Asti's Festival of Festivals
Asti's Festival of Festivals (in Italian Festival delle Sagre di Asti), is a great food and wine national event that takes place in Asti on the second Sunday of September, but it begins, as now established tradition, the previous Saturday night, when the influx of people sometimes exceed that of the same Sunday and falls in the period of "Astesan September", which includes the wine event Douja d'Or (which lasts ten days) and the Palio of Asti that runs on the third Sunday of September. More than 40 Pro Loco of the Province of Asti present their specialties, accompanied by DOC and DOCG wines from Asti, in a large open-air restaurant set up in Piazza Campo del Palio of Asti, where, during the Saturday evening and all day Sunday, thousands and thousands of people can sit in an old country village.
This takes place after a colorful procession that winds through the streets of the city, with more than three thousand characters with authentic period costumes, tractors and farming tools, which represent the values and traditions of the rural tradition of the province. The parade is the fixed date each year for those who want to enjoy the taste of the simple things of the past, the characters that keep the campaign alive in the history of the customs that have their roots in these hills. The Festival of Festivals comes to life in 1974 from an idea by Giovanni Borello, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Asti, in the Douja d'Or, with the intent to confer on what was essentially a wine competition, a time festive and memory of the peasant world. It was especially the gastronomic aspect of the festival, which urged the imagination of the organizers manage to bring together in one day the oldest cuisine rural and propose a large number of visitors a great food and wine festival that annually attracts more than one hundred thousand people.
Dusting off housewives' cookbooks of generations of farmers, written and oral, a geat menu is presented, consisting in of all of the assets of the poor and middle-class cuisine of ' Asti and Montferrat, cooked with ingredients carefully chosen and typically local. At the Festival of Festivals is the choice of over eighty different dishes, desserts, salty, dry and wet, all rich in flavor and some unusual now, such as the Finanziera chicken, rice with Barbera d'Asti, Polenta with a stew of wild boar, rabbit agnolotti, fried bleak, porridge (belecauda in dialect of Asti) or boiled with the "green sauce". There are dishes that are prepared in industrial quantities, (think that was sold in 2004 alone more than 4,000 kg of rabbit agnolotti a proloco) but certainly typical and popular prices. Here is the list of dishes that are fixed every year.
Sunday morning from 9.45, parades through the streets a long procession called "contadinerie" that means "Things of farmers" illustrating the highlights of life in the countryside to the early twentieth century . The show is undoubtedly the most spectacular and exciting festival, which anticipates the great gastronomic festival which will run from noon until evening. There are more than 3000 characters with authentic clothing of the early decades of the '900, tools and work tools, furnishings, furniture and fixtures of all kinds, hot-headed old tractors and agricultural machines that have marked the history of campaigns, 250 wagons pulled by tractors and old home zoo with a diverse oxen, horses, mules, donkeys and other animals that are taken for a day to parade through the streets of the city. The procession recreates the most memorable scenes of peasant life, punctuated by a succession of seasons in a veritable living museum. For about two hours the procession winds through the streets of downtown. The parade has nothing to do with a simple parade commonly understood. There is no fiction in it surface, everything is strictly authentic, from tools, machinery, to the characters. You will see the elderly as well play the part of themselves, long before the great depopulation of the fifties - sixty stravolgesse habits of life of many farmers.