The tortellini di Valeggio sul Mincio are celebrated in style every 18 June with the traditional 'Knot of Love' festival. The exact location is the Ponte Visconteo bridge (below) which impressively overlooks the idyllic hamlet of Borghetto Valeggio sul Mincio (main image).
Two huge tables of 600 meters are set up the length of the bridge at which 4000 diners are served dishes of local typical products, not least the famous tortellini. It all takes place in the evening and celebrates a legend of true love.
For the second year running Delicious Italy had been invited to be part of Taste of Roma as a Media Partner.
This basically means we do a spot of promotion for the event in return for our logo in the program guide, an invite to the press conferences and a couple of complimentary tickets. Enough said.
Once again it was located in the Giardini Pensili of the Auditorium Parco della Musica in north east Rome.
And also like last year the late summer sun was beating down onto the Renzo Piano designed concert venues and lawns, making for a barmy and relaxed atmosphere.
WineTown in Florence is an event we had always wanted to experience first-hand and we got the chance in May 2013. It's always good to visit the Tuscan capital, but WineTown offered a refreshing view of the city, mainly as the event could be tagged 'diffuso'. In other words, it's not held in one specific location, but in many parts of the city. More precisely, in a number of historical palazzi.
So where do you start? Rather than looking at the map we looked at the wine on offer and chose Loggia del Grano just behind Palazzo Vecchio. This one time grain market dates from 1619 and for Winetown was hosting three Italian artisan beer makers. OK, beer before liquor never been sicker .. but they were too good to resist and we tried all three.
The Romanesco Artichoke Festival of Ladispoli near Rome was first celebrated in 1951 and is now held during the second week of April. The festival was initiated to help popularize this bulbous vegetable (long recognized for its aphrodisiac properties) that is proudly cultivated in this Roman town on the Tyrrhenian Sea (it's an hour north of Rome, nestled between the Tolfa Mountains and Lake Bracciano.
We did a bit of research and discovered that there less strawberry festivals in Italy than you might imagine. From our top ten below we couldn't really include any others. If you know of one we have missed, then drop a comment on our Facebook page. So, in no special order, here are the Italian strawberry festivals worth a visit.
VINITALY 2015, 22-25 March
Officially subtitled 'International wine and Spirits Exhibition' VINITALY it takes place every March or April in the Verona Fiere exhibition halls.
It can get quite confusing with all the tourism, food and wine fairs scheduled during the year, but the recent boom of the past few years has now seen a bit of fall out, and clear winners are emerging. One thing for sure is that the sister show of the all powerful Salone del Gusto in Turin - Wine Show - has now downed her last Barolo Gran Gru to leave Vinitaly as the country's premier wine appointment.
The Bra cheese festival is an essential appointment for all of us passionate about eating well, not only in Italy. Described as the biggest collection of quality cheeses in Italy each year, 'Cheese' is organised by Slow Food, the City of Bra and the Ente Turismo Alba, Bra, Langhe and Roero.
The Camogli fish festival is actually called the Fish Festival of Saint Fortunato, patron saint of fishermen and is held in the first half of May. This is the most famous event that happens in this drop-dead gorgeous Mediterranean port of Camogli. Free fried fish are dished out in front of the quaint miniature harbor (which is not far from, and is very similar to what Portofino was like before it was discovered by tourists).
In deepest Molise you can find a small but strangely named town called Capracotta. If you are looking for just one reason to visit this forgotten corner of Italy, then go just to say you went to a place called 'Cooked Goat'.
It is a town with a surprisingly active tourist promotion relative to the rest of the region and the mascot, suitably enough, is a goat on skis. We also have a cd of music from the Appennines which features an ode to Capracotta. Being Italy's least visited region you will also find yourself alone and only occasionally meet a fellow visitor from abroad. Caprcotta lies 39 km from the regional capital of Molise, Isernia and is 220 km from Rome. It sits at 1421 meters in altitude and is the highest comune in the Southern Appennines.
There are two main wine growing zones in the province of Brescia. The first occupies the slopes towards Lake Garda while the second is the the famous Franciacorta to the west of the provincial capital on the sweet slopes of the 'colline moreniche' facing Brescia and Lago d’Iseo.
Cremona is famous for its mustard of course, but perhaps it should be more famous for its sweet Christmas nougat called torrone. The annual Festa del Torrone, or Torrone Festival, takes place in the third week of November and is the ideal pre-festive appointment before Christmas.
The historical center of Cremona is full of stands celebrating the sticky sweet. Not just torrone from Cremona, but other versions from all over Italy. Most torrone is made from honey, vanilla, eggs, almonds and toasted hazelnuts and Cremona is Italy's capital. The event is full of processions, spectacles and many free happenings, not least for the kids.
Drive along the Marche coast from Abruzzo and you eventually hit the small seaside resort of Porto Recanati just as Monte Conero looms into view in the distance. Perhaps the first thing you'll notice is a huge skyscraper of a hotel dominating the sea front of what was once a tiny Adriatic fishing village. Just as you ask yourself how this got planning permission look carefully and you'll notice at the top of the building in huge letters 'King of Brodetto'. It is here that perhaps Le Marche's best fish soup is made and in mid June every year Porto Recanati holds its 'Settimana del Brodetto' or 'Brodetto Week. Coming up for 15 editions the initiative involves around 25 of the town's restaurants and trattorie. Each serves up its own version along with a typical local meal.
Early autumn sees the harvesting of one of the most important crops in Trentino Alto Adige - apples. It's also a good excuse to celebrate one of Italy's least considered culinary delicacies, the apple strudel.
The 'Week of the Apple Strudel' is held in the Altopiano dello Sciliar usually in the first half of September and is an occasion for discovering the many ways of preparing this typical 'altoatesino' sweet dish from South Tyrolean cuisine.
Visitors to Italy might like to bear in mind that the word 'primi piatti' is plural and there is no harm helping yourself to two servings of pasta or soup for your lunch. Anyone who has been to an Italian wedding will also appreciate that the 'primi' never end. To 'pasta' and 'zuppe' we can add 'riso' and 'polenta' and it is these four which make up the main protagonists at the annual September 'I Primi d'Italia' or 'Italy First Course Festival' in Foligno, province of Perugia, the last weekend of the month to be precise.