Culinary Concierge
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culinary concierge, blog

ViaMedina is a culinary concierge service providing private chefs, cooking lessons, exclusive events, and interactive food and wine tours.

Posts tagged Sagra
Sagra Season: A Primer

Ah, Italia. The drama of the ruins, the majesty of its great cities; the art, the architecture, the beauty...

Wait, wait. 

While all of that is true and important and life changing, it's very surely not the whole story of what makes Italy what it is. Chiefly of course because that description is missing the most important pastime in the country: food. Italy without food is like the ocean without fish; glorious and wonderful and awe inspiring but lifeless.

But of course, everyone knows this right? Everyone's got a checklist: eat a cacio e pepe in Campo Fiori or a Margherita in Marechiaro, a tortellini in Bologna and then die happy. But that's just scratching the surface of the food culture here. 

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A Tale of Two Sagras, Part Two: The Sagra degli Gnocchi
β€œAnd a beautiful world we live in, when it is possible, and when many other such things are possible, and not only possible, but done-- done, see you!-- under that sky there, every day.” 

When last we met I told you about the certain strange and not unpleasant sense of pride and belonging I felt while wandering along through the Sagra del Baccala in Tuscania. It was a singular feeling and one that was aided and perhaps only possible because I was alone, and was a wholly different experience. The Sagra degli Gnocchi, however, was a very different experience based on a few key points. Mostly, it was the presence of a very special Sagra Crew. 

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A Tale of Two Sagras, Part One: The Sagra del Baccala

I must first make a confession. I don't necessarily love Baccala (salt cod) as a foodstuff, and its various permutations as they are found throughout the world rarely leave me enraptured in any substantial way. Instead, I have a much clearer memory of piles upon piles of salt cod pieces stacked upon each other in the myriad bodegas that have featured throughout the course of my life in New York. I remember living in Montreal near a cluster of Portuguese shops where giant unwieldy licks of preserved cod would dangle precariously above voluminous sacks of short grain rice and make the impossibly narrow aisles of the grocery store even more so. I remember the great bellies of cod splayed out across tabletops in various epiceries around Marseille and not in the beautiful old port section where you all still figure that young men named Marius await their next departure whilst debonairly drawing smoke from a never-ending Gauloise. No no, this was in a particularly dodgy little narrow lane in Noailles, and while the name escapes me now the smell lingers on in that lizard bit of brain none of us ever seems to shake. 

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