Italy in October: what you need to know about food11/10/2016
October is considered the start of the fall season in Italy. While September temperatures can still be summery, October announces the true start of fall. Temperatures in October begin to go down all over the peninsula (more in Northern then in Southern) along with the probability of rainfall. So, October is one of those months that when you go out, you need both sunglasses and an umbrella.
October is the month of colored trees with red and brown leaves…and empty beaches. Italians think that October is too cold to go to the beach, even if there are still many warm sunny days. So, if you come from a cold climate, you might be thrilled to find warm days and entire beaches just for you!
Additionally, during the month of October, there are things to enjoy beyond the landscape and weather; there are also many food festivals such as the White Truffle Festival in Alba and Perugia’s famous EuroChocolate’s International Chocolate Exhibition. Besides food fairs, patron saints are celebrated in anything from small villages to large cities throughout Italy. So, be sure to check the Italian food and wine events calendar when you’re planning your trip.
However, if food fairs aren’t your thing, there are other ways to find the best food products Italy has to offer during the month of October. You can get a taste of these seasonal delicacies and recipes in most restaurants or Agriturismos (which is a “farm to table” or “farm holiday” type of experience).
October and food seasonal products
October is dedicated to spending time in the woods and mushrooms are considered a “fruit of the woods”. Porcini and Portobello mushrooms are just two of the many popular types of edible mushrooms prepared for different types of dishes. Although mushrooms can be breaded and fried, sautéed in olive oil with some parsley and garlic, baked with potatoes and aromatic herbs, used to prepare risottos and pasta sauces, cooked with meats and added to soups, most people prefer Porcini mushrooms to all others! Click here to find more about the king of Italian mushrooms.
Italy is the world’s largest producer of truffles because of its favorable climate and rich soil. Not only are high quality truffles very difficult to come by because they require a such a specific environment to grown in, they are also not easily reproduced, and therefore they’re treated like precious gems and referred to as the “food of gods.” Truffles have been used in Italian cooking for centuries and in present day, they are one of Italy’s national symbols of excellence. Truffles can be served raw, cut into extremely thin (almost see-through slivers) on both hot and cold dishes. Because their flavor is so intense, they’re ideally served with lightly flavored cheeses, simple pasta dishes and risottos. If you haven’t had the pleasure of tasting this divine gift that Italy’s soil has to offer, then October is a great time to indulge in such exquisite experience!
3. First Cold Press Olive Oil
Olive Oil is deeply rooted in Italy’s culture and has been producing olive oil from olives that come from centennial olive trees and using it to produce products for ages. October is the month when the first cold press happens, so if you can, take the opportunity to witness how olive oil is produced and enjoy the pure and bold flavor of when it is first cold pressed.
Polenta is a comfort food that is usually eaten when the weather gets cold. Polenta starts showing up on restaurant menus in northern Italy during the month of October. Polenta is a staple food that is prepared in several ways: boiled in salted water and served when it has a soft consistency sometimes with cheese melted into it alongside meat and vegetable dishes, or sliced when it’s firm served as is or then fried and paired with cheeses such as gorgonzola and honey. Click here to read more about Polenta.