Borgo San Dalmazzo – The Fiera Fredda Turns 450!

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It was December 18th, 1569, when Dalmasso Fenoglio and Biagio Pasquerio inaugurated the first fair in honor of the patron saint of Borgo San Dalmazzo. The two mayors, having obtained the concession from Emanuele Filiberto scheduled the date of the event on December 5th and its duration to three days.

of Nadia Toppino

La Fiera delle lumache a San Dalmazzo dal 4 al’8 dicembre

Since that moment this event has been renewed every year, for 450 times, and it has always represented an important meeting point for all the inhabitants of the valleys, who converged on our town to get the last supplies before the long winter period during which , due to the often unfavorable weather conditions, travelling was difficult.

The last edition ended with almost 25 thousand visitors and 500 kg of snails served.

And it is precisely the snail, tasty and refined, the undisputed queen of the Fiera Fredda of Borgo San Dalmazzo that this year reaches the goal of the 4 and a half centuries.

Going back to the dawn of this event, the inhabitants of Borgo for the fair used to go to the local taverns to taste the classic dishes of this event: the tripe soup, the snails cooked in various ways and the cotechino with sauerkraut. This has led to the development of a strong gastronomic tradition; the town in fact has become an important centre for many visitors and gourmets, who flock to the city during the Fiera Fredda period.

The Helix Pomatia Alpina has become a typical dish of the event.

Moreover, this white-fleshed snail has made  of the Maritime Alps its natural habitat. According to the most ancient tradition, the snails were served simply boiled in their own shells, from which they were extracted with the characteristic nail to shoe the horses (also used today) and dipped in spicy sauce based on oil, salt, pepper and garlic , called “cartuné sauce”.

The “cartun” was a cart covered with a cloth supported by four wooden ribs, pulled by the mule: it was the mobile home of the shepherd of the valleys of Borgo, called the “cartuné”.This sauce took its name from the men, “cartuné”, who passed through Borgo and reached France and that were the main visitors of the local taverns. As an alternative to the “cartunera” the boiled snails could also be accompanied by “ajé” (or “aiolì”), a mayonnaise with garlic finely crushed in a mortar with a vaguely Provençal flavour.

From 1970s, wanting to give greater impetus to helicic gastronomy, local restaurateurs have been engaged in the search for new recipes, both by drawing on recipe books from across the Alps, and by giving free rein to their imagination in order to be able to offer complete menus to snail base. Boiled snails (strictly in boiling water with salt and flavorings) can then be treated in various ways, to finish cooking with different flavors and seasonings suitable to enhance the flavor. From 2018, for example, you can taste the Snail alla Borgarina, a hazelnut variation of the historical Parisian recipe based on garlic and parsley.

Over the years, the Fair has become the ideal gastronomic event to enhance the queen of the event: the snail.

During the days of the fair, gastronomy enthusiasts, professionals, gourmands and the curious can meet the best growers, taste the best recipes prepared by the chefs who know how to combine tradition and novelty in dishes dedicated to the snail and many other specialties and typical products of the valleys and beyond.

Orazio Puleio, president of the Borgo San Dalmazzo Fair Organisation said:

“We invite all the population to visit us at Palazzo Bertello to discover the 450th Fiera Fredda – said Orazio Puleio, president of the Ente Fiera Fredda della Lumaca di Borgo San Dalmazzo -. “Organising it is an effort that we do with great pleasure because it allows us to ideally embrace the many aficionados of this event so rich in tradition”.

L’Helix Pomatia Lumana

Several areas of interest involve exhibitors and producers, and interest visitors, culinary enthusiasts or curious gastronomes:

  • Expo 1 is the space of Gastronomy and tastings, entirely dedicated to tastings of local products and especially to the combinations of the Snail with the prestigious wines of the Cuneo Province; snail tasting, expertly prepared by various Borgo and Valli Restaurant owners, combined with the typical dishes of the participating Municipalities and Pro Loco.
  • Expo 2 is the typical local products area with typical features of the territory, as well as some Italian and European regions.
  • Expo 3 is the Helix Pomatia Alpina area, a space dedicated to the Chiocciola of Borgo San Dalmazzo, with the collaboration of the Chiocciola Consortium of Borgo e Valli, Associazione Helias, Helicensis Fabula, Protected Area of ​​the Maritime Alps and Confartigianato.
  • The outdoor area offers a wide selection of merchandise with exhibitors and industrial, artisan and agricultural companies.

Simultaneously with the Fiera Fredda, also this year “Under the sign of the snail” returns, the gastronomic review in collaboration with the Association of Hotel Operators Operators in the province of Cuneo. It is an initiative that, involving the restaurants of the Borgo San Dalmazzo area and the neighboring valleys, has been very successful in previous editions. Starting from November 15th 2019 you can have typical menus based on snails and, alternatively, menus with typical local products.

The eleven participating restaurants are:

  • Amunse – Borgo San Dalmazzo
  • Hotel Ristorante Pizzeria Le Lanterne – Frazione Beguda
  • Quel Pizzico di Sale – Cervasca
  • Osteria Santino – San Defendente di Cervasca
  • Albergo Ristorante Fungo Reale – Valloriate
  • Albergo Ristorante Tre Colombe – Valloriate
  • Ristorante Ruota 2 – Andonno
  • Antica Trattoria Gabri – Frazione Madonna Bruna
  • Ristorante Real Park – Entracque
  • Ristorante Drago 3 – Borgo San Dalmazzo
  • Hotel Ristorante Ligure – Vinadio

Moreover a special opening evening is scheduled, “Waiting for the 450th Cold Fair” of Borgo San Dalmazzo, on Thursday 7th November, at 8.45 pm at Palazzo Bertello.

The evening, after the institutional greetings, will accompany the public in the atmosphere of the Fair with a leap into the past thanks to the intervention of the historian and writer Walter Cesana; following the Fair programme will be presented to the population, with the rich programme designed to celebrate 450 years. In addition there will be a tasting with a fanciful preview of the new menu of snails that will be found at the Fair, from 4th to 8th December. Finally, space to the music, with the musical intervention of the Civico Istituto Musicale Dalmazzo Rosso.

The programme of the Fair is varied, embraces a wide range of proposals, from good food to music, from the traditional and inevitable traditional market in the streets of Borgo San Dalmazzo, which, on 5th of December, celebrates the Patron Saint, with a dancing night.



Opening of the stands at Palazzo Bertello From 4.30pm to 10.30pm

Opening ceremony of the 450th Fiera Fredda with the Fanfare of the Alpini in Largo Bertello at 4pm

“Treni e ferrovia”  the Railway Station From 15:00 to 19:00, event organised by CUNIFER – Circolo Cuneese Fermodellisti and Feramatori, at the train station of Borgo San Dalmazzo, where it will be possible to visit it with free admission, the exhibition of photographs, historical objects and plastic miniature railway running.

Borgo and the Cold Fair, photo exhibition in the Exhibition Hall From 4pm to 10pm


National Snail Market at Palazzo Bertello From 07:30 am to 12:00

Traditional market in the streets of Borgo From 8.00 am

Opening of the stands at Palazzo Bertello From 09:00 am to 10:30 pm

Cooking Show with Chef Enrico Zanirato Area Confartigianato at Palazzo Bertello at 10:00 am

Awarding ceremony of the snail breeders in the Auditorium at 10:00 a,

Borgo and the Fiera Fredda, photo exhibition in the Exhibition Hall From 10:00 am to 10:30 pm

“Treni e ferrovia” at Railway Station From 10:00 am to 7:00 pm

Eucharistic celebration in the Church of San Dalmazzo at 10:30 am

Veneration of the Saint’s Relics From 11:30 am to 6:00 pm

Art meets Religion at the Abbey Museum From 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm – exhibition of paintings and sculptures by great Masters from the 1500s to the present day (Fontana, Mastroianni and many others) opened from 11/30/2019 to 12/29/2019 and can be visited every Friday-Saturday-Sunday from 3pm to 6pm. Extraordinary opening on December 5th, the day of the Fair. It will be closed on December 25th and 26th.

Prayer of Vespers and reposition of the reliquary at 6.00pm

Sensations, Nomads Cover Band in the Auditorium at 9.00pm

I Roeri, the true Piedmontese Bocciofila smooth at 9.00pm


Opening of the stands at Palazzo Bertello From 5:30 to 10:30 pm

Art meets Religion at the Abbey Museum From 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Borgo and the Cold Fair, photographic exhibition in the Exhibition Hall From 6:00 to 10:00 pm

Trains and railway at the Railway Station From 9:00 to 11:00 pm

Choral concert in the Parish of San Dalmazzo at 8.45pm

Milonga Fria, Tango alla Bocciofila at 9.00pm

Let’s play! (Musical evening of the Istituto Musicale Dalmazzo Rosso.) In the Auditorium at 9.00pm


Consorzio della Chiocciola, conference in the Auditorium at 09.30 am

Opening of the stands at Palazzo Bertello From 10:00 am to 10:30 pm

Borgo and the Fair, photo exhibition in the Exhibition Hall From 10:00am to 10:00 pm

Art meets Religion at the Abbey Museum From 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Trains and railway at the Railway Station From 3:00 to 7:00 pm

“Mezz’ora in Canonica”, comedy show in the Auditorium at 9.00 pm – An eno-gastro-spiritual path that you have in your intent to cheer the people up !, with Father Filip (Filippo Bessone) Father Iork (Azio Citi) and Luca the Chierichetto (Luca Occelli)

I Figli delle Stelle, Bocciofila orchestra 9.00 pm


Opening of the stands at Palazzo Bertello From 10:00 to 22:30

Borgo and the Fair, photo exhibition in the Exhibition Hall From 10:00 am to 10:00 pm

Art meets Religion at the Abbey Museum From 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Julie’s School Dances in  the Auditorium   at 3:00 and  5.30 pm

Trains and railway at the Railway Station From 3:00 to 7:00 pm.

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