Hot! Moveable Feast

On a rainy Sunday in an Italian café, life in a new country continues to strangely parallel the one I’ve left behind. As I think of my friends and clients who certainly spent a sunny spring day meandering through the courtyard of the Phoenix Art Musuem, wine glass in hand for Devour Phoenix, I spent my day circling the courtyard of the FinalBorgo castle for Salone Agrialimentare Ligura.

Devour has quickly become the harbinger of Spring and food festivals in Phoenix. Local chefs and restaurants celebrate the season with a two-day feast of menu samples, recipe demos, and wine tasting. It’s the second year of this event from Local First Arizona to promote the independent food scene in our state.

In FinalBorgo, nearly every producer of food, wine – and yes even beer! – from the region converge to do the same. Despite the unpleasant weather, the community gathers to taste what Italy is known for. There is a Pesto Street, a Pasta Lane, a Piazza of Focaccia, honey stands, olive oils, marmalades, and sweets. In one corner, a crowd is gathered around a man in a Yankees cap making pesto with a mortar and pestle.

The wine is in the next room, but what catches my eye are microbreweries! I can hardly contain my excitement as my friend helps me communicate with the owner. I sample the Belgium-style Triple and add the Maltus Faber brewery in Genoa to my “day trip” list.

After lunch and café, I return and buy pesto and focaccia and watch as a chef demonstrates techniques to prepare anchovies fresh from the Ligurean sea. We huddle under the tent as his assistant dips the tiny fish into hot oil. As the day ends, I collect my bicycle and dodge raindrops, cars and pedestrians back to the apartment. I am cold and wet but soon have a hot bowl of pasta tossed in pesto sauce in front of me and a glass of Italian craft beer in hand. I raise a quick toast to my Arizona friends. With the time difference, they are just starting their day to devour.

Ching ching!

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