Items and traditions
Lake Como is well known for its natural beauty, well maintained lush gardens, and luxurious Villas. The tourist season typically starts in March and goes until the end of October. Even though summer is a wonderful season to visit Italy, spring and fall are a delight as well. During fall, there are still beautiful warm days with endless acitivities to do, and chilly evenings where you can enjoy seasonal produce, prepare yummy dishes like hearty stews, puree soups, and play with spices. Read below to learn about traditional Fall items and traditions in Italy.
Mildly sweet and starchy, this seasonal delicacy packs a ton of nutrition into a small package as they are high in essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and iron. Across the country, roasted chestnuts are a common street food in the harvest season of late fall and early winter. In northern Italy, you will still find dishes made with chestnut flour such as gnocchi and fettuccine. When dried, chestnuts can last up to 6 months therefore you can stock up for a few months!
Sold both fresh and dried, Porcini mushrooms are prized in Italian and French cuisine. They grow naturally in pine forests at the base of trees and they simbolize the Fall season in central Europe. Fresh porcini mushroomss can be sautéed, braised, grilled or stewed. They tend to be sautéed to maintain their flavor and texture. A common recipe is “Risotto ai porcini” aka porcini mushrooms risotto. Should you go on a hike, pay close attention to the base of trees, you might get lucky and find some for your next meal.
Even though pumpkins are typically associated with the tradition of Halloween, it is a seasonal squash that is well appreciated in Italy as well. In the last 10/15 years, the number of pumpkins used as “spooky decorations” has increased and so has the tradition of dressing up on October 31st. It is common to run into a “Zucca Day” festival where you can purchase pumpkins, taste foods with this ingredient, or simply take in the Fall vibe.
Grapes and wine
In Lombardy, the months of September and October are dedicated to the grape harvest. Since ancient times it has been one of the most exciting events of country life. The harvest is one of the most appealing moments to visit a winery and its vineyards as you get to witness the production of wine and if you are lucky you may have the chance to participate in the early stages of grape processing, letting yourself be inebriated by the scent of grapes and must.
In Italy, a sagra is a local festival, very often celebrates one type of food, drink, or product from a town or region. There are 20-30 thousand sagre in Italy every year, and they are usually held in late summer and early autumn. Some of the sagre known in the Lombardy region in Fall are:
- La festa del riso (Rice party) in Carpiano (MI)
- La castagnata (Chestnut festival) in Morimondo (MI)
- Vini della Valtellina (Wine festival) in Morbegno (SO)
- Polenta Taragna (cheesy polenta festival) in Palaspirà (BG)
- Formaggi in piazza (cheese festival) in Sondrio (SO)
Let’s cook : Funghi trifolati (sautéed mushrooms)
Sautéed mushrooms are the perfect side dish for hearty meat dishes, they are excellent with polenta or on bread, and as a topping for delicious bruschetta varieties. This recipe is the best way to bring out the flavor of the mushrooms and perfectly illustrates why this method is used to prepare so many other Italian dishes.
- 1.8 lbs (800 g) mushrooms
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Parsley to taste
- 2 tbsp (30 g) butter
- 3 tbsp (40 g) EVOO
The first step is to clean accurately the mushrooms. Feel free to use a variety of mushrooms if you prefer, such as oyster, chanterelles, and champinion for this recipe. Remove any dirt with a brush or dry cloth. Slice the mushrooms thinly. Add the butter, EVOO, an garlic cloves to a non’stick frying pan. Should you prepare this dish with different kinds of mushrooms, remember to add the firmest mushrooms to the pan first, then add the remaining ones after a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the finely chopped parsley. Remove from the heat and serve hot or cold, depending on the dish you are going to prepare.