Castello di Paderna

Ancient fruits at Paderna: have you been yet?

I have to say that the weather on the day that I chose to go to this beautiful event was not as nice as what I saw, but it was still a very interesting experience. I am talking about the 23rd Edition of Ancient Fruits at Paderna in the province of Piacenza, held on 6 and 7 October: this is one of the oldest and richest events for producers who work to recover and protect plants, fruits and vegetables that have nearly vanished, based on their desire to protect the environment and maintain biodiversity. We went on the Saturday afternoon, and we were welcomed to the Castle Park by a splendid display of plants, flower and fruits that have now almost been forgotten: one of the highlights were the splendid original handmade products on display.

The weather was against us, with a grey sky and the threat of rain, but fortunately, we had an umbrella with us, and in fact we had to use it more than once. But what we saw was still pleasant and interesting, with many producers of plants and flowers, and their colours livened up the leaden skies. There were also many master trademen who showed off their skills and a wide range of products made with enormous attention to detail. There were many Christmas present ideas, and finally the farmers with their numerous varieties of ancient fruits, such as pears, apples, and potatoes, garlic and pumpkins, and cakes as well.

A veritable festival of colour, the whole area was enchantingly suffused with the passion that that producers bring to their work, and above all their love for the land and its gifts, all 100% organic. The mushroom experience was very interesting, particularly in explaining the differences between the edible types and the poisonous; the ancient fruits covered every type of apple and pear you can imagine, and far more than I thought could exist. The handmade decorations, of recycled metal, and the beautiful perfumed flower-themed candles were also splendid to see.

The organically hand-painted clothes were elegant and full of colour, as well the home accessories made with natural materials, the handmade necklaces, the ceramic flowers, or artisanal jewellery. Saffron, liqourice, Roman garlic, aromatic plants, and spreadable creams were some of the other products that we most often use on our dinner tables, and we could also taste them here.

There were many interesting side events during these two days, like the creative labs for children and adults alike, informative seminars (such as how to reuse items that we generally throw away), and an exploration of the varieties of apple. And how could we not mention the location? A fabulous Castle with a courtyard and filled moat, and a teaching farm. Inside you could relax in the courtyard or the garden, and you could park your camper in the external rest-area, even if you cannot discharge or refill your water.

I think I can say that this event on a nice day is well worth the time, and we will definitely see you at the next edition of Ancient Fruits at Paderna!

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