Anne's Blog

Near Foligno, Gnocchi Take the Stage

Date: July 31, 2019 - categories: , , , , , , , - 8 Comments

Unusual July rainy weather did not keep us away from the gnocchi sagra (a village food festival) in San Giovanni Profiamma near Foligno.

I’d never seen the interior of the 12th-c. Romanesque church there and was hoping it would be open for an evening Mass that late July Sunday.  Pause in the rain when we arrived there…but the church was closed.

Across the road, cars were starting to pull into the parking near the sports field, site of the sagra. People headed to the food tents, holding umbrellas.

The tables outside (usually full) were empty and wet….

…..but inside,  hungry villagers – and not only! –  feasted  at some of the long plank tables:

We joined the short line where food orders were taken quickly (rain on a sagra night is good fortune!).  The menu enticed:

As this sagra starred gnocchi, I ordered the tris di gnocchi or homemade potato dumplings served with three different sauces: one with goose meat, one with fava beans and one with Montefalco’s famous red wine, Sagrantino:

That gnocchi goodness was served up by a young volunteer, Giulia:
Those buonissimi gnocchi were the same choice of another couple at our table, Alessandra and Menolo.  Pino ordered one of his favorites dishes,  pork shank with roasted potatoes:

While we had waited for our orders, I’d wandered to cooking area of the tent asking if I could possibly take some photographs in the kitchen. All the volunteer cooks were delighted to be in a photo…..

– and many urged me not to miss Nunziata, “la regina dell’oca” (“the queen of the goose”)

As she sliced up the roast geese for one of the second courses, Nunziata chatted happily about her many years volunteering at this ten-day sagra which has been animating S. Giovanni Profiamma every July for twenty-six years.

At an adjacent table, bruschette toppings were in the making, including one I’d never tried: con cipolle (with onions). 

Diced white onions are simmered in olive oil with bay leaf

….and then spooned onto toasted bread:

Nearby, Nadia was rolling out that Umbrian flat bread, la torta, which would be filled with grilled sausages as an antipasto.

Luigi helped in grilling the sausages over the fires behind the kitchen and then he split them for the torta slices:

I met the full “grilling squad” outside the kitchen area:

All the team was most welcoming, offering me tastes of the skewered lamb tidbits, arrosticini. Signor Franceso even insisted I take a couple to Pino out in the dining area:

When it started to drizzle, plastic bags covered heads and the grilling never stopped:

Another creative “grilling headress” which caught my eye was paper towel under a red baseball cap: to absorb the sweat on long hot nights over the grill…..

….and what an array of tasty Umbria specialties on that grill….

….and near the sizzling meats, bread was being toasted for the various bruschette:

Mille grazie to all of you who volunteered to cook up or serve up Umbrian goodness for ten nights (most of them, hot, hot ones!):  Francesco, Massimiliano and Tommaso on the grilling squad….

……Anna-Rita picking up orders in the kitchen to serve at the tables……

…as did Sofia…

……and young Yuri on the grilling squad

….and Agnese serving at table..

… young Camilla did, too…

….. and Rebecca (age 10), too, who told me she that no, she certainly  was not the youngest one of  all:  “There’s a girl here working whose only eight –  two years younger than me!”

….and each of you – no matter the age – worked with such passione to make this a sagra to remember.

Click here for more on the sagra tradition (and do note the links on this one!)


  • Nikki Russo says:

    So nice! I love Gnocchi!! This certainly looks like an amazing get together full of fun, friends and food! Yum! I also noticed Crescia on the menu! My grandmother used to make this Easter Bread when I was a kid. LOVE IT!

  • Thanks, Nikki….and yes, in certain areas, “torta” is called “crescia” and Umbrians enjoy it all year. At Easter, they enjoy the Easter cheesebread, torta di formaggio – and here is a note in torta di formaggio:

  • Frank says:

    After seeing your pictures, I am so hungry.

  • Emilie says:

    Going to a sagra = one of my fav things to do in Italy!!! And if It’s with you (and gnocchi, let’s admit It), It’s even better 😀

  • Frank, let’s do a sagra together when you come back in September!

  • Emily, a great sagra will be going on near our house when you come visit i August..we’ll go together!

  • Mary Garland says:

    Wow Annie, This sagra looks like a total blast! Italians are so good at food and at sharing it all with one another. Those tortas? on that beautiful little girl’s plate with grilled sausage look like cheese crisps (the food of choice of young kids in the southwest). Are those made with the pasta you showed being rolled out? I’d love a recipe!
    We loved our time with you and Pino. This is a great way to prolong our too short but savory experience!

  • Mary…had tossed this…but yes, a winner of a sagra!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Privacy Policy

Privacy Italian Legislative Decree n° 196/2003 Under Article 13 of the Italian Legislative Decree no. 196/2003, regulations with regard to the Protection of Personal Data, this is an informative report to all interested parties on the modality of the treatment of personal data, arising from interaction with our website
THE PRINCIPAL FOR DATA TREATMENT During site consultation, personal data referring to identified or identifiable persons can be processed. The principal for data treatment is Anne Robichaud Pian della Pieve Assisi 06081 (PG) Italy. The data will be mainly processed at the mentioned head office by the people responsible for the website or by other people appointed for occasional maintenance operations, provided that their actions conform to of the guarantees enshrined in the Legislative Decree 196/2003.
Web navigation The information systems and software procedures required for the functioning of this website, acquire some personal data during their normal service, the transmission of which is implicit in the use of web communication protocols. This information is not collected with the purpose of identifying interested parties, but due to its very nature, the information could lead to user identification through processes and relations with data held by third parties. In this data category there are IP addresses or domain names belonging to computers used by users who connect to the site, addresses with URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) notification of the requested resources, time of the request, used method in submitting the request to the server, dimension of the file obtained in replying, the numeric code mentioning the reply status given by the server (successful reply, error, etc?) and other parameters referred to the operation system and to the user’s information environment. This data is used with the sole purpose of obtaining anonymous statistical information on the use of the site and to check the correct functioning; immediately after processing, the data is erased.
Data voluntarily supplied by the user The voluntary optional and explicit e-mail transmission to the addresses mentioned in this site implies the subsequent acquisition of the sender’s address, necessary to reply to the queries, as well as the other eventual personal data registered in the message.
OPTIONAL PERSONAL DATA SUPPLY Except for the above mentioned navigation data, the user may be asked to supply his own personal data through queries or messages to the email addresses shown in the contact pages. Failure to provide such data may be the cause of the inability to obtain the requested information from the company.
TREATMENT MODALITY The personal data is treated in compliance with the Legislative Decree no. 196/2003 and held only for the time necessary to achieve the aim for which it has been collected. Specific safety measures are taken to prevent any data loss, illicit or incorrect use and unauthorized access.
RIGHTS OF THIRD PARTIES The data subjects are at any time entitled to obtain confirmation as to whether or not data relating to him are held, to know the contents and the origin, to check the correctness, to ask for integration, updating or change (art. 7 Decree Law 196:June 2003). In accordance with the same article, they are entitled to obtain the erasure, conversion into anonymous form or freezing of all data used in breach of the law, to object, on legitimate grounds, to the processing of data relating to him. All requests have to be transmitted to the e-mail address

Agenzia Viaggi Stoppini in Assisi handles all technical support for my guided visits (bus transportation, organization of meals, etc)