A few weeks ago, my friend Molly mentioned how much she wanted to go to a Truffle Festival in October. I found on online in Assisi but we figured that the trip would be too far for just one day, as Assisi is some four hours north of Napoli, and chalked the idea up to something to do next year. On Friday, Molly found another truffle festival in Bagnoli Irpino, about an hour away. We all hopped into their Alfa Romeo and off we went, making sure to note that this fesitval would, in no way, be as awesome as the one in Assisi. I find that keeping expectations unusually low helps the end product seem significantly more awesome.
We finally arrived in Bagnoli Irpino after constantly reminding Molly that this festival was likely not even in the same town. Alas, she was correct. A long line of cars slowly formed into a line and wound its way through the town, around dozens of blocked off streets and up, up, up to a hill where Deacon parked the Alfa in a somewhat muddy patch of grass. I thought it would be really smart to take pictures of the surroundings in case we had a hard time (read: too drunk to remember where the car was) later in the evening.
Down the huge hill, into the town we went. It was so cute and full of 124 numbered stands selling anything from truffle salad with olives to truffle beer (seriously, it happened) to lemons and raw pork. Yeah, we didn't get anything from that last one and Tom feared that the lemon/pork truck would show up in his dreams at some point. Truffles were the star of the event but apparently it was also a Sacred Chestnut Festival as well, as chestnut desserts were in a number of stands. Tom declared that Chestnuts Roasting on an Open fire tasted decidedly less like Christmas and more like sand, sorry Nat King Cole fans for ruining the illusion of the holiday spirit!
To eat, we had provolone and truffle toast, a huge plate of meat and the poorly chosen truffle salad. The latter taught us one thing, too many truffles can definitely turn into a bad thing. We also enjoyed, WAY too much, the 50 centi glass of wine. Each vendor had their own house blend and so no two tasted the same. Some were excessively sweet, some excessively strong, some, well we stopped really tasting the wine after the first three or four.
Towards the end of the evening, we met a couple wine tasting with their three kids. It turns out that they used to live in San Diego and now work at Capodichino, where all of us work! Enzo, the husband, even works in my building! On the same floor! Mamma mia! This delighted the wine maker, Carlo, who invited us to come back to his winery near Avellino, next weekend. Carlo showed me a secret bathroom and while there, we met a group of Italian students who are getting their master's degrees here in Napoli! We made a drunken date to meet up with them and hopefully fulfill my goal of finding a friend who speaks Italian and wants someone to hang out with to teach her English. "Your English is amazing!" Well, I hope it is, it's pretty much my only language. Allora! Mario and Sonja, his fiance, who I'm fairly certain we told Mario he was lucky to have about 20 times ("Seriously, marrying her is a big upgrade for you, dude. Do it!" Tom, he's ever so supportive!), introduced us to Laura and Roberto who also agreed to meet us for dinner next Saturday. I gave the whole group my email and told them to look me up on Facebook, so we'll keep expectations managed for our Italian native friends.
Molly, Amanda and I fell asleep on the long, scary drive back to Napoli. Thank goodness for Tom, Deacon and the TomTom which got us back home safely. Also, Deacon was so amazing for being our D.D. It was like herding cats at the end of the night, so double thanks for patience!!!