“Seasonal”: this is the current trend in the agri-food sector. Springtime lends itself especially well to the strawberry and to those wonderful asparagus. The hardy, yet delicate vegetable takes center stage on many tables throughout Italy, including Friuli. Rich in potassium, vitamin C and fiber, the white and green asparagus of Friuli Venezia Giulia are cultivated with skill and with due attention to the cyclical rhythms of the land. The crops are a source of immeasurable satisfaction for local producers. These excellent products are often available along the roadsides of the region and can be purchased directly from the grower.
A very practical way to taste the asparagus typical of this area is during the Asparagus Festival. It is a historic event (started in 1981 by the Duchy of Friulian Wines) that is scheduled until May 18. It involves many local restaurants in the preparation of tasty and refined dishes – from appetizers to desserts – centered not only on the very famous white asparagus of Tavagnacco but also on other qualities of asparagus coming from many Friulian locations, each accompanied by a local wine to enhance its flavor.
Delicate and purifying, the asparagus (from the Greek asparagos) were dispersed in the Mediterranean area by the ancient Egyptians but found their place in Italy as early as 1500, becoming an elitist food of the high-ranking people. Fortunately, nowadays they have come into common use and they are still grown in certain areas of northern Italy. Some popular beliefs surrounding the asparagus include: consuming large asparagus during wedding banquets in order to prevent the new groom’s impotence. They are undeniably an irreplaceable and beneficial food which is evident by the number of festivals dedicated to them.
There is a real explosion of asparagus sagre (festivals) in Friuli during the spring period. They flourish everywhere because of the abundance and variety of the raw material (which offers a wide range of asparagus of all types and sizes, from white to green sometimes even violet color), and because of their flavor. Tavagnacco, in the Province of Udine, well known outside the regional borders for its excellent white asparagus crops, will host 82nd annual festival through 13 May.
Also on May 13, the Feast of the Asparagus of Fossalon 2018 will end (in the Province of Gorizia). Arta Terme (Udine) will delight visitors with its Wild Asparagus Festival and combine it with celebrating the wild, mountain radicchio and spring mushrooms. Artisan products and local food will of course be present. There will also be the possibility to book a “traveling menu” created and personalized with local delicacies.
If for some reason you miss it this year, be sure to mark your calendar for next spring in Friuli.
photo copyrights: comune.tavagnacco.ud.it, eventiesagre.itRedattore
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