Thirty minutes outside the walls of Bologna, perfectly situated on top of a hill, lies the charming little town of Pianoro. Giancarlo and I were first introduced to this town last Fall when we made our way there for the yearly C'era una volta festival. When our weekend plans changed (due to work) we thought it would be the perfect time to go back for the Tartufesta. I LOVE truffles, bordering on obsession with these delicate little morsels.
We made our way up the curvy road to Pianoro and found ourselves in front of the food tent in no time. The line seemed to go on for miles, and it was freezing cold. While I was trying to warm up, Giancarlo realized that the woman standing in front of us was speaking Italian with an American accent. Being American, we didn't want to interrupt the conversation and just wrote it off as a coincidence, until we got inside. As fate would have it, we were seated at the family style table with the American and her Italian friends. Immediately, Giancarlo started up a conversation and all of us (the 3 non Italians) began to reminisce about life in New York (she too had moved from NYC), the absence of American treats (peanut butter and doritos) and about the book she is writing, the antithesis of Under The Tuscan Sun. A book about how life in Italy really is. We also talked to her friend, who had just returned from visiting the United States. The highlight of his trip, Hooters.
After our amazing lunch and Ital-glish conversation, we made our way outside to sample the new wine and taste some roasted chestnuts. Living in Union Square in New York, I never once tried the chestnuts from the street vendors. The smell was so over-powering when I got off the subway that it just didn't smell appealing, and I didn't think I'd like them. I was right. A mix of a potato and a nut is the best way to describe them. And while I'm not a fan, Giancarlo loves them. I will admit it's a beautiful fall combination with the red wine, but I'll skip the chestnuts and stick to the wine.
The rest of the afternoon, we wandered around the food stalls that housed locally grown mushrooms, homemade wine and olive oils, truffles, you name it. We sat and drank our new season of red wine and I watched Giancarlo eat chestnuts. Unfortunately, the clouds rolled in fast along with the cold winter wind so we decided to head back to Bologna.
During the month of October, Pianoro holds sagras (food festivals) every weekend to celebrate the regional cuisine. It's a truly "locals only" experience. To get there from Bologna, take bus 96 from Piazza Cavour (leaves every hour on the hour) and you'll see exactly where to get off. If you get a chance to visit in October, I highly recommend going- if not for the food alone!