Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Sagra del Pistacchio di Bronte

Sunday afternoon Les I drove up to Bronte, a town in the Etna foothills, for the Sagra del Pistacchio di Bronte, a festival all in honor of the lovely pistacchio. It was a two hour drive from our house through gorgeous countryside, especially once we starting climbing into the foothills.

As we made our way into Bronte the traffic was bumper to bumper - our first indication that this was a very popular festival.  After driving for a bit we finally found a parking place and we had no idea how far of a walk it would be to the festival but we set off in what we thought was the right general direction.  Our walk took us down a steep hill and we ended up exactly where we wanted to be after about a 5-7 minute walk.

Once into the festival we followed our noses - there were wonderful food smells everywhere!  Our first stop was for a gelato.  It was probably the BEST gelato I've ever had, and of course it was pistacchio flavor.  It was almost like butter, so rich and creamy!  It was even served in a handmade waffle cone.  Amazing.

After our rich, sweet overload we needed something on the savory side to balance it out.  We opted to share a slice of pistacchio pizza, simply pizza crust, cheese, and crushed pistacchios.  yum!  With satisfied bellies we wandered the festival checking out the many booths with food, jewelry, and other handmade goods.

After walking a bit we were ready for our next munchie - this time a pistacchio cannolo :)  more yummo!  I also found a vendor selling fresh pistacchio pasta.  I picked up some pistacchio ravioli and pistacchio tagliatelle to bring home (on a side note I made the ravioli last night and it was awesome!).

Throughout all of this eating we were having to make our way through thick crowds.  The later it got the thicker the crowds.  Eventually the festival ceased being fun as my clautrophobia kicked in.  Thick crowds and Italian's lack of respect for personal space is not a good situation for me.  I'd had enough at that point.  We found some dinner - pistacchio hamburgers! and luckily found a place to sit down and enjoy them.  Getting off of our feet felt oh so good!  We'd been walking for several hours.

After dinner we were ready to go.  A quick stop for Les to get a pistacchio creme crepe and for me to buy some pistacchios to take home for me and a couple of bags for family, and then we were on our way.  The steep uphill walk back to the car definitely burned off some of the calories we had consumed.  Overall we had a nice time (minus the crowds) and ate our way from one end of Bronte to the other.  Not a bad way to spend an afternoon!

Oh, and if you are wondering where the pictures are....well...I didn't take my camera out, not even once.  For the first hour we were there it was drizzling, and then after that the crowds were so thick that I didn't want to risk getting my lens damaged as we were squished like sardines in the crowd.  Oh well, maybe next time!

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