Pomaria Val di Non

 

The Non valley, in the Italian region of Trentino, is famous for two things. The first is shared with other valleys around that area, and is the bilinguism with German. In fact, an ongoing political battle sees the northern part of the valley trying to secede from Italy and be recognized as Austrian territory. The other curiosity is much more pacific and tasty, as the valley – and the ancient and minuscule village of Casez in particular – is where the Golden Delicious variety of apple was first imported and planted in Italy, finding the perfect combination of climate and soil. The whole valley soon turned to the cultivation of this very tasty apple, which was rebranded asMelinda and has since been the basis of the local economy.

Such a success is a very good reason to celebrate, so Casez is now also the home of Pomaria, an “apple festival” taking its name both from the latin word for ‘orchard’ and the Roman goddess Pomona, overseer of fruit cultivations. Amidst the festive air of the place, many events honor her majesty the apple in various (and pretty fun) ways. Guests are invited to harvest their own apples as they take a tour of the orchards guided by a farmer or even a company of actors, who turn the stroll into a real show about the history of the valley. Those who prefer to stay indoor can take cooking classes to learn how to prepare the traditional strudel, of course apple-based. Then there is a parade and a pageant to award “the tastiest of the realm”, and many other forms of entertainment including a veritable apples museum.

Casez also takes this opportunity to celebrate its heritage with demonstrations of ancient trades – especially traditional linen weaving – traditional music and dances, and more. Foodies will appreciate the many stalls offering local wines like the Groppello di Revò, mountain cheeses like the Casolét or the mortandéla, cured and smoked pork meat prepared with spices in a mortar typical of the region. The festival, which is often taken by visitors as an occasion to spend the weekend away from the cities, also has the local restaurants offering special menus to taste Nonese cuisine – believe it or not, some of which doesn’t use apples at all.