Ferragosto - Italian's Summer Holiday coming to the end

Ferragosto is a public holiday celebrated on 15 August in all of Italy. It originates from Feriae Augusti, the festival of Emperor Augustus, who made the 1st of August a day of rest after weeks of hard work on the agricultural sector. It became a custom for the workers to wish their employers "buon ferragosto" and receive a monetary bonus in return. It now has become the typical time for the summer vacation period around mid-August, which may be a long weekend (ponte di ferragosto) or most of August. Up until 2010, 90% of companies, shops and industries closed but that has now changed with competitive pressures. Most companies now close for only two weeks.  These days Italians holiday at seaside resorts  with beach games, water balloons, bonfires and dancing.  Ferragosto has become a true celebration of summer. A key moment of the day is the traditional Ferragosto lunch, usually a barbecue or picnic with family and friends.

In this special summer, of masks and social distancing and Italian holidays, one certainty remains for Italians: the mid-August barbecue. Also this year, as per tradition but with due precautions, on August 15th friends and relatives gather around the grill to celebrate the most anticipated event of the summer. As for the shopping items, wine, fish and watermelon are the products that see a greater increase compared to mid-August 2020. This year there is an important change: the classic combination of meat and beer makes room for fish and wine, suggesting a probable change in eating habits but also reflecting smaller group gatherings.

Antipasti will include dishes such as Involtini di Pollo or Bresaola Arrotolata con Rucola or Salmone Finocchi e capperi. Popular Primi Piatti for the famous Ferragosto Lunch are Bucatini al Polpo, Frittata die Spaghetti or Farfalle Sedano e Salmone. For mains they usually have a mix of fish or meat dishes such as Sardine imobttite al forno, or Torta Salata con Mortadella or Pallotte Cacio e Uova - dishes one can take also to the Beach. For desserts, one chooses uncomplicated recipe like a Peach Cake or Biscottini di Novara or a Crostata. Try and look up some of the recipes on giallozafferano.com

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