Klean Voices: Harvest Time in Italy

Early Fall is my favorite time of year in Italy for many reasons; the nights get chillier and the air gets crisper and starts smelling like soil.

I love the full warm colors of the landscape, especially during late afternoon, just before sunset. The leaves begin to change. Shades of gold, red, orange and yellow blanket the ground, crunching under my feet when I go for a hike in the hills around my house. I even look forward to breaking out my sweaters and jeans again. I love what fall symbolizes: change, the end of summer and the beginning of the harvest. I see people working in the fields, picking grapes in the numerous vineyards. We had a fantastic summer, so the quality must be good this year.

It is also the season of the best sagre in the country. A sagra is a local festival that mostly celebrates typical autumn produce. These festivals were once a local phenomenon that provided a social outlet during the difficult harvest time that preceded the long winters in Italy. Today, they are a way to preserve the traditions of the past while simultaneously bringing gastronomic tourists to small towns.

The array of gastronomic specialties covered across Italy is amazing. Among the most common sagre are those celebrating olive oil, wine, pasta and pastry of various kinds, chestnuts, and cheese. A sagra is often dedicated to some specific food, and the name of the sagra includes that food. E.g. Sagra dell’uva e del Recioto (Recioto grape); Gambellara (VI), Sagra del fungo Porcino (Porcini mushroom); Oriolo Romano (VT). It’s the best place to taste traditional local products and dishes.

Today, we cleaned the peppers we picked from our vegetable garden to make pepperoncini picante ripieni di formagio; stuffed small hot peppers with goat cheese. Soon we will celebrate our own little sagra at home with family and friends; just one more reason I love this time of year. 

Klean Voice contributor Henry Hoogenveen is a passionate advocate for the outdoors, and represents Klean Kanteen in Europe. As such, he shares events, information, trends and happenings from across the ocean right here on the Klean Blog.