren introduces one evening of feasting and dancing; on another day, voices join to bring alive traditional Umbrian rural songs.
And here at Rivotorto’s Antichi Sapori festival, “old flavors” (or the delectable flavors of the humble rural cooking of past generations) entice. Roast goose was a top-seller on the menu the evening we were there:
We often enjoy a dinner at one sagra or another throughout our region of Umbria from late spring to late fall – when the “sagra season” ends – but this is the only Umbria sagra where the goodness you ordered arrives at your table in terra-cotta dishes.
Although plastic plates and cutlery are the norm, more and more villages are becoming eco-conscious and reducing the use of plastic at their sagre. But here in Rivotorto, these terra-cotta dishes have always been used for as one of the organizers told me, “the goodness of these traditional dishes would quite simply be lost if served on plastic.”
The other novelty of Antichi Sapori? Not the same menu throughout the sagra but different menus each evening. I asked three young women enjoying their feast if the food at this sagra was what drew them back each year…..
The name of each orchestra is always printed on the sagra programs and on posters around town. The dancing was just starting as we left but this orchestra was a popular one and would be drawing the crowds.
For thirty-two years now Rivotorto’s Antichi Sapori has offered buonissimo cuisine at prezzi popolari (reasonable, affordable prices) and summertime entertainment to all ages. Every year, more people discover this sagra.
Drop in, too, if you’re in Umbria in August….
….and if you’re here during another month, do let me know and I’ll be glad to share with you “sagra tips.”
Click here to read all about la sagra (and note the links!)