Last Saturday we made our way over to Cavour for the 2011 inaugural day of "Tutto Mele",
in spite of the rain that threatened to ruin the day and force streams and rivers to flow out their banks wreaking all kinds of havoc. Instead, it was just mildly annoying that the steady rain put quite the damper on the event, so that some of the vendors didn't even open their booths while others struggled to maintain a happy face. Not an easy life working seasonal fairs or the open air markets. We had stopped on our way to do our weekly shop at the Pinerolo market and what is usually the biggest selection of vendors, was but a mere ghost of the normally thrumming Saturday market. The market border still had a fair amount of food and produce vendors as the show must go on as produce doesn't last well till next market day, but the entire inner market of clothes, nick knacks and sundry had stayed away due to the torrential pounding of rain we were receiving. I don't blame them at all.
|One of my favorite local varieties|
There was one group that seemed to be unfazed by the weather, and that was the racers in the Apple Run. I kept noticing all these sporty, hardy types strolling around in bike shorts, sporting tanned and appropriately bulging legs like it was mid September. Following along with the tanned legs, I found myself at the starting line where all manner of warm up activities were taking place in the steady down pour. I must say more power to them as there were literally a couple hundred runners ready to do a mini marathon.
|Soggy Apple runners|
My marathon consisted of wandering around the town taking in the sights and trying to stay dry. There was the outdoor vendors selling salami and cheeses, ravioli featuring apple filling, vendors with the new olive oil and pesto, cases of Sicilian oranges and stacks of Sardinian pecorino rounds, and Caresu flatbread. Local vendors with polenta, and snails; indoor vendors with artisan beer, chocolate and all manner of hot tubs, kitchen remodelling options, ski clothes and lo and behold, a Tupperware dealer. They were frantically setting up as I stopped by to see all the new colors that Tupperware is currently offering and all the gizmos and new stuff that can be tempting when one is feeling flush with money. I ended up with a catalogue to peruse and contemplate of what I can't live without. I must say I am a Tupperware fan having grown up with it and still have some of my mom's from the 60's. It does work well and certainly will most likely outlive me.
|Caterina Bruno and some of her watercolors|
Anyway, my favorite part of the festival for the past few years is my friend Caterina Bruno's watercolor exposition. We met in 2005 while we were both having our hair cut by a local favorite hairdresser, Nicola, just before the Olympics came to us. Fabrizio and Caterina chatted it up and before you know it Caterina and Renato were at our house a few days later sharing with us her watercolors and getting to know one another. We feature some of her watercolors here at the B&B and it has been delightful to watch her style evolve over the past few years. Tutto Mele is a great opportunity to catch up with her, enjoy her latest flight of creativity and imagination while staying warm and dry. A few years back she was in a couple of small deconsecrated churches and although lovely settings they were chilly, where as now Caterina's work is displayed in the town hall. A much better setting to really show off her work. This years work featured what she mentioned as her flying houses inspired by some children's stories. I mentioned that they reminded me of the Pugliese "Trulli" houses as well as African type huts.
Caterina found that interesting and then pointed me to her calendars that she is selling for Domus-Onlus, an organization that raises money to support vulnerable women and children, both in Italy and Africa. Her exhibit in Cavour is located next to the ladies who are selling hand made dolls to raise money for Unicef. Caterina and another artist paint the faces on these dolls that come with certificates and names. I was given Claudia last year, who is a Waldensen girl in traditional costume. Her lovely face was painted by Caterina. They still have some dolls on offer if you get on over there. The calendars are priced at €5 and are a steal, as you not only have her colorful and whimsical paintings to enjoy each month of the year, you can frame the small prints afterwards to enjoy even longer and help others while doing so. There is still time today and tomorrow to get over to Cavour and pick one up or maybe even one of her original watercolors. If you miss that one Caterina will be in Torino from the 13 November through the 14 December, 2011 showing and selling her artwork and calendars as well. She will be located on Via Po 45, at the Chiostro della Parrocchia della SS. Anunziata. Torino is always a nice day out and Caterina will be happy to meet you. In the meantime you might want to stop at Cavour and pick up a few fritelle di Mele, or apple fritters, as they are always delicious fresh out of the fryer and no mess to clean up at home.
|Catarina's 2012 calender and Waldensen hand made doll|