It’s that time of year again. Fish ‘n Chips at Barga’s sagra del pesce e delle patate! It’s the one sagra (or food festa) that I’m never going to miss and it’s been going since the 1980’s.
The sagra runs from July 27th to August 17th and opens up at 7.30 pm. I reached it early on the second day.
In case you didn’t know the reason why that great English culinary contribution to world cuisine is also served in Barga it’s that many of the Barghigiani emigrated to Scotland (especially Glasgow) in the last century to set up cafes and fish and chip shops catering to local tastes.
Many Barghigiani struck it rich, hence the lovely art nouveau villas one can find in Barga Nuova. Upon their return they also brought Fish and Chips.
The fish is genuine North Sea cod shipped in as fresh as can be and battered and fried on the premises next to the sports ground in New Barga by experts, many of whom have been doing the same thing in Glasgow. So you can be sure of eating the genuine article. Same with the chips which even a have a slight degree of sogginess in them!
If you are one of those rare people who don’t like to dive into fish ‘n chips then there are alternatives like grilled meat, spare ribs and sausages. In addition, from 29th July onwards, there will be a new ‘gluten-free sagra.’
All you need to do is to find a table, note its number and then go to the cash desk, tick the things you want to eat on a sheet, pay up, return to your table and wait to receive the goods. Simple. (Don’t forget the bar next door.)
There’s also a dance floor, often with live bands at the sagra.
So forget those fish suppers eaten in newspapers on park benches while the rain pours down on you in some dismal corner of Neasden. Enjoy instead, in convivial company, with free flowing beer and wine, fish and chips in the glorious Italian sunshine of a late summer afternoon while in front of you are crowned the Apuan mountains and behind you awaits the city of Barga itself with its lovely music, delicious ice-cream, beautiful women and elegant palazzi.
What more could one want?