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Happy August 15th-Ferragosto (part 2)

Posted in Caro Diario.(dear diary..), Holidays, and recipes

limone_sul_garda.jpgBuon Ferragosto Picnic (Second Part)


copyright, 2008, Maria Liberati,

The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm

Editor: Michela Pompeo

Here is the second part of the recipes for a great Ferragosto, or August 15th Picnic. You don’t have to be in Italy or in Nice, France to watch the fireworks on the beach to celebrate. Make your own August 15th celebration wherever you are. Bring along some of the dishes suggested here and in part 1 of the article.

The beaches and the lakes are beautiful with the Italian sun shining down. I wanted to also leave you with this photo of a town called Limone sul Garda which is a popular spot also for Ferragosto. (see photo above) 

Number three is Vitello tonnato, the main course. Buy 2 poundsof veal in one piece. Put a large pan filled with water, salt, a carrot, an onion and a stick of celery (everything cut into three or four big pieces) on the stove. When the water boils, throw in the meat and let it cook for about 1 hour (or more, if the piece of meat is very thick). Take it out and leave it till cold: two or three hours should be sufficient. Then with a sharp knife, cut thin slices and place them on a dish in such a manner that they do not overlap. Prepare a purée with: 4 ounces tuna fish (canned is ok), some mayonnaise, some capers; mix all together in the mixer till you obtain the purée with which you will cover every single slice of veal. Decorate with capers. Keep it in the fridge and take it with you to the picnic; it is to be served cold.


This dish can be accompanied by Frittelle di patate al formaggio (Potato fritters with cheese). For 8 people you need:

2 lbs potatoes

2 eggs

2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (grated)

sifted flour flour

salt, pepper,


oil to fry

Boil potatoes in abundant salted water, drain, peel and smash them. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1 whole egg + a yolk, and Parmigiano. Stir carefully. Make small round disks and flour them. Then fry in hot vegetable oil (sunflower oil is all right). Dry them on kitchen paper. Do not put them in the fridge. They can be served the following day at the picnic!

Now, it’s time for fruit. Here the thing is very simple: in Italy everybody eats watermelon in August, but especially during picnics. You can prepare it the day before by cutting the two ends of a watermelon; then, keeping it upright make slices, cut the red pulp into pieces, put them into a suitable container, keep it in the fridge and then put in the cool bag till the moment of eating it.

Vai a: Navigazione, cerca

Finally, your perfect picnic should finish with a small glass of Sgroppino. This is a kind of dialect term and the nearest translation is ‘sorbet lemon’ just to give you an idea of what it is. We usually buy it (it comes in bottles) already frozen, we keep it in the freezer till a couple of hours before of drinking it. If you want to take it to the picnic, put it in the cool bag until the moment you need it. It will have melted a bit, but it will still retain its cold, creamy thickness, which would be a pleasure to drink. (if you can get some lemons from Sorrento to garnish this- it will be even better)!!


Of course you can do it at home, because it is very easy. For 4 people you need:

12 ounces lemon ice-cream

2 glasses of Prosecco wine (sparkling)

2 small glasses Vodka lemon

Mix everything in the mixer for some minutes, pour into a bottle and, if you want to use it for the picnic, freeze it; if not, you can directly drink it, served in flutes.

Enjoy your picnic!

Buon Ferragosto

For more recipes and tips get your copy of the best selling book- The Basic Art of Italian Cooking at


Stay tuned next week for part two of my visit to Umbria. and my memoirs from a farmhouse in Umbria. You will get a special sneek peak into recipes from my first cooking tour in Umbria, the farmhouse, the feast , the beautiful feast eaten under the shooting stars for the feast of San Lorenzo, the cooking class we did  with Velia and  Gian Luca the Champagneria in Orvieto and my beautiful farmhouse with photos and of course we will include recipes as well!! The food was wonderful as well. Special thanks to Domenico and Paola at

 We are now planning the second cooking tour to Orvieto, the farmhouse and the Champagneria, the lodging will be at the beautiful farmhouse in Orvieto where we cook with the fruits and vegetables, herbs, picked there that morning.. Stay tuned for more info on the cooking tour.

Ciao for now and an ‘abraccio forte’ to all my new friends in Orvieto, Baschi, Todi ….

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