Festa del Bosco, 2007

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Festa del Bosco, Montone 2007

It’s been a wild ride and I’m happy to be back in the blog world and the real world! Last week was our festa, and this is the first moment that I’ve had to sit and digest. It feels like I’m emerging from a tornado shelter and I’m sort of stunned that the world, and Montone looks like it did before the Festa.
According to the Chinese calendar, I was born in the year of the horse.  I once read that the horse knows that when there is a celebration, there is extra work to be done. Great, I’m a horse. Jeff, on the other hand is a lucky dragon. Some guys have all the luck, me I had to work like a dray horse to get ready for the celebration.
We prepped all sorts of sauces for the restaurants: ragu of goose, of wild hare, of cinghiale (wild boar), racks of venison and lots and lots of pasta. Unfortunately, we did not have a whole of truffles. Although we had some at the restaurant, this is not a good truffle year, white, black, Umbrian, Piemontese, we are all suffering this year.

Everyone kept an eye on the weather, and on Thursday, opening day, it was a little nerve wracking. All this hard work and preparation could come to nothing if it rained, but the gods were with us, and the weather was crisp and cool all weekend.

Our block is the main street in town, and I wish I could describe the pandemonium that was on our doorstep. I tried to photograph it, but even that doesn’t capture the intensity of the crowds. We have a long hallway on the ground floor that leads to the street, and the walls are thick, old stone walls, so no sound comes through, then when you open the door, this wave of noise and chestnut smoke just washes over you and sucks you onto the street, like a riptide. For four days, every time you open your door.
By Sunday night, when we crawled home from the restaurant, in the dead of a quiet night, with the garbage piled high everywhere you looked, it certainly looked like everyone had had a fine time at our Festa del Bosco.
Monday morning is sort of grim and hang over like, with everyone dismantling their stalls and heading home or to the next festa. It is quite amazing how quickly everything gets cleaned up and put back to normal.
And so, the quiet season begins in Montone. All the transient Montonese, the ones with house in Rome and Milan, have said good by until the Christmas holidays, or until the spring.  Most Montonese complain about the quiet season, but to me, its peaceful and beautiful, and puts balance back into your life.  And it gives you more time to fool around in the kitchen!

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