LA BATTAGLIA DELLE ARANCE, IVREA FEBRUARY
Take part in Italy’s largest food fight as revellers pelt over 270,000 Sicilian oranges, re-enacting a Middle Aged battle where the Ivrea townsfolk overthrew an evil king. Beginning on the Sunday and ending on Shrove Tuesday, a traditional fagiolate (bean stew) is served symbolising the beans the Ivrean brotherhoods gave to the poor. The carnival closes with all comers feasting on a simple and delicious polenta and cod dish in Piazza La Marmora.
GELATO FESTIVAL, FLORENCE APRIL
The touring festival kicks off in Florence before continuing on to other parts of Italy, the UK and Germany, before ending in Vienna. It sees 16 gelato masterminds create dazzling new flavours for attendees to vote on, with a panel of judges also on hand to rate participants on imagination, technique and use of raw materials.
Past winning flavours include tropical basil, strawberry and red pepper and, for the adventurous, linguine and pine nut.
SAGRA DEI LIMONE, MONTEROSSO MAY
Monterosso is home to some of the most desirable lemons in the world and May is when they ripen. The trademark femminello Sorrentino lemons are so sweet that they can be eaten raw. Taste-test your way around stalls piled high with lemon creams, marmalades and the region’s torta al limone (lemon cake). Lemon skins are macerated in alcohol to make the local elixir, limoncello, because when life gives you lemons, make limoncello.
ALBA INTERNATIONAL WHITE TRUFFLE FAIR
The world’s oldest white truffle market features stands of truffle experts displaying their treasure, each of which has been quality-tested by experts to ensure the produce on offer is of the finest pedigree. After sampling the bounty, follow your nose as you embark on your own truffle hunt. Some of the finest white truffles have been found in the Piedmont region, often fetching hundreds of pounds per kilo. Pair yours with neutral foods that will not overpower the aroma, such as veal or scrambled eggs.
CHOCOBAROCCO, MODICA DECEMBER
Chocaholic? This one’s for you. Dedicated to the Modica’s ancient chocolate tradition, which is said to date back to the Aztecs, visitors can pick and mix their way through vendors stocked high with milk, dark and white chocolate drops, liqueurs and cosmetics, plus more unusual flavours, such as cinnamon and even beer. Make a beeline for the stalls that stock impannatighi, a traditional pastry travelling snack whose ingredients include beef and chocolate.