Sunday, May 31, 2015

Market Day; (No) Crowds, Part 3

I Mercanti Petroniani without the crowds
 "I would sooner put lit cigarettes in my eyes than share a vacation. . .with a crowd.”  ~ Jancee Dunn

(Note to start this: You already know I hate crowds. I thought the quote was appropriate.)

Today was another market day in Bologna, one that happens only once or twice each season.  I Mercanti Petroniani are a group of Italians from the Emilia-Romagna region (Bologna is the capital.) who put on the markets only six or eight times each year.  The vendors can only be Italian, and the goods, from what I saw, were 90% made in Italy.  The quality was higher—as were the prices.

The candy vendor has a zillion types of licorice.  Who knew?

There were not as many vendors, as you can probably see in the photos, and there were definitely not as many people. No one was throwing anything because, quite frankly, the bins of 1 euro scarves and 6 euro shoes were not there.  The least expensive thing I saw was only 1 euro, but it was a raviole bolognese, and I had to have one.

 Get the picture of cheese ravioli covered with sauce out of your mind.  Raviole bolognese are the same shape as the ravioli we all know, but that's where the resemblance ends.  The raviole of Bologna is a typical sweet of the area, and history has it that it was first served on St. Joseph's Day (March 19), a big feast in Italy (and my birthday).  They consist of a sweet dough filled with mostarda, marmelada, or cioccolato.  (Mostarda, by the way, is a bolognese condiment that contains mustard and fruit. It sounds disgusting, probably, but it's really good.  I ordered something with it unknowingly last summer and loved it.  Had I known it was mostarda, I would not have ordered it because, well, mostarda??  The Bolognese people use it on meats, fish, and in sweets.)

Market minus crowds=Happy Moi

At any rate, God bless the Italian nonna who first made this sweet hundreds of years ago to celebrate St. Joseph on his feast day.  From the time I learned the history of the raviole, I have  considered them "my dessert" since my birth coincided with his feast. So, when I saw the raviole this morning, I had to have one to honor St. J.  The problem was that I wasn't sure which kind to get: apricot, Nutella, cherry, mostarda, mixed berry, etc.  I finally opted for the cherry.

"Una ciliegia, per favore, (One cherry, please)" I said to the gal. 

"Solo una? (Only one?)" She looked at me like I was nuts. I nodded yes not wanting to try to explain that if I ordered more than that, I would inhale them all.  She told me that the cherry were also made with ratafia, an Italian liqueur made from cherries and asked if I still wanted it.

"Certo (Of course)."  I love ratafia and figured it would be delicious.  

It was, and I wish I could show you a photo of it. I ate the whole thing (not that it's huge) before I was out of the piazza.  Sigh.  You can get the recipe and see a photo here, though.

 Getting back to the market.... I found it quiet interesting that the crowds from yesterday were gone. It was odd not seeing the foreign men with PRC-made electronic goods and clothing.  There were also no foreigners shopping. I had the feeling that I was the only non-Italian native in the piazza this morning...not that that's a bad thing since I hate crowds. (I swear I need to buy a taser.)

I'll probably walk down one more time today since the market goes until 8 pm. I was pretty lazy yesterday afternoon, and I just finished my mushroom, lentil, and pea soup, so I'm going to have to walk it and the raviole off.  I'm just going to have to stay away from the baker.

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