A Sagra is a celebration of food. It’s not an ancient thing, it’s a relatively modern word and concept. These feasts happen most every weekend. You learn to read the sagra posters tacked everywhere and decide upon which to attend.
When you move to Italy, you come to understand that some sagre are more important than others in your area. We’ve learned that some of our neighbor’s more lofty accolades go to the Sagra delle focaccette di Vaccareccia.
Vaccareccia is a tiny village in the Lunigiana whose whole reason for being seems to be this once-a-year festival. 2013 was no exception, despite the drizzle.
Everyone is here. The neighbor without eggs because her chickens were eaten by a wolf was there. The almost toothless woman who wins prizes at Karaoke competitions was there, as was her almost blind husband, who insists on driving the car, albeit so slowly hardly anyone notices unless they have the misfortune of being behind him.
How They Make Focaccette
It’s simple. You build a fire to warm up the teste, little terracotta plates. They get quite warm. Then you get one of those those nifty stacking devices you see in the picture below and put down the first testa. You put a ball of dough in the testa, then cover it with another testa, more dough, etc., etc.
When it’s up to the top, you squish it all down, let it cook for a short period of time, then disassemble the whole deal, throwing the resulting focaccette in a basket to be sliced open and stuffed with pancetta, stracchino, Gorgonzola, or sausage. 2 euros are charged for each at the festival.
You’d think with all the food worship that seems to go on around here, the “kitchen” for making these things would be a palace of stainless steel that would be the envy of Mario Batalli or something, but no, what we have is a Focaccette Shack. There are no cats on the hot tin roof, but then again, it was raining.
I’m sorry you missed it. Man, was it good.