The Gargano, the “spur” of Italy’s boot, is a rather amazing place. They raise a great deal of Italy’s citrus fruits here—at one time they even supplied America. How did this little bump on Italy’s spine get so big in citrus production? The secret is the weather; the Gargano has not one but two growing seasons for oranges and lemons.
Citrus, “Agrumi” in Italian, has attracted quite a few local and long-distance artisans who add value to the fine fruit of the region, designated as l’Arancia del Gargano IGP and il Limone Femminello del Gargano IGP. Pastry artisans, chefs and chocolatiers come from all over Italy when the local citrus ripens to capture the best flavors for their concoctions.
This year there were cooking classes for those under 16 years of age. Who helped? Chef Davide Scabin who runs Combal.zero, one of the 100 best restaurants of the world. He served me and other journalists a 16 course meal before the Torino winter Olympics and believe me, it was special. Also on hand from Rivoli was Gianni di Biase, chocolatier extraordinaire. (Gianni’s orange peels dipped in chocolate were fantastic!)
So when that scent is in the air in late April, you can expect a party. And yep, there is one in the town of Rodi Garganico called the Sagra degli Agrumi.
There are lots of things you can taste, of course, made from the juice, flesh, or peel of the citrus.
If it’s a party, there should be music and dance, which in 2017 was provided by the internationally acclaimed gruppo folkloristico La Pacchianella. Here’s a bit of them playing in front of our favorite hotel, the Villa Americana.
When the party started in earnest that afternoon, they left a bit of the piazza without stands so that the group could kick up their heels as well:
If you plan to go to Rodi Garganico
Book a room at the affordable 4-star Villa Americana Hotel.
Eat fish at a coastal fishing contraption called a Trabucco
Hear more songs from the gruppo folkloristico La Pacchianella on their website.