Tuesday, July 20

Hungry for A Fish Festival in Fabriano

On a recent 'night off' (meaning no dinner or cooking classes scheduled) we were eager to get out of the house - so we jumped in the car late in the evening after all the watering was done and headed south west. Normally we drive to the coast but opted for cooler hilltop towns in southern Marche. Just in luck it was a Friday night & Fabriano had an antique festival & market filling the streets until midnight BUT the best part: a fish festival was scheduled too! Ohh this was gonna be good -we asked Dott. Gaggi what kind of fish is gambero di fiume - shrimp of the river & his eyes lite up!
"How do you know about this? Ohh those are good, we used to have them here in this river too, (motioning to the Candigliano river that wraps around our farmhouse & the valley we live in). Jason let's try to catch a few one day..." - he went on & on about how delicate they are & how special it is to eat these little critters. Sounds like we are in for a treat - Fabriano it is!

Just under an hour & half later and a drive through lovely valleys & quaint villages we arrived at Fabriano for what was building in our minds & bellies as an epic fish festival! Ah yes - that must be it - we see the filled streets, vendors & loads of antiques...more antiques...

and more - but no fish!
What?! We are now starving and its already 9pm - No one has a clue what we are talking about either (we began asking vendors, store owners, anyone we passed)- we bumbled on about a fish festival ...we're loosing steam & patience. So we follow our noses to a little osteria with the day's menu scribbled on butchers paper. When what do we have here - a full fish menu - and loads of it too! Thank La Madonna we will be eating well tonight after all! My bum barely hits the seat when I blurt out with a big smile that I'll take the special please!
Yup, I think you got that translation correct - finished! The damn fish special was finished off too! And the worst part was every single other person in the restaurant was PIGGING out on plate after plate of fish pasta, fried, grilled goodness! Quick thinking - Jason orders a bottle of local white wine - bravo! We glance at the menu & its not half-bad actually. I order mussells & gnocchi with fish & pesto, Jason orders a fried fish antipasto with a mixed grill main course. I'm not sure if the mussels were out of this world delish or I was just starving but at one point Jason says: "Ash you are literally drinking the juice from your bowl."
Me- without looking up, in the zone: "I know."

In a late night kichen mix-up Jason's grilled fish came as yet another plate-o-fried fish! (His antipasto was a mound of crunchy tiny fried fish that we hit hard, now arrives an even bigger plate of FRIED fish - sardines, calamari, monk fish, soglia (another whole fish). But we powered through & finished that off too!Finally full!

Who knows if there ever was that fish festival or not....I'm just happy we found our own version of it - a fried fish bonanza!

For more on Fabriano - FABRIANO, Le Marche
Famous for its 14 Century paper mills, Fabrian is worth a day trip from our farmhouse for sure. I can't wait to get back & do a bit more exploring ~ plus the city is packed with great gelato!

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