Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Village Festival In Tuscany, Necci In Piazza.


Benabbio, near Lucca, is our Village and one of the reasons we chose to buy Le Mura Villa. Unlike many Tuscan villages Benabbio is vibrant and full of young families. The community is good at organising village events and we try not not miss them or lend a hand if we can.


Chestnuts have always played a very important part in the economy of Benabbino life and therefore it is only right that there should be a village festival to celebrate the harvest.
Sweet Chestnuts in Italy have been fighting a decease brought in from the Far East in the last couple   years and therefore very few locals have bothered to gather the meagre crop to make flour.  However this year the trees seem to be winning through and therefore the festival was the perfect way to celebrate.
The main piazza of the village was bursting and a local group singing traditional songs added to the "Allegria". The warm weather made it seem more like late summer than late Autumn.


No local Village festival in Tuscany is complete without food. One of the most indigenous local dishes in our corner of Northern Tuscany is Necci, which is a type of pancake made out of chestnut flour. Every Mamma in Benabbio is an expert in making them.  Originally the batter was cooked between clay plates but now they are cooked using  "testi", which are two iron discs with long handles. "Necci" can be eaten in many different ways either savoury or sweet, however my favourite is with ricotta and sausage or "pancetta".



Another very seasonal offering was "Frittelle di Zucca", deep fried balls made with pumpkin. Though deep fried, when prepared by the local ladies they are as light as a feather. A favourite among children and adults alike is "Pasta Fritta" simply deep fried pizza dough. You can't believe how delicious this is.


The whole village laughing and talking in the square gave me a warm glow. Like every village festival the day made me realise how lucky I am to be part of this close knit community and have a beautiful sunset and view of the mountains to enjoy from my windows when I returned to Le Mura Villa at dusk.