"Truffle fair, October: like a walk in Italy" Top 5 Page for this destination Gubbio Things to Do Tip by Trekki
Gubbio Things to Do: 54 reviews and 207 photos
When I visited Gubbio in October 2009 the “Truffle fair” was about to be held. I was looking forward to it very much, thoughts of truffles materialised in my brain the whole time. But I was not at all prepared of what would await me. First of all it was fascinating to watch the hustle and bustle increasing daily. When I arrived on the Sunday before fair opening they had the huge tents already built up on the parking space at Piazza 40 Martiri. The next days they set up flags for the participating Italian regions and already then my gustative nerves became active and almost impatient. The following days the activity increased: it was like an overture which slowly gets stronger. And finally at the break of dawn of Friday, October 30, everyone in town seemed to be overly busy. I couldn’t wait that my lessons were finished so that I could walk around in town to see and feel this magic atmosphere. They have laid out a red carpet from the stairs to Piazza Grande down to Piazza 40 Martiri and decorated the sides with hollies. At approx. 5 p.m. I heard drums and knew that it would be soon that the sbandieratori (flag throwers) would appear and perform, something I was desperately longing to see. Then the drummers started to walk through town to collect, announce and call the people to gather at the scene. Their drums…the sound shot right into my heart, it is something very much bewitching and I could feel why drums are used to call people to gather. Then came several locals dressed in beautiful ancient costomes and finally it was time that the Sbandieratori descended and joined drummers. The Sbanderatori had their performance in front of Chiesa San Giovanni, and I was lucky enough to have got a place in the first row. It was even more amazing to watch them in this close distance because I could see their magnificent skills better and it was also fascinating to listen to the sounds of the flags when they were thrown into the air. I felt like a groupie, and to be honest, I am one :-)
I made several videos, but my video skills are not that much advanced. They are short though (the videos): drummers, parade of Sbandieratori, Sbandieratori performance 1 and Sbandieratori performance 2.
So much for this superb opening of the fair.
And then the truffle fair itself. As it turned out, it was not only about truffles but about delicious food in general. Walking around I felt like a little kid at Christmas. Or better I felt like a little kid walking through Italy. It was all there: Sardegna food stalls with their delicious pecorino sardo (for 400 g of good aged cheese I paid 8,50 €), Mirto (0,7 l for 8 €) and delicious torrone (I bought one with Mirto for 5 €), there was Sicilia with their famous marsipan fruits. There was of course Norcia and the delicious sausages and then to my utmost delight there were several stands from Italia’s south, Calabria, Basilicata and Campania. I fell in love, or better my gustative nerves did this, with one specific stand from Calabria where olives, onions and capers were sold. Not the tiny tasteless ones I can get at the supermarkets at “home” but real ones, big ones, marinated in different flavours. Since I like spicy tastes, I bought some of these big olives marinated with peperoncino (200 g for 5 €) and red onions of Tropea (200 g for 5 €). They let me taste all the different products and not for the first time I desperately wished to live here and be able to buy these delicacies daily. Cooking would be much more enjoyable with access to fresh and honest food which never sees any pesticide or fertiliser….
All in all I can say that a visit to Gubbio is worth anytime, but one of the best times to come is certainly end of October to visit this magnificent truffle and food fair: it is like walking through Italy. It is called Mostra mercato nazionale del tartufo bianco and is held during the last weekend of October, from Friday evening until the following Monday.
© Ingrid D., November 2009 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.). Update December 2010: link exchange.
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