words by Carol King
The Perugian town of Foligno in Umbria is hosting ‘I Primi d’Italia’, a popular food festival that focuses on ‘primi piatti’ (soup or pasta or rice based dishes that come after starters and before main courses on a typical three courses Italian menu), from the 27th to the 30th of September.
Now in its 14th year, the festival is known for its innovation and has had the support of top chefs such as Gianfranco Vissani, Gualtiero Marchesi, Beppe Sardi and Carlo Cracco. Food producers from all over Italy attend the festival, so visitors can expect to sample cuisine from Venice, Sicily, Tuscany, Piedmont, Abruzzo, Puglia, Calabria, Liguria, Marche and Sardinia.
Along with food tastings, cooking demonstrations by leading chefs, concerts and cabaret shows there will be some special events this year. A dish called ‘Zuppa di Mameli’ (Mameli’s Soup) has been created for the festival. Named after the man who wrote the Italian national anthem – Risorgimento patriot, poet and writer Goffredo Mameli – the dish attempts to bring together the tastes, smells and colours of Italy’s rich tradition of regional cooking.
Mameli’s Soup combines Lardo d’Arnad cured pork from Valle d’Aosta, rice from Piedmont, Provolone Valpadana from Lombardy, speck ham from Trentino-Alto Adige, Storica Nera grappa from Friuli-Venezia Giulia, basil from Liguria, Patata Monte Faldo potatoes from Veneto, saffron from Sardinia, Cervia sea salt from Emilia Romagna, Marrone di Michelangelo Caprese chestnuts from Tuscany, extra-virgin olive oil from Umbria, farro perlato hulled wheat from Marche, courgettes from Lazio, Aglio di Sulmona garlic from Abruzzo, beans from Molise, Peperone di Senise peppers from Basilicata, cherry tomatoes from Campania, sweet red Tropea onions from Calabria, Bronte green pistachios from Sicily, and Bella di Cerignola olives from Puglia.