I received an intriguing invitation. Attire: all white. Location: a mystery only to be revealed by text message during the event. What: a culinary adventure as the charming town of Ferrara turned in to an open air pop-up restaurant for one night only for the annual Street Dinner event. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but it sounded like a fantastic way to spend a Saturday night. I rummaged through my closet for an all white outfit and RSVP’d yes.
On the evening of the Street Dinner people in their all white outfits started gathering in front of Ferrara’s Duomo just before 6:30pm. Suddenly all around us the little dings of text messages started coming in. This was it! We had our first location and we knew a Spritz Aperol awaited.
Glasses filled with the distinctly bright orange drink that can only be Spritz Aperol indicated we were in the right place. We were among some of the very first to arrive; we don’t dawdle when drinks are calling our name. Arriving first also gave a prime spot for people watching.
Some were dressed in elegant white dresses and suits; others took the opportunity to put together a fun costume you can only wear to an event with hidden locations around a city. I spotted fascinators with so many feathers you’d have thought you were at a British wedding, flapper dresses and strings of pearls straight out of a 1920s speakeasy, and patent leather go-go boots made for walking right back to the Flower Power era.
Before too long I could feel my iPhone vibrate with a clue for the next location. A bit of the mystery wears off because you can just follow the crowd, but it’s still like blindly following the leader to who knows where. It turned out to be a beautiful palazzo and tables with appetizers were set up buffet style in the palazzo’s courtyard.
In true Italian fashion, there was enough food from the buffet to be a meal itself. Cheeses, meats and other specialties from the Emilia Romagna region filled the tables and our plates as we ate and drank under the stars.
It was a good thing that the final location was a bit of a walk. We needed to walk off the chunks of Parmigiano-Reggiano and piadina we’d just had at the palazzo to make room for the four course dinner.
Street Dinner goers pick up a their table, chairs and a bag with all the fixings for dinner in it. Volunteers were nearby to help up set up our table and chairs and we began unpacking our dinner.
I was actually quite surprised at what a gourmet feast the event coordinators could package into those little Japanese-style stacking lunch boxes. We had selected the meat menu and our boxes contained a beef carpaccio with salad, a black risotto with Feta cheese and tomatoes, chicken that is stuffed with vegetables and rolled into a roast and then sliced, and finished off with a tart with whipped cream. The bag also had a bottle of a white wine from Emilia Romagna, water, and a special type of bread made in Ferrara.
Dinner under the porticos soon turned in to a dance party under the porticos. A DJ was spinning tunes on at a little booth that had been set up for the event and the changing rainbow of colored lights that had set the mood for dinner now served as a disco ball. Italians would dance the night away until the wine ran out and the music stopped.
A local artist sat painting to immortalize the 2015 Street Dinner forever on a canvas. It was a really fun event that is perfect for a date night out if you’re in the Emilia Romagna region. I can’t wait to see what next year’s edition holds.
Know Before You Go
We were guests of Link Tours for the Street Dinner in order to bring you this story. However, Luxe Adventure Traveler maintains full editorial control of the content published on this site. As always, all thoughts, opinions, and enthusiasm for travel are entirely our own.