It’s confirmed, not even a devastating earthquake can cancel Navelli’s annual chick pea and saffron feast (Sagra di Ceci e dello Zafferano). The village’s Pro Loco association is already frenetically preparing for one of Abruzzo’s most loved summer events. The town is full of signs organizing this and that. One of the most delicate parts is ensuring that the Pro Loco gets its hands one enough of the local variety of chick pea from the small producers.
We had a small taste of things to come last night. A cover band played in Piazza San Pelino in support of the local earthquake recovery and Emily and Sofia and their middle school-aged friends danced away.
The pro loco prepared a delicious garbanzo bean soup and small, baton-shaped pizze fritte (salted fried dough) that we washed down with cool Cerasuolo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Cerasuolo rosè wine from the Abruzzo coast (or Paulaner beer on tap). For the meat-eaters there were arrosticini (snack sized mutton skewers) for the kids and a good porchetta. Porchetta is an entire boned pig roast on a spit and then sliced horizontally and eat either alone or on sandwiches. Good, but never as good as Gianni’s. But then that’s another story.
The Sagra will be Saturday August 22nd and Sunday the 23rd. It’s great food with indigenous ingredients and lots of dancing; line, group and ballroom in the main square and a disco until the small hours of the night nearby.
The star attraction is the Sunday afternoon donkey race, a play on the Palio di Siena. It’s a must for anyone who loves Italian asses, big and small.
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