La porchetta, (pronounced por-KET-ta) noble street food of Umbria and central Italy in general, stars in the Porchettiamo festival. Best translated as “Let us roast suckling pig”, your Italian/English dictionary won’t have a translation: just head to San Terenziano to experience it, trust us!
Porchetta (roasted on the spit, generously seasoned with garlic, rosemary, sage and wild fennel) and panini thereof draw the crowds at every traditional outdoor Umbrian market on a saint’s feast day (or the day before or after).
The town of San Terenziano however, fêtes la porchetta itself, in late May when the small piazza leading to the fortified 16th-century city gate becomes “la Piazza della Porchetta“. Perfect timing: after all, the Romans called pig maialis, after the goddess Maia to whom it was dedicated. Every town, city, and region della porchetta is invited to San Terenziano to offer their product to critical visitors, who come to enjoy un panino di porchetta con un bicchiere di vino rosso locale.
The more critical palates savor small tastes of different porchetta types while families and young couples share sandwiches and others browse the booths. Some families enjoy a “pig-nic” served to them on the lawn behind town walls and young people enjoy live music played throughout the three days of Porchettiamo.
On the final day of Porchettiamo in nearby medieval Grutti – home for centuries to skilled porchettai – young people in medieval costumes slice woodfire, spit-roasted porchetta (the best we had!) in front of the town’s ancient tower, while nearby, a porchettaio in a hooded jute tunic shovels coals under a roasting porchetta, turning on the spit, just as in the Middle Ages.
Time seems to stand still… until you notice that the porchettaio is puffing on a cigarette. Pazienza! A concession made to a modern vice. And in any case, the anachronism can’t alter the flavor of that irresistbile porchetta.
More info over at Porchettiamo.