Terza Edizione Fritto Misto all’Italiana
Today is another holiday here in Italy, Festa del Lavoro, which is similar to Labor Day in the United States. Since Italy does not move holidays around to match a Monday, Italians have adopted what is called “il ponte”, the bridge, which is a way of making holidays longer. For example since today is Tuesday many people also took yesterday as a holiday thus “bridging” today with the week-end. Not a bad way to make for a really long week-end.
Ascoli Piceno seems to always have some event going on and for this long week-end there is the Terza Edizione Fritto Misto all’Italiana, or the 3rd Annual Fried Food of Italy. Workers started setting up for this event a week ago with a mini tent city in Piazza Arringo and in the newly reopened Chiostro San Francesco. There are booths where you can have un assaggio, or taste of fried food samples from eight different regions of Italy and five different countries. And of course there is wine. There are daily food demonstrations and special dinners as well a concert each night in Piazza Arringo.
We have sampled most of these offerings and for us fritto misto all’ascolana is still the best. Olive ascolane, olives stuffed with a meat mixture then breaded and fried, just stand alone along with the fried veggies, meats and sweet cremini that contribute to the wonderful cuisine of this region.
No there wasn’t any southern fried chicken, fried okra or even fry bread. It is interesting that some Italians seem to have a view that America has the market cornered on fried foods; perhaps they need to take a look at their own plate sometime.