Vicchio, Mugello, Tuscany. A particular Saturday afternoon, that of the last week of August, that of Hot Fair, a historical event that for the Vicchiesi represents a real rite, which will celebrate its bicentenary next year. The event, full of events, music and workshops, is known for the historic market but also for the exhibition of excellences of local craftsmanship and world agricultural local.
Throughout the first half of the afternoon the sky threatened showers that did not arrive, nor will they arrive, e piazza Giotto, Square of Victory, the viale Beato Angelico begin to populate. Two or three times I happen to hear, among people's speeches, the phrase that contains the cliché "It was better last year", typically Tuscan, which, for example, the Florentine 'Fochi' of San Giovanni never escape. In fact, the event revealed several novelties this year, such as the Masterchef in the square, an amateur competition between chefs that entertained a large and enthusiastic audience.
In Piazza Giotto, the premises that until a few months ago had housed a historic hardware store welcome the exhibitions of some artisans for the Fair. At the entrance, the floor is crossed by illuminated stones. Francesco Della Corte, of Dicomano, carves stone or marble by inserting Plexiglas and / or lamps, often powered by solar energy. THE light trails they are one of the applications, but it has also created works of much greater dimensions. His activity, which he has been dealing with for about 5 years, is called NaturArtDesign.
Like the Court, too The Witches of the Ribbons I'm at the Hot Fair for the first time. However, Serena Scheggi and Francesca Terradura they started their business only a year and a half ago, however, revealing an uncommon inventiveness. They produce furnishing accessories with wood and fabrics. All unique pieces, rigorously handmade. You wouldn't say that both nurses do the job.
How would you not think that Francesco Fabbiani he is a mechanic by trade. The craftsman lives in Rupecanina, a fraction of Vicchio and he too has started producing wooden objects about a year and a half ago.
For its furnishing accessories, including beautiful olive bowls, rustic-style containers, vases and candle holders, it uses precious woods and carefully selected beech, chestnut, olive trees, and sometimes has them sent directly from the Gargano. In short, Francesco shows a knowledge of the deep and solid raw material that reveals an ancient passion.
A creative urgency is perceived in these corridors. A desire to invent something. Not to limit one's existence to work, however well done. The public response is more than positive. All three will surely participate in the event again next year.
Among the food exhibitors, however, we find several habitués of the Hot Fair. The stand of Salami from the Hatter, for example, has been a regular appointment for the people of Vicenza for about ten years. The Hatter in question, Andrea Gelli, is from Agliana (PT) and its products are strictly Tuscan and niche, selected and processed in respect of rural tradition.
“Transformed and evolved over the years, but uncompromising in wanting to maintain the good values of the past. Traditions evolve, but not family ones, those are right to remain ”, says Andrea. Indeed, the curing under ashes of ham and other cured meats that it uses refers to ancient knowledge and the flavor that these products give back to the palate is so particular and intense it restores its charm. Il Cappellaio then produces mortadella from Prato, completely different from the classic one.
Even more from a distance it comes Isabella Autunno: from Abruzzo. But the success obtained in Borgo San Lorenzo last year persuaded her to return to Mugello to propose her own arrosticini Abruzzo, made with sheep meat. His is a street food business, therefore not a production one. They are part of the chain Food Italia Global Catering. They travel all over Italy. The raw materials are supplied to him by a serious and scrupulous company, which hopes to soon obtain the PGI. “Too often we have had to overcome the distrust of patrons who had tried similar but poor quality products. If nothing else, by tasting ours they were able to see the difference. "
Laura Mastrazzo is the owner of the Podere Varena, a family-run herd of dairy goats, chamois and mestizos, near Londa (Florence), and deals with the production and sale of goat cheese e extra virgin olive oil. Laura, together with Lorenzo Gori (which is not present at the Fair because it is taking care of the milking), has been working with raw milk cheese for about six years. I find the company's cheeses truly excellent: some are flavored with aromatic herbs or spices, others have a flowery rind; I also learn that goats eat only organic food from them. The nutritional and dietary qualities of goat milk have been known for centuries, but the work of Laura and Lorenzo has helped to awaken the interest in this product and the appreciation of its cheeses is constantly growing.
On the same bench, in perfect harmony, we also find the production of Matteo Venturini taking part in the Fair for the first time. His son Jacopo tells me about a large farmhouse in Rincine, still near Londa. On the counter I find a great quality assortment of honey. Seasonal reasons do not allow to exhibit the other flagship product, i brown. The company sit also carries out activities of recovery and relaunching in the agricultural field, through the restoration and production of old abandoned cultivations and a marroneta. The characterizing element is the social activity, which integrates with other activities of the Center. In order to increase tourism in the area, the company also provides a shelter and spaces for the reception of individuals and / or groups ".
Il lampredotto it is undoubtedly the best of all 'street food', and has existed in Florence for a long, long time before this English term was used by us to simply indicate 'street food'. At the Hot Fair we find him from Lands of Tuscany, prepared by Erika and Alessandro Buti, of Piazzano, fraction of Borgo San Lorenzo. The couple also offers Porchetta e Ham hand-cut, but the lampredotto takes the lion's share. They are supplied by a tripe shop in Barberino di Mugello, and for sandwiches from the Forno Conti in San Piero a Sieve. Success? “We had to run to get it back!”, Erika replies. More than enough, and I quickly step aside because customers are pressing.
The appointment for everyone is for the next Fiera Calda 2020, in Vicchio del Mugello, for a new experience of taste and fun “Made in Mugello”.