As a foodie I always travel my own region researching the best food festivals, those local events where food is the main theme. Abruzzo has a rich and varied culinary heritage that locals try to promote all year round, below you will find a list of my favorite festivals that I tried myself and sincerely recommend for their cultural value!
- FESTA DELLA SFOGLIATELLA | SFOGLIATELLA FESTIVAL (LAMA DEI PELIGNI)
Lama dei Peligni‘s sfogliatelle originated in the late 1800s when, Donna Francesca, mother of Baron Giampietro Tabassi, gave his daughter-in-law Anna Di Guglielmo from Civitella Messer Raimondo, a small village nearby, the recipe for the Neapolitan sfogliatella. In 1902, Anna permanently settled in Lama dei Peligni (province of Chieti) with her husband and brought with her the famous recipe. The original recipe was substantially modified by Baroness Annina who thought of adapting it to her tastes and the availability of easy-to-find ingredients. The dough, with the use of pork lard which was widely available, became softer, while the filling was substantially replaced with local products such as Montepulciano grape jam, black cherry jam, cooked must and walnuts, also very easy to source locally. From the tastes of a noblewoman, therefore, and from the simplicity of the raw materials used, the famous Sfogliatella Lamese was born. Why I love this festival: because sfogliatella was a woman’s successful story! When: april (annual event).
- FESTIVAL DEL CARCIOFO | ARTICHOKE FESTIVAL (CUPELLO)
The ‘Mazzaferrata’ artichoke (a Slow Food certified product) is produced in the territory around Cupello (in the province of Chieti) since 1950s, it lends itself to a varied use in the kitchen and is much appreciated because of its considerable nutritional benefits. Artichokes can be cooked in many ways: in the Roman style, in the Giudia (or Roman-Jewish) style, fried or stuffed with cheese. When they are tender it is advisable to eat them raw, cut into slices, seasoned with oil, lemon and a few mint leaves. Why I love this festival: because it enhances the artichoke declining it in various combinations! When: april/may (annual event).
- SAGRA DELLA PORCHETTA ITALICA | PORCHETTA FESTIVAL (CAMPLI)
The first and oldest Porchetta festival in Abruzzo was inaugurated in August 1964 in the village of Campli (in the province of Teramo). Its very first edition had a success beyond any rosy forecast, locals report that 24 producers were particpating and more than 80 porchette were sold in a few hours. At ten o’clock in the evening there was not even the shadow of a stuffed pork sandwich, therefore the local Mayor ordered to reopen all food stores to feed the crowds. That evening they finished hams, salami and mortadella, even the cans of salted sardines were completely “cleaned up”. Since that year the Sagra has become the most appreciated summer event of Abruzzo, selling every year more than 100.000 smoking sandwiches (approximately 200 and more roasted pigs). Why I love this festival: because it is a truly authentic Italian festa! When: august (annual event).
- PECORINO & PECORINI | PECORINO CHEESE & WINE FESTIVAL (FARINDOLA)
In Abruzzo ‘pecorino’ is a term used to describe either a local type of cheese and a wine, this very special festival held yearly in Farindola (province of Pescara) is thus dedicated to both products. Nestled among unique landscape beauties, here it is possible to rediscover ancient flavors by tasting the traditional pecorino cheese (a Slow Food certified product) and the local Pecorino wine, as well as various types of locally produced olive oil and homemade bread. Why I love this festival: because it is digitally friendly! When: august (annual event).
- FESTIVAL DELLE BIRRE | BEERS FESTIVAL (CASTELLALTO)
The Abruzzese village of Castellalto (province of Teramo) has created in 2005 a unique festival dedicated to craft beers. Here beer lovers can taste a wide selection of both foreign and local products, participate in the homebrewing competition or visit by shuttle bus a local brewery. Why I love this festival: because it is full of energy! When: august (annual event).
- FESTIVAL DEL PEPERONE DOLCE | SWEET PEPPER FESTIVAL (ALTINO)
Probably my favorite food festival, this is happening every year in the amazing village of Altino (province of Chieti). Each of the eight local districts takes part to the Culinary Palio (food competition) by creating a special menu where the absolute protagonist is the red sweet pepper, a turgid vegetable growing with the tip upwards. This is also a Slow Food certified product. Why I love this festival: because of its unbeatable food creativity! When: august (annual event).
- FESTIVAL PEPERONCINO PICCANTE | SPICY CHILLI FESTIVAL (FILETTO)
This is the spicy version of the previous festival and is held every year in the small town of Filetto (province of Chieti), Abruzzo’s capital of spicy chilli. This is a fundamental ingredient of the Abruzzese cuisine and its extremely healthy virtues are globally acknowledged. Local rumors say that this village will soon become the capital of the aphrodisiac cuisine too… Why I love this festival: because spicy chilli makes everyone happier! When: august (annual event).
- REGINA DI MIELE | QUEEN OF HONEY (TORNARECCIO)
In the village of Tornareccio (province of Chieti) the sweet scent of honey perfectly combines with cultural events, artc workshops, music and lots of fun. Honey is indeed the local queen and shows off every year in the typical products exhibition, located in the suggestive historical center of the town. Why I love this festival: because it’s worth a visit to Tornareccio and its open air mosaics!
See you there!