This evening many people sat down under the covered seating at the Johhny Moscardini sports stadium to enjoy this year’s annual Fish and Chip Festival.
Freshly cooked pasta, grilled steak and sausages were also on the menu but this evening all eyes were on those freshly crisp fried fish and chips that you can only get once a year prepared by the expert hands of the AS Barga cooking team who have now been serving up pesce e patate for 30 years.
Some of the story behind the Fish and Chip festival: It was from this town, population 10,000, that harsh economic conditions caused an exodus to the industrial centres of Scotland at the end of the 19th century.
In such places as Ayr, Largs, Glasgow and Greenock, to hungry dockers and shipbuilders Italian immigrants sold fish and chips in the winter and ice-cream in the summer and so created a culinary culture that continues to this day.
The names of Nardini, Conti and Marchetti became high street fixtures as the Italians grafted unremittingly.
Some of the settlers returned upon retirement and, by way of homage, started the Pesce e Patate festival 30 years ago as a greasy-lipped celebration of emigration and homecoming.
More from the article about the fish and chip festival from Oliver Bennett in the Independent 2004 – here
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