August 16, 2005

Ferragosto.. It's a Party!

For Italians, Ferragosto celebrated August 15th, is a sacred holiday.
In Catholic countries, it is the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and many large celebrations are held around this holiday, including the Palio in Siena.

But as is true for most religious holidays, they are based on Pagan celebrations!

We celebrated with the famed butcher from Chianti, my friend, Dario Cecchini and 900 of his closest friends!

Four years ago he began the Festa del Nocciola, the night of the Hazelnuts.
The hazelnut tree is thought to be sacred to witches and used for their wands. August 14th, they fly over the earth blessing those they pass.
Branches from the tree are also used to find water and the nuts themselves were a symbol of fertility and given at weddings. Ancient tales and traditions to pass on and celebrate.

The festa began around 8pm and finishes with dancing in the street and celebrating the arrival of Ferragosto at midnight!

As usual these celebrations always have food.. a plate of antipasti with crostini do fegatini, burro di chianti and mixed salami's came first, then pasta all'amatriciana and a large plate of mixed main course , chicken galantine, Dario's meatloaf served with My famous red pepper jelly, a tuscan potroast and white beans as well as a little Italian style potato salad. the traditional watermelon for dessert, all accompanied by local bands, Dario as the Emcee with local celebraties and a award to the local baker and his wife, also Daniel Ferro and his wife Joy form new york, who for 10 years have organized concerts with students form Daniels summer program in Greve, and the local poetess Miriam for her participation in the event planning in Panzano!

Wine flowed all evening warming up a cool evening and creating new friends.

Fresh hazelnuts just off the tree decorated the tables and were a new taste for most of us! One of Dario's friends brought them just harvested.

Come next year and celebrate.. make new friends..


  1. Oooh, thanks for the heads up to go look for nuts under the trees.
    I have a huge crop of walnuts coming on my two trees, and if I can get too them before the worms do, I'll save some for you.

  2. WOW you have hazlenuts!
    My friend Davis also just wrote about them, putting them shaved raw on a soup..

    another friend says don;t eat too many raw.. or you'll spend it in the bathroom!

  3. This farm has hazlenuts sprinkled around everywhere, and corgnole and blackberries and sloes and FIGS! The recent storms ripped all the ripe figs off so they are currently without ripe ones, but we have so many we consider delivering them anonymously at night to strangers' doorsteps.
    The only thing we lack is wild raspberries. I'm told they just don't grow wild in Italy.