Fragno's Truffle: Black Gold at the Fair

The precious tuber is celebrated in Calestano (Oct 15th-Nov 12th)

by Andrea Adorni -

It seems strange to think that a product of the earth, like the truffle- a hypogeum mushroom belonging to the family of Tuberaceae - grows where there was once a vast sea. But it is true! The Black Truffle of Fragno, considered the black gold of the Parma Apennine, develops in an area with a particular geological conformation, called Flysh: a peculiar characteristic of the hilly area between Val Parma and Val Baganza. Indeed, limestone sediments dating back to the Cenozoic and Mesozoic periods give the soil the optimum conditions for the organoleptic development of this precious product. Extremely fertile soils of the tuber appear to be the soft ones, where water does not stagnate because the area is sloping, in a mixed broadleaf wood. This is where the truffle is born and grows, and where, in the ancient village of Calestano, from October 15 to November 12 will be host the renowned Fragno Black Truffle Fair. This is a thirty-years old event that was inaugurated for the first time in 1984. It was the last Sunday in October and the country's first black truffle festival was celebrated: by a happy insight of the then President of Pro Loco, Geom. Eugenio Magri, an event that would have profoundly changed the economy of Calestano and Val Baganza. The truffle, in fact, was not a marketed product and was mostly known by a few workers. From then on the event has grown becoming a National Fair.

An event that, in short, invites thousands of fans and gourmets to the Province, in search of the flavor and the scent of a unique gastronomic product, both delicious and precious.

Just yesterday -on Sunday, October 15, 2017- in the ancient village of Calestano were cut the ribbons of the 27th edition of the National Fair (while the Festivals were 7, from 1984 to 1990) to the presence of local and national authorities. Between the cobblestones and the alleys of the medieval village, gourmet stands and exhibitors made intermission with tastings and live music, with the final concert of a marching band that in the early afternoon animated the streets of the historic center.

The 2017 edition of the Fair has also been enriched by numerous side activities, including the tenth edition of Trail Running, which saw the participation of numerous athletes from all over Italy but also from Japan. Among the hills of the Parma Apennines, the runners gave birth to a challenge with the autumn colors: the Calestan woods have shown all their splendor between the gold, yellow, red and orange colors. The same scenarios, on October 29, will be the protagonist of the "Truffle Bike", a great non-competitive race for Mountain Bike enthusiasts. The fame of the route derives mainly from the beauty of the trail, very varied and fun, with long and pedal climbs and fun technical downhill in the woods such as the "Via Crucis" and especially "La Cava". The start is from the Alpine’s chalet and then the race goes through the historic center of Calestano turning towards Fragno.

On the same day Calestano will taste the breeze of Versilia with the Mercato of Forte dei Marmi. It will be a Sunday with good food, sports and fashion.

On Sunday, November 5th, however, it will be an opportunity to see truffle dogs participating in a national skill race. While November 12th - closing day of the manifestation - it will be possible to take part in the auction of Fragno Black Truffle with rebounds in order to obtain the last tubers of the season. Following will be awarded the largest black truffle harvested during the fair. Every Sunday you can dine at one of Calestano's most popular restaurants to enjoy some delicious typical dishes: celery and truffles, croutons with eggs and truffles, truffle tagliolini, truffle rolls, radicchio and truffle ravioli and parmesan and truffle risotto are just some examples. Or you can walk in the lands of the truffle with "Terre-emerse", association of environmental tourism guides of the Province of Parma. But also stroll through the Fragno Black Truffle market under the ancient porches of the Old Town. Then end the day with roasted chestnutsand, vin brulé, chestnut and balck truffle pancakes, Calestano’s pattona and spongata.

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