Italian Sagra

I know that sometimes I might sound like a whiner on my blog, complaining about how I’m lonely or I don’t speak the language. It’s true, I need to learn the language!! But on the bright side, I’m really not lonely anymore. I remind myself at these times how lucky I am to be in this situation, and I don’t mean living abroad (I always knew I was lucky for that). I mean that I live abroad and that I live with a local. That I can be surrounded by locals and see the local traditions. That I have a chance to see the all of the beaches of Tuscany, the bars on the seaside, the Sagra…

Sunday was the big one. The one we had all been waiting for. We headed to our friends’ Tommasso and Georgette’s house around 11am and then stopped for a hitchhiker (aka our friend Gianna) and were off to the unknown town of Sagginale high in the Tuscan hills. The Sagra is a festival of food. They occur in many towns throughout Tuscany (Italy?) and each celebrate a specific food item or two.

Our Sagra of choice was… Bistecca Fiorentina (would you expect anything else?) and Tortelli. Each of us ordered a Primi Piatti of Tortelli with the town specialty salsiccia (sausage) and Gianna got a Ragu instead.

Then it was time for the big guns. Out comes the monstrous and beautiful Bistecca. Here you see Gianna holding it in all of it’s infant-sized glory.
AMAZING! In Florence, the specialty is to just barely cook the steak. It’s a very rare steak but it’s very delicious as well. Simply seasoned, hardly cooked and quickly devoured. We had two small baskets of french fries to accompany it, then finished to meal with a dessert and a coffee.
My preconceived notion of a Sagra was a festival full of chattering and loud Italians (sorry I still can’t seem to drop this stereotype) eating all together at a giant table with frenzied waiters delivering food non-stop. Has anyone ever been to the state fair? It was more like that. We walked in and found that we all felt quite at home! Yes, there were big tables but no one was imposing on your conversation (as can happen at some busy restaurants) and the waiters were just kids and adults alike dressed in t-shirts and jeans. We sat on wooden benches and ate off plain white plates and drank wine from plastic cups. It was a very nice and very refreshing experience.
We breathed one last breath of country air and jumped back into the car. One last note; I’m thankful that there is never a dull moment of conversation with this group!
The boys cuddle up by the river.