The annual summer Italian Family Festa in San Jose, CA is almost ready, we are at the last few details of preparation and the celebrations will begin soon.
For two days Aug.27th-28th all the Italian descendants, Italian born and Italian lovers will celebrate our culture with music, food, craft, art, books and entertainment.
The Italian Family Festa in San Jose, CA started 31 years ago by Italian emigrants with the goal of keeping our roots and traditions alive. The character of this festa is more like a country fair called “sagra” in Italian, reminding me of the autumn celebration of the earth’s bounties I have seen in Italy when I was growing up.
Sagra (sagre plural) happen in every small town and Medieval village through August and September. The larger sagra has music bands and some sort of competition, along with food ready to purchase on the street.
The smaller sagres are mainly organized to present local food grown and cooked by passionate people, a way to share a communal table and to spend a happy day in the country. Both vendors and visitors are inamorate of their culture and history, love to show off the food they produce and often give away ancient secrets on how to cook this and that food specialties. Of course we are Italians, we love to tell people how to eat good!
Sagre in Italy used were an escape from rural life during the harvest time that preceded the long winters and for a couple of days country people and farmers had an opportunity to be social with the rest of the world. Today, sagre are a way to preserve our gastronomic traditions of the past and to bring tourists to small country towns.
In many sagre Italians celebrate food fit for a royal, like the truffle sagra in Ferrara. Truffle is a rare underground mushroom forever considered a mysterious delicacy in the culinary world and super expensive (over $1,000 per gr.). People can delight themselves with the pleasure of tasting many food prepared with truffle: Cheeses Entrée with honey and truffle, truffle antipasti fantasy, meat rolls with prosciutto and truffle, fowl meat with truffle, lasagna with truffle and so much more. I say: Eat truffle in small amounts, but eat it often!
The sagra’s themes vary from town to town.
We celebrate the harvest of watermelon, chestnuts, San Marzano tomatoes and many products from the earth. Sagra for the prepared food as grilled meat, prosciutto, salami and sausages, rice arancini and potato croquettes, pizza rustica, polenta and birds, mushrooms and much more, not only emanate mouth watery aromas miles away, but they give an opportunity to get familiar with very traditional home cooking not otherwise prepared in restaurants.
Modern Italy goes on vacation during August and September, but farmers are at work to bring us the pleasure of food from the earth that is going to sustain us during the winter. Therefore we celebrate their harvest, their hard work and the abundance of Italy.
Italian Family Festa in San Jose, CA in the way will turn into a sagra due to so much food available, but mainly is about being Italian in a foreign country and to remind ourselves of the contributions we have made in the world with our culture, art, history, architecture, philanthropy, inventions and of course food appreciated by the entire world. Being Italian is an art not taught in any school!
I have been invited to speak at our Italian Family Festa about my Puglia native land and my books on Puglia cuisine. I will be on the stage Sat. Aug. 27th at 2:30 pm.
Please come to the Italian Family Festa at Guadalupe River Park downtown San Jose between Julian and Santa Clara Street. Guadalupe River Park is conveniently located two blocks from San Jose Diridon Station. Hope to see you there. Ciao,
Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer with a passion for kitchens and cooking. She operates in the USA and Europe. She loves to remodel homes and loves to turn ugly spaces into castles, but especially loves to design kitchens and wine grottos, outdoor kitchens and outdoor rooms, great rooms and entertainment rooms.
She is a published author of two Italian regional cuisine books, available here in the Books page and in various locations, including Amazon: