Less Pork, More Porcini

By now you've heard me blather on at length about how awesome our trip to Italy was in January: How we made preserves with the charming Marzia; explored the secrets of Parmigiano-Reggiano, prosciutto and balsamico; hand-rolled pasta with la sfoglina and nonna Fernanda; made Romagna's famed flatbread, piadina; and of course broke down an entire hog and turned it into a variety of salumi. I know, given your druthers, many of you out there would love to join us on this excursion.

I also know, however, that January is a difficult time to travel, so close on the heels of the holidays, and with the risk of incumbent weather. This is why I worked with Vanessa at Global Epicurean to devise a new itinerary at a more favorable time of year. It is with great excitement that I announce our next trip to Emilia-Romagna for October 11-18, 2013.

Autumn is an amazing time to be in Italy. However, the change of schedule also necessitates a change of plans in our itinerary. You see, the norcini, or hog butchers, only slaughter hogs for the purposes of making salumi in a specific period of time spanning from roughly late November to mid-January. This time around, the only pig parts we'll see will be at the prosciuttificio or on the table. 

But I am here to tell you that we are replacing it with something I think is at least as awesome, and something I personally am very excited about. We'll be heading up to Portico di Romagna, in the Apennines near the Tuscan border, where we'll head out into the woods with experienced foragers to look for porcini mushrooms. And then, of course, once we've found them, we'll come back and eat them. After, we'll visit nearby Brisighella to experience one of Italy's most prized olive oils

070828_ porc Image by ilaron, on Flickr. Used with permission.

And because we've expanded the trip by a day, we will also head out to Sant'Agata Feltria, again up in the Apennines, but closer to the intersection of Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany and Le Marche, for their famed Sagra di Tartufo. These sagre are street festivals dedicated to local food specialties. Expect a crowded, very Italian experience with no tourists anywhere in sight. This is a family event when all Italians gather on the street, eat to their heart's content and just enjoy a fall Sunday out with friends and family. It will be as authentic as anything you've ever done in Italy!

So check out the highlights from our first trip, listen to what our guests had to say about it, then take a look at next year's itinerary. Join us for another exciting trip to Italy's culinary heartland.

Emilia-Romagna is really a

Emilia-Romagna is really a wonderful place of Northern Italy. In fact, my favorite place in Italy! Food and wine there is so special and different. A speciality is that, their foods are full of vitamins and minerals. Perfect for health!

Oh, goody!

OK, for 2014 plan your trip in September so you can attend La Sagra del Fungo Porcino with us!

Actually, the regions have a sagra for everything, La Sagra della Bruschetta, etc. We've never been, but right up your alley there is La Sagra della Porchetta. When I was in Southern Italy visiting family we attended (ok we ate) at the Sagara del Cinghiale (Boar). Sooooo delicious!!

Go with cash, and buy the "menu" meal they offer with the starring ingredient (usually €8-10) and it includes a glass of wine.

Haven't taken pictures of the Porcino one, but we go every year. I'm happy to share photos of La Sagra della Polenta that you might enjoy in preparation for your sagra, next year.

Sagra della Polenta in Sermoneta



P.S. My husband learned from his father to forage for mushrooms but since some varieties can be similar but dangerous in different countries when we lived in the Bay Area we went out and about in San Mateo ravene with a Mycological society. We drove the professor nuts.. at every discovery we asked, "yes, but... can you EAT it?!?!"

Will definitely keep an eye

Will definitely keep an eye on 2014 -- September is a great time to travel, too. I keep meaning to join the local mycological society. Now that the rains have begun, hmmm ...

Great weekend to become a mycophile - MSSF Annual Fungus Fair

This weekend is the annual MSSF Fungus Fair at the Lawrence Hall of Science -


They will have hundreds of species on display, lots of experts, all the major mycology societies, cooking demonstrations & more. Not to be missed!

And with these recent and ongoing rains, mushroom hunting season is finally in full swing. I will be sneaking out at lunch today to forage some of my favorite oyster, chanterelle and porcini spots here in the Peninsula.

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