We’re talking about festivals this week, and for us at The International Kitchen, festivals mean food! Whether we’re talking sausages at Oktoberfest, or barbacoa during Cinco de Mayo in Puebla, there are certain foods and certain festivals that just seem to go together.
This got us to thinking about some of our favorites. Corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day? Of course, although you won’t find that in Ireland on March 17.
One of favorite dishes associated with a festival is Chiles en Nogada, or poblano peppers in a walnut sauce. It’s a staple of Mexican Independence Day, and we’ll be talking more about it (including featuring a recipe) on Friday. Another great Mexican dish we have featured in the past is Lamb Barbacoa, a dish traditionally served for Cinco de Mayo.
Of course, Christmas features many traditional recipes. One need think only of France’s Buche de Noel or Italy’s Panettone. But one of our favorite Christmas dishes in Italy is the wonderful Tortelli alla Mantovana, traditionally served at Christmas time. This type of pumpkin raviolo features the piquant Mantovan “mostarda,” a fruity, mustard-y type of compote that is not hard to make but almost impossible to find ready-made in the U.S.
Another great season for special festival foods of course is Carnival. Most Roman Catholic countries feature certain Carnival recipes leading up to the Lenten fasting, and one of my favorites, which I try to make each year with my children, is Roman “frappe.” Basically thin strips of fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar, these tasty bits of heaven are one of the best parts of Carnevale!
My favorites tend to feature a lot of Italian festivals, but that’s from my days living in Italy. What are your favorites?
By Peg Kern
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