Thursday, 13 December 2007

The Fat Bull Festival


There has been the Festa del Bue Grasso for 370 years at Moncalvo near Asti and this is the second year on the trot (hoof?) that I've been. Essentially it's a day dedicated to the consumption of meat and then more meat. In the morning there's a show of prize bulls, when that's out of the way (I didn't see one bull; we were in the bar drinking Prosecco) it's time to make one's way to any of the several excellent restaurants in the village and the gloves come off.
The menu was: raw minced beef (with just a little lemon), then veal in a tuna sauce, then tripe with peppers and garlic, then agnolotti (huge mutant ravioli stuffed with meat and served with a roast meat gravy), then the main course which is seven different cuts of boiled beef, served with three garlic-based sauces. Then there was a pudding (no meat as far as I could taste), coffee and two bottles of grappa on the table amongst eleven of us. We were a little disappointed the cheese board didn't pop its head out. Needless to say we drank industrial quantities of Barbera d'Asti.
The chap in the photo getting the first of his three helpings of agnolotti from the not unattractive waitress is a Real Man. Obviously we swapped stories all afternoon. In the summer he lives in the Alps at 6,700 feet with his goats and cattle. No electricity. And he goes up on foot with the animals. His Mum, together with their supplies, goes up by helicopter (€200 + €22 a minute flight time). In the winter he works for the state electricity company, chopping down trees underneath high voltage power lines. Just before the tripe he started regaling us with his Great Chainsaw Accident stories. His favourite was his friend who had a kickback from a tree trunk (he was working without a helmet like they all do, too hot) and he managed to chainsaw off his right ear, half his cheek and most of his shoulder. The blood squirted out for more than three metres apparently.

7 comments:

cindy incidentally said...

You lead a charmed existence. Ever heard of working for a living? Some of us are knocking our pipes out here.
I take it there were no veggies at this lunch?

Diplomat said...

My mate Lez dropped a massive Poplar tree on himself and completely disappeared from view - the last we heard was a distressed wailing sound and splintering branches. On arrival at the scene we located Lez by the little plume of foul smoke coming from his pipe. Having rigged up a makeshift crane we lifted about three tonnes of tree off Lez to reveal him lying flat on his back, relatively unscathed, pressed about a foot into the very soft ground like something from a Tom & Jerry cartoon. He'sort of OK now.

cindy incidentally said...

glad he's alright Diplomat but what's that got to do with the price of fish. Have you been at the sauce already?

Toby Savage said...

Ha. I had a mate who got pissed at lunchtime, then set about a spot of roofing. Stumbling close to the edge of the roof he shoved a size 10 through a slate and toppled over the edge, foot still wedged between the rafters. Next thing, there was a splintering of something as he crashed to the ground, taking out a couple of window boxes en route. Primulas from memory. He landed flat on his back as well, uttering a few obscenities, got up and promptly fell over again. He never did recover and now lives in a home staffed by Swedish nurses and eats a lot of pork, as they do.

cindy incidentally said...

Sorry Diplomat, I get it. Being an animal lover/veggie(and that's where the cliche ends) I was more concerned with the amount of meat consumed than bleedin' Van Gogh and his mates. Furthermore, Ron knew i'd eventually rise to the bate.
As for that mate of yours Toby, i believe he still affects a limp.

cindy incidentally said...

ps bait. ell it is late.

Diplomat said...

As a rule chainsaw accidents don't usually have a funny side, but- I know a guy lost a leg below the knee following a moment of carelessness, any how, hadn't seen him for ages but called at his a while ago. Hurling himself enthusiastically from his tractor to avoid stepping up to his neck in slurry, his leg got left behind, caught up in the cab door somehow and he hit the dirt with hardly a leg to stand on and obviously fell in anyway. By the way Lez's pipe tobacco pouch was an Impala scrotum I gave him.