On my second trip to Italy in October of 2003 I was fortunate to attend and participate in a Polenta Fest with a new friend Luciana Pancera at her Villa called Villa Vallerosa. She hosted the party in a barn like structure with long tables. The tables were fitted with long wide planks of new wood. Outside the door of the barn her husband Luigi cooked polenta in a copper pot over a wood fire. People lingered and nibbled on figs and proscuito while they waited for the polenta to be ready. When it was, Luigi and a couple of others hoisted the copper pot and slowly pour the hot golden polenta directly on the wooden planks. Luciana spread the polenta across the planks and quickly topped it with a rich meat sauce. Sausages were added and platters of cheese were passed to the group of guest who by now had surrounded the long table. As the polenta hardened the guest peeled it from the plank and devoured it. It was quite an affair. Something I have never forgotten.
A few years ago Anne and I recreated this Polenta Fest for a group of Fiore customers. It was a great time, but not quite the same as it was in Italy, but for South Pasadena it was special. We also did this Polenta Fest for our friends Brad and Tim of the magazine Peloton. They did a story about the Polenta Fest for their magazine.
On September 25th we will host another Polenta Fest. If you are interested in attending please stop by to sign up. Click on the link above for more information.