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RESTAURANT

Italy has world’s third-best restaurant

For the second year running, Massimo Bottura's restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena, northern Italy, has won third place on a list of the world's 50 best restaurants.

Italy has world's third-best restaurant
Massimo Bottura is praised for his ability to “balance the demands of heritage and modernity”. Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP

Modena-based Osteria Francescana has once again clinched a top spot in the annual awards for the world’s 50 best restaurants.

The restaurant lost out only to Renè Redzepi’s Copenhagen-based Noma which reclaimed the number one slot and Spain’s El Celler de Can Roca which came in second.

Last year the four-time Danish winner lost out to the Spanish eatery, breaking its winning streak which it continued between 2010 and 2012.

First opened in 1995, Bottura’s Osteria Francescana was awarded its first Michelin star in 2002, a second four years later, and a third in 2011. Bottura also won the Chef’s Choice award in 2011.

In a review on the website for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Bottura is praised for his ability to “balance the demands of heritage and modernity” by creating a “restaurant where traditionalists and those seeking something entirely new are both amply catered for.”

According to the website, Bottura’s menu can be split into three categories: traditional, regional dishes that have “little or no edgy elements”, as well as modern classics and newly developed dishes.

“Anyone sampling Osteria Francescana for the first time would be advised to try one in each category to get a true sense of the team’s extraordinary range,” it says on the website.

Highlights on the menu include five ages of Parmesan and foie gras crunch, described as “a take on a Feast ice cream with a hunk of foie gras bound in hazelnuts and filled with balsamic vinegar”, and ‘camouflage’ – “a thin layer of foie gras decorated with powders (hare blood, chestnut and various herbs)”.

Bottura wasn’t the only Italian to clinch a spot in the top 50. Enrico Crippa’s Piazza Duomo di Alba in Cuneo made it into 39th place and the Alajmo brothers’ La Calandre in Padova was ranked 46th.

Organized by the British magazine ‘Restaurant Magazine’ in collaboration with San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, the awards showcase the 50 best restaurants which are selected by over 900 international jurors.

The world's top ten restaurants according to British magazine Restaurant:

1) Noma – Denmark
2) El Celler de Can Roca – Spain
3) Osteria Francescana – Italy
4) Eleven Madison Park – United States
5) Dinner – United Kingdom
6) Mugaritz – Spain
7) D.O.M. – Brazil
8) Arzak – Spain
9) Alinea – United States
10) The Ledbury – United Kingdom

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FOOD & DRINK

Sagra: The best Italian food festivals to visit in October

If you're visiting Italy in autumn, don't miss the many local food and drinks fairs held around the country. Here are some to visit this October.

Sagra: The best Italian food festivals to visit in October

One of the best things about visiting Italy in the autumn is having the opportunity to attend a sagra, a type of harvest festival or fair centred around one particular food or drink item local to the town hosting it.

sagra has a fairly broad definition: it could last for several weeks or one day, and might consist of anything from a raucous celebration with music and dancing to a lone food stall with a few wooden benches. It will usually be hosted in a field or a piazza, and entry is free.

READ ALSO: Seven reasons autumn is the best time to visit Italy

What all sagre have in common is the focus on eating and drinking fresh local produce, and the assurance that you won’t leave unsated.

Now, the good news is that October is by far the month with the most sagre, with a wealth of events taking place throughout the country that are worth seeking out if you’re in the area. So, here are some of the best sagre happening across Italy this month.

Campania 

Sagra della Castagna (chestnut festival), 7th-16th October in Calvanico, Salerno.  

Festa della Mela Annurca (‘annurca‘ apple festival), 28th-29th October in Valle di Maddaloni, Caserta.

Sagra del Cinghiale (boar festival), every Friday of the month in Dugenta, Benevento.

Emilia Romagna

Sagra della Salamina da Sugo (salami festival), 5th-9th October in Poggio Renatico, Ferrara.

Sagra del Vino Romagnolo (Romagna’s wine festival), 6th-9th October in Cotignola, Ravenna.

Sagra del Tartufo (truffle festival), 7th-9th October in Bondeno, Ferrara.

Sagra dell’Anguilla (eel festival), first three weekends of the month in Comacchio, Ferrara.

Lazio

Sagra dell’Uva Cesanese del Piglio (‘Cesanese‘ grapes festival), 30th September-2nd October in Piglio, Frosinone.

Enorvinio (wine festival), 2nd October in Orvinio, Rieti.

Castelli di Cioccolato (chocolate castles festival), 7th-9th October, Marino, Rome.

Sagra delle Tacchie ai Funghi Porcini (‘tacchie‘ pasta and porcini mushroom festival), first two weekends of the month in Bellegra, Rome.

A street seller prepares roasted chestnuts in Rome.

Roasted chestnuts are a staple of Italy’s October ‘sagre’. Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

Lombardy

Castagnata a Caglio (chestnut festival), 2nd-9th October in Caglio, Como.

Festival della Mostarda (mustard festival), 15th October-30th November in Cremona.

Fasulin de l’Oc con le Cudeghe (beans and pork rind festival), 29th-31st October in Pizzighettone, Cremona.

Sicily

Sagra delle Pesche (peach festival), 1st-2nd October in Leonforte, Enna.

Festa della Nocciola (hazelnut festival), 5th-6th October in Novara di Sicilia, Messina.

Funghi Fest (Mushroom festival), 21st-23rd October in Castelbuono, Palermo.

Piedmont

Sagra della Castagna (chestnut festival), 2nd October in Mathi, Turin.

Sagra del Ciapinabò (Jerusalem artichoke festival), 8th-9th October in Carignano, Turin.

Cioccolato nel Monferrato (chocolate festival), 16th October in Altavilla Monferrato, Alessandria.

Chocolate fair in Milan, Italy.

A number of chocolate festivals take place up and down the boot in October. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Tuscany

Sagra del Fungo Amiatino (‘amiatino‘ mushroom festival), 7th-9th, 15th-16th October in Bagnolo, Grosseto.

Sagra delle Frugiate (roasted chestnuts festivals), 9th and 16th October in Pescia, Pistoia.

Boccaccesca (local food festival), 14th-16th October in Certaldo, Florence.

Sagra del Tordo (local food festival), 29th-30th October in Montalcino, Siena.

Puglia

Sagra del Calzone (calzone festival), 14th-16th October in Acquaviva delle Fonti, Bari.

Veneto

Festa del Baccalà (cod festival), 30th September-2nd October and 7th-9th October in Montegalda, Vicenza.

Festa delle Giuggiole (jujubes festival), 2nd and 9th October in Arquà Petrarca, Padua.

Mele a Mel (apple festival), 7th-9th October in Mel, Belluno.

Festa della Patata (potato festival), all Sundays of the month in Tonezza del Cimone, Vicenza.

Umbria

Primi d’Italia (national first courses festival), 29th September-2nd October in Foligno.

Sagra del Sedano Nero e della Salsiccia (black celery and sausage festival), 15th-16th October in Trevi, Perugia.

This list is not exhaustive. Did we miss out your favourite October sagra? Leave a comment below to let us know.

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