It happens once a year at the small town of San Daniele del Friuli, located in the Province of Udine, northeast of Italy. Every end of June they celebrate in style its famous dry-cured ham. And they have a good reason for that! Among the large array of Italian delicacies there are its two most famous varieties of prosciutto crudo: Prosciutto di Parma & Prosciutto di San Daniele. I, honestly, can’t make the difference between them although sometimes it feels to me that the San Daniele has a gentler, sweeter taste. But maybe it’s just me…
I found out about this festival when visiting friends in São Paulo. I know it sounds weird learning about an Italian event in Brazilian soil, but that’s how it really happened! I guess that what’s called globalisation… I was at a cool bookshop with Fabíola, my very dear friend, who was looking for a book to her mum. So while I was waiting for her, I went to my obvious sector – the cookery books – and started checking on what they had there when I laid my eyes on a book. You’ll have to forgive me on this one, because I have NO IDEA which book was that. I’ve researched like crazy on the internet and at the bookshop website, but for some unfortunate reason couldn’t remember the name of it. What a shame… This would have been quite an acquisition for my collection!
It was inevitable, I had to go through it!!! For those things that just can’t be explained, I opened the book right at the page about the Prosciutto di San Daniele Festival. Running out of time, as my frieds had already found the book she was looking for and was heading to the counter, I got my red moleskine from my purse and took note of the website – http://www.prosciuttosandaniele.it ; http://www.ariadifesta.it/- so I could check it out when I’d get home.
Months have passed until I’ve gone through my notes again and for another coincidence it was an afternoon in June, just about two weeks before the festival, which took place from the 24th to 27th June. Prosciutto crudo is one of my favourite foods in the whole world. I love its singular taste, but most of all its versatility… it’s the perfect antipasto, incredible with a mixed salad and superb in a freshly baked ciabatta. So, without hesitate I called my husband and asked him if he wanted to make a long weekend and take a road trip to the Italy to have some very fresh and authentic Prosciutto di San Daniele. Of course I omitted the fact that it was a bit far from Zug, so far that it was almost Slovenia! Of course he said a big fat YES!!! After all, there’s a good reason why I chose him to be my husband!
As it was a long drive we decided to stop in Verona for a couple of days not only to make the trip more comfortable but also to enjoy a bit of Juliet & Romeo’s city that we went for the first time! On Sunday we drove a bit further to the tiny town of San Daniele del Friuli. Oh, I can tell you that we had the best prosciutto ever that afternoon! The city centre became an exhibition park, with its access closed to cars, so the visitors could freely come and go. There were food stalls all over the centre, of course the star was the famous prosciutto but you could find all sorts of things: wines, olives, clothes… People would get a plate of sliced dry-cured ham with some grissini or chopped melons, a glass of wine and seat on the communal tables, just casually chatting and listening to the bands that were playing at the various stages located along the centre.
It was a pleasant afternoon, that’s for sure. But would I drive down there again for this festival?
No, I don’t think so… It was a great experience, I’m happy I’ve been there but I think once is enough! I do have good memories, fine photos and some authentic prosciutto di San Daniele in the fridge!