A very Christmas kick-off

“In literature and in life we ultimately pursue, not conclusions, but beginnings.”

- Sam Tanenhaus

Three weeks in, and what a beginning it has been! Italy has welcomed me with open arms — and strange outlets that don’t charge devices properly, a washing machine that traps my clothes for hours at a time, and hours of operation that I am yet to figure out. The small stuff aside, Bra and Pollenzo have so very much to offer, and day after day continue to impress me – particularly around Christmas time! Bra and its surrounding towns are known for hosting fantastic farmer’s markets, and last weekend we explored the endless stalls of nearby Alba, home to Ferrero Rocher. The quaint town literally emits aromas of chocolate at every turn.  Piemonte also offers a breathtaking countryside with ever-changing views of the Alps, which I have been lucky enough to take in when it’s warm enough to cycle to school or go for a run. And of course our favorite rituals of aperitivo — visits to the local butcher, cheese shop and enotecas.

Monday kicked off the Setimana di Festigare (Holiday Week) with a Tombolo di Natale (Christmas bingo) — a party of prizes, panettone, and plenty of vino – today was La Fiera del Bue Grasso (the Fat Ox Fair of Piemonte), and on Saturday…our very own FC10 Festa di Natale and Terra Madre Day too.

Che l’inizio meraviglioso!

The aim of the Fiera del Bue Grasse is to safeguard and promote the Piedmontese breed of cattle and protect consumer guarantees. To be called a bonafied “fat ox”, the ox must be Piedmont Fasson, castrated when 2-4 months old, born and bred in the Langhe region, and slaughtered only when older than 4 1/2 years. Because these ox are so strong, in the past they were used for work (nick-named “Langhe tractors”) and then when old enough, they “retired” and they were fed for some months in a special way to make them fat and to make their meat soft and delicious, ready for Christmas.

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