words by Carol King
Famed for its torrone sweet nougat, Cremona in Lombardy is the ideal place for those with a sweet tooth at any time of year, but more so in November when the town mounts the Festa Del Torrone.
Cremona dedicates three days annually to the delicious creation with stalls selling all kinds of torrone. Last year 120,000 people visited the festival and 30 tonnes of torrone were sold. Each year a giant torrone is constructed in the main piazza. In 1998, the town produced the longest torrone in the world; this year locals will make a torrone sculpture in the shape of a bowl of ice cream.
Tasting sessions include the chance to try torrone with white grappa and brandy. The World Sugar Meeting 2012 is displaying a collection of hundreds of sugar sachets. For photography lovers, the ‘Cremona la dolce’ (Sweet Cremona) exhibition focuses on portraits of local sweet and pastry makers. Italian journalist Beppe Severgnini and writer will return to his native province to receive the Torrone d’Oro (Golden Torrone) award at ceremony on the last day of the festival. Initiated in 2008, the award is given to notable natives of the province – past winners include actor Gianmarco Tognazzi, and ballerina and actress Carla Fracci.
There will also be a parade of 140 people in medieval costume – some on horseback – reenacting the wedding of Bianca Maria Visconti to Francesco Sforza in 1441. The couple became the Duke and Duchess of Milan. Their wedding took place in the city and lasted several days. The wedding cake was a large reproduction of the Torrazzo bell tower at Cremona Cathedral, which gave rise to Cremona torrone. The festival ends with a show comprising music, singing, traditional dancing and ballet.
The Festa Del Torrone runs from 16 to 18 November.