The Innkeeper, The Voyeur and The Tortellini Pasta

Sagra di San Nicola – A Tortellino Festival Held in Castelfranco Emilia:

Tortellini Festival - Castelfranco Emilia Follow Me on Pinterest

Fresh Tortellini - Image S. Feldstein CC 2.0

In Castelfranco Emilia, a town in the province of Modena, the Feast of St Nicholas is celebrated on the second week of September. The Sagra di San Nicola is actually a Tortellino Festival where the creation of tortellini is re-enacted every year.

Legend of the Tortellini

If you think that your favourite pasta looks like a belly-button, there is a reason for this.  According to one interesting legend, an innkeeper was so captivated by the beauty of a guest that he couldn’t resist peeping into her room through the keyhole to watch her undress. In the dim candlelit room, all he could see was her naval, but that was enough to send him wild with excitement.  Entranced by the woman’s perfectly shaped navel he rushed to the kitchen and created a tortellino in its likeness.

There are of course other legends relating to the tortellini’s creation but in Castelfranco Emilia, the Peeping Tom version suits them fine.

Tortellino Festival

Each year, during the second week of September, Castelfranco Emilia celebrates the Sagra di San Nicola or Tortellino Festival during which the creation of the tortellino is re-enacted. The historical re-enactment of the tortellino’s creation is intended to keep the pasta tradition going.  The town folk dress up for the festivity and the voyeur awarded the “Oste” title has the responsibility to uphold the tortellini tradition for a year. A small square of pasta stuffed with pork loin, ham, mortadella, parmesan cheese, nutmeg, pepper and salt has always been the symbol for the culinary tradition of the region.

Tortellini in Castelfranco Emilia

Visitors to the Tortillino Festival will have the opportunity to enjoy this traditional pasta from Castelfranco Emilia. These folks take their pasta very seriously and the hand-made egg pasta are cooked in a sumptuous capon and veal broth. And to show that you’re one of the Purists, don’t sprinkle your tortellini with grated Parmigiano.

Event  :  Festival of Tortellini (Feast of St Nicholas)
When  :  Annually – Second Week in September
Venue :  Castelfranco, Emilia Romagna

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