24 March 2014

you might reconsider that horse...for dinner

Sunday night we went to a local festival, La Festa di San Giuseppe, for dinner; it's the first festa of its type in these parts and has become our "Kicking Off the Season" one to attend. This one is in a very small town, as are the others, but it is huge in terms of number or visitors. On a Sunday night, this place was hopping.

Very Cheap Wine
So Cheap It Needs to Be Cut with Water

We go for the cheap wine taste of the local culture, but the kids go for the benefit raffles and rides. While each sagra or festa has a different mode of organizing things, one common element is that the meals are taken in a great tent filled with long tables that are shared among the diners. This can lead to interactions with strangers.

Pick some lucky tickets kiddo!

This happened last night.

Menu Choices
Can you distinguish the American "1's" from the Italian "1's"?

This festa offers bistecca di puledro as a choice, which is horse steak, steak of a foal...a horse under a year old. Baby horse. I know, I know, I know.  But...just step out of your cultural norms for a minute and accept that people live differently. Most local Italians I know would never consider eating a "gambero killer," but I could never get enough crawfish...it's one of the things I miss about the States: crawfish, those little crustaceans that live in the mud!  So, if someone wants to eat horse...so be it. Who am I to judge? Crawfish, horse, mule? What's the difference, anyway?

But I'm not ordering it. Ever. Probably.

Instead, we ordered quail, which is the specialty of this festa, quail stuffed with herbs and wrapped in bacon and roasted on a spit over a wood-burning fire.  As a group of strangers joined our table, Richard pointed out that a couple of the plates were indeed bistecca di puledro. You see...it looks like beef. You really can't tell the difference.

Giddy up! Gnam, gnam.

But there is a difference. Oh, yes there is...

As the kind, elderly, well-dressed gentleman from the country allowed me to snap a photo of his modest dinner, which is accompanied by polenta that is FRIED in the drippings from the roasted birds, he gave my dear husband a bit of advice:

Foal for dinner makes for thoroughbreds at night.
In the bedroom.
Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
You might want to reconsider it, sir.

I pretended I didn't understand him.

I love my life.

Local? Lucky you! This festa in Villaganzerla will be open this upcoming weekend as well.. There is still time to get your magic horse steak...or at least order it for your unsuspecting husband. Let me know how that goes if you do.

Baby Bumpers!


  1. While I would love to hop on a plane and head to your area of Italy, I won't be coming for the horse meat. I had a chance last year in Sicily to feed Addy baby food made from horse and gave it a pass. No thanks! So funny what ones believes will make them great in the sack.

  2. Everyone around here is horrified when they hear I had horse filet while I was in Italy. Honestly though, it was delicious and tasted like a tender steak.

  3. Ciao Dana.
    E' vero, qui in Italia c'è la credenza popolare (popular belief) che la carne di cavallo sia afrodisiaca. Ma c'è una medesima credenza anche riguardo i crostacei, inclusi i gamberi! :)

  4. How fun- I love the local sagras and the food there. And I can distinguish the American vs. Italian "1's"!