Gnocchi, mi amore.

Bonjourno Amica Mia!

I’m taking you to Ferragosto today.

Ferragosto? A fabulous Italian tradition celebrating harvest, summer, August and eating. Oh yes. Clearly we are in the wrong hemisphere for all that summer and harvest business so over here it’s all about donning your jackets, whacking the kidlets into the stroller and heading to a local street fair. Hey, if there’s food and flags and music involved, I’m there. I don’t know if I have mentioned this before but I am cuh-raaaze-y about a festival. My heart and flags a-fluttering…

First we wandered past the cooking demonstration (porchetta and something. Oh the smells!), resisted the gingerbread stall (not easy) and quickly whisked Matt around the corner to where espresso was being sold. A curly-haired fella was playing the accordion and men were surveying a display of Italian cars. Ferrari, Lamborghini…lots of standing around, lip-biting and getting lost in fast-car-driving fantasy. Then there was this guy. Vehicle of choice? Gondola…

I bought a selection of biscotti (orange and almond, hazelnut, chocolate chip) which we ate later with cups of tea. Soft, chewy interiors, dusted with icing sugar, satisfyingly nutty in flavour. Hmmmmmmmm…  And then. This:

It’s probably worth explaining that I am a bit doolally la-la about gnocchi. I know gnocchi can be a bad experience; slippery and stodgy, sticking in that not great way to the roof of your mouth. As far as “pasta” goes it may be the equivalent of the girl with the curl on her forehead. When it’s good it’s very very good and when it is bad it is horrid. I took it as a pretty good sign that this gnocchi was being made fresh, in front of my (adoring) eyes by three Nonnas who seemed convincingly deft and unfazed. I watched as the dough was rolled…

Then cut (into tooth fairy sized pillows)…

Then, finally, quickly boiled and topped with either pesto or tomato sauce. I got so distracted I ordered a drink and promptly forgot it because I was too busy being in luuuuurve with my plate of gnocchi. I guess that was my $3 drool fee. I do that sometimes, get all food-flustered. Here I am, in seventh heaven…

So simple, so fresh, so…molto delizioso!! I first tasted gnocchi in a previous life, working as a waitress in my University town of Hamilton, NZ. The restaurant I worked in served it up with a peanut based sauce that was, well, weirdly yummy. I am yet to attempt making (potato) gnocchi from scratch. I know, I know, embarassing (Ria, I can hear you tutting from here!! Don’t hate me! ;-)) But, I did try out this stellar recipe – ricotta gnocchi – and it was most sensational thank you Gourmet Girlfriend.

And so it was with bellies full of gnocchi, scarves slung around necks, smiles from ear to ear, B1 jazzed up on donuts, B2 doing her thang in the stroller (snoozing, bless her cotton sox) and Matt and I giving each other happy little glances (because we both love food as much as each other) we strolled the rest of Five Dock’s Ferragosto and celebrated a European festival in a most Southern hemisphere way.

[PS. Apologies for any atrociously incorrect Italian. Does enthusiasm make up for errors? Spero di si!]

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5 Responses

  1. Is it strange that when I first looked at the photos, I assumed they were IN Italy and I was very jealous? Then I realised you were in Sydney and still I was jealous. What other amazing food festivals are you going to tease me with?

  2. […] the food rapture! How do I say that in Italian?! I was inspired by how you transported me to Italy (in Sydney) and stuffed me full of gnocchi and I had to come up with my own food-filled, nostalgic ramble. So […]

  3. […] stop was the Concord Carnival, a cousin of Ferrogosto and just a short drive away. Majors Bay Road, the main street was closed off to traffic and […]

  4. […] I am that you 1. are going into summer and 2. get to take these fun outings to fabulous markets and festivals and try amazing food at all of them and 3. eat perfect avocados. I guess I could manage that last […]

  5. […] I’ve been doing a little research. My current work-in-progress features an Italian-American protagonist and I’ve needed to get inside her head. That has meant trying to understand her culture, her history, her family and….her food. You can already start to imagine what a burden this has been. I’ve been eating Italian food like cuh-raze-y, frequenting my local Italian deli (surely the best in all of Sydney) and hanging about Italian festivals. […]

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