For the past 37 years, on the Labor Day Holiday of May 1st, Montaquila hosts its Frittata Festival. As most readers probably know, a frittata is the Italian version of an omelette. For the festival, the egg is celebrated as one of the most important elements in cooking and in human nutrition. In spring, eggs are of course abundant, so it makes sense that the tradition was started in many hill towns in the province of Isernia. This small town is geographically located in the western area of the Molise region, in the Alta Valle del Volturno. With the Mainarde Mountains as its backdrop, it is the gateway to the Apennines.
The idea for the festival was borne about forty years ago when the residents of the village wanted to raise funds for the feast of the patron saint San Rocco. They decided to take advantage of the culinary skills of the locals and use readily available ingredients; hence, the idea of the frittata was borne. People learned to appreciate this dish and to request it, so over the years it evolved into a festival. It’s also come to be known for the exceptional number of eggs that make up the “mother” omelette. On the afternoon of May 1st the giant omelette is carried on a cart by a procession of locals dressed in period, folk costumes through the village. Accompanied by folk music, it winds its way through the hill town until it reaches the main square. This year the mega omelette will be prepared with as many as 1,501 eggs! It will be flanked by other smaller ones ranging from 51 to 201 eggs which are offered by local families. In addition to the eggs, the ingredients are a combination of local products that please the palate and pay homage to the local culture.
The event is organized by the Association MontaquilaCheVive and is scheduled for April 30 and May 1. There will be numerous events tied to the festival (it’s not all about eggs) including: concerts, hiking, horseback riding through the surrounding mountains, photo contests, and vintage car and motorcycle shows. In short, it’s a festival that is suitable for all that focuses on carrying out the local gastronomic and folk traditions and the Montaquila omelette.
Photo copyrights: Andrea Di Meo