Who doesn’t love eating a big bowl of creamy taragna polenta whilst sitting uncomfortably close to loud italians yielding large kebabs??
Last Sunday evening, a group of friends and I made our way to Stabello [di Zogno] a small town situated just out of Bergamo which was hosting its annual ‘Taragna Polenta Festival’. The celebration was situated inside a large marque with long tables and wooden benches – the norm for a small town food celebration – and seemed to be the only part of Stabello that resembled something chaotic. On the outside everything was quaint and quiet, yet inside the marquee it was warm, mostly red-faced and buzzing with some excitement!
We ordered everything from the typical pasta – casoncelli, a variety of meat from the grill, a few plates of the polenta and a plate of cheese, which was as always, washed down with a few bottles of local red. The taragna polenta came to us in huge servings, this was the dish we had come to taste. A polenta made from a mix of cornflour and buckwheat flour, which once cooked has pieces of butter and cheese melted through, creating a creamy comfort food that is perfect for a slightly cool evening. It can be served alone or with meats (a Bergamasco favourite alongside salami) or in our case a side of salty patatine fritte. Dipping the hot chips into the bowl of polenta was a match made in heaven and absolute delight for our thighs! A waitress arrived for a final time with giant skewers of meat, absolutely delicious, the thin strips of salty meat full of flavour along side our big bowls of taragna polenta.
An amazing feast in the perfect environment. If you are ever in Italy and want to feel like a local, the best way is to grab a bottle of local wine, drink from a plastic cup and join in on any celebration of food!