“No! Had we known, we would have stayed an extra weekend!” and “Phew! We would have arrived a day earlier if we had known!” are exactly the two phrases most often repeated by our customers when they discover they have just missed the Borgomaro festivals, the traditional and immortal ritual that enlivens the summer evenings of our Impero Valley and beyond.
In fact, you should know that the sagra originates as a typical festival for the patron saint of a village, during which other activities such as fairs, dances, and various entertainments can also take place. This is a type of celebration that here in Liguria, especially in the hinterland, is still synonymous with fun, revelry and goliardy, even among the youngest.
In fact, the term ‘sagra‘ is no longer used only to define the celebration of the patron saint, but the extension of the term generally encompasses a large village party accompanied by good food, wine and lots of music. Normally, all this is made possible by the collaboration of the municipal administration and the local Pro Loco, in this case the U Castello association, which for decades now has succeeded in the magical feat of bringing us all together to give us these magical evenings. Suffice it to say that my parents took their first steps, first words and first dances together on the smooth, festively decorated slate squares where young people of their age used to meet in the evenings for dancing and chatting… not movida and discos!
Generally speaking, each town proposes an annual event in the summer (normally on Saturdays, but possibly also an entire weekend) where during dinner a typical dish is served, among the many culinary proposals, which will then give its name to the evening (e.g.: the festival of fried bread). We, in Borgomaro, propose two dates… because we know how to cook so well that we didn’t want you to miss anything! Would you like to know what the specialities are?
I can see you scratching your tummies with your mouths watering!
First of all, these are dinners en plein air: long wooden benches, large tables, farmer’s wine (as Elena likes to call it) and off to crowd the carruggi. Very good, very spartan, but that’s how we like it!
The ticket office opens at 19:00/19:30 and the plan is based on a single rule: grab the first seats! Don’t delay, scramble through the crowd as if that plate of kebabs was the last one left on the face of the earth. Once you’ve got your tickets at the till, if you are lucky enough to have a partner by your side, send him or her straight to the queue for the evening’s main course, or that steaming juicy portion of fresh pasta will alas remain just a memory.
In the meantime it’s time to take care of the liquids: look for the BAR till and stock up on what you need, then it’s time to find a vacant spot where you can settle in to wait for the glorious return of your partner holding the tray of delicacies.
All right, all right, you want to know what we eat and especially when we eat. Here are the dates, I’ll see you there and whoever doesn’t come is a belinone!
Last weekend in May: her majesty the reina paella (remember what I told you about scoffing like it was the last dish in the world? Here, keep that in mind)
Early or mid-July weekend: take note, you will have the opportunity to taste President Mino’s inimitable Saracen mussels, which for years now have been making people flock to our square from all over. A word of advice? Pick up some bread and don’t forget to make the very Italian scarpetta in the cooking sauce!
And for those who don’t like any of these three dishes? Fear not: rabbit Ligurian style, the famous minestrone, ratatuia, condiglione, gorgonzola and quintals of grilled meat await you!