If for some strange reason I was forced to eat only five different cuisines for the rest of my life, Italian food would be right at the top of that list. It may be hard to believe, considering I’ve turned into a bit of a foodie. But there was a time during my teenage years where my list of preferred foods consisted of only pizza, lasagna, pasta, ribs and cheesecake.
Basically, 75% of what I liked was Italian food prepared Canadian style. Salad? Forget about it! Rice? Yuck!
Emilia-Romagna Food Guide
It is funny how your taste buds evolve as you get older. These days I couldn’t fathom visiting a country and not diving deep into its local cuisine.
Just a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to revisit Italy for the second time. This time travelling to the region of Emilia-Romagna. I couldn’t help but chuckle at how my teenage self would be dancing on the ceiling with excitement over the anticipation of eating freshly prepared pasta.
Even though my palate has expanded, my excitement for Italian food hasn’t waned a bit.
The Italian food I was having at home was like cardboard compared to what I ate in Italy. Now that I mention it, pasta literally does come out of a cardboard box more often than not when served in Canada.
In Italy, though, it is all about fresh ingredients. Time-tested recipes. And big meals. Shared with friends and family.
Wolfing down your food isn’t an option. Thank heavens for that! We tried hard to find a bad cappuccino. A lackluster plate of pasta. An inferior risotto. We failed. The food is just that good.
Now come join us as we give you an overview of our time in Emilia-Romagna. This includes our travel and dining experiences.
Food Lovers in Italy!
Bologna Old Town at Night
Although we only had half a day in Bologna, the city really left an impression upon me. Our first activity was to visit Torre Prendiparte. Once a defense tower and prison. It was built in the 12th century. Now it’s an B&B. But still full of antiques and palpable history.
As we climbed up the rickety old steps I kept reminding myself that it was worth it for the views. Although I didn’t feel nearly as nervous as when we did the hot air balloon ride in Costa Brava, it still was quite the climb. Upon reaching the top my jaw almost dropped.
Although I’ve visited many impressive cities in terms of architecture and sheer scale, Bologna has one of the most impressive combinations of medieval towers, ancient buildings and impressive churches I’ve ever seen.
After having an aperitivo and dinner we walked around the Old Town. I kept telling Audrey that we’d have to come back and revisit.
Italian Cooking at Casa Artusi
Audrey and I both know we’re good at devouring Italian pasta. But how would we fare trying to make it from scratch? Using the excuse that I’d be the photographer/videographer Audrey was the only one who got her hands sticky in the flour and eggs.
As she was making pasta from scratch with the help of an instructor, I spent some time wandering around Casa Artusi in Forlimpopoli. Pellegrino Artusi, the father of modern Italian cookery penned La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiare bene known as The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well.
If you can believe it not a single publisher was interested in publishing his book at the time. Today it’s a classic in almost every Italian household!
Wine and Vinegar Tours
After lunch we visited the Drei Donà estate. Located in between the towns of Forlì, Castrocaro and Predappio in the ancient Romagna hills. After a tour of the premises we sat down to sample the wine and nibble on a few bites. What often impresses me about vineyards in Europe is that they have so much history. And are typically family run dating back generations.
We also had the opportunity to visit Acetaia Di Giorgio in Modena. This traditional balsamic vinegar producer prepares its products using traditional methods. When it was time to sample some, I couldn’t believe how rich and flavorful it was. I’ve never had balsamic vinegar that even compares to what they produce.
Any kid growing up in the 80’s and 90’s remembers seeing iconic Ferraris in at least one of their favorite flicks. For me, it was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Having a chance to tour the collection of vehicles in the museum really gave me a greater appreciation for the car. Especially, the style, sophistication and pure muscle of these cars. We got to drive one in Las Vegas.
The engines impressed me the most. I enjoyed that the museum showcased both racing and ‘everyday’ cars. The building itself is built like a Ferrari engine. And I think even those with no appreciation or interest in cars would still be impressed by a visit to this museum.
Parmigiano Reggiano Dairy
A visit to Hombre – a Parmigiano Reggiano dairy farm and Panini Private Collection – is a must for anybody stopping in or around Modena. Starting off as just a side-project for Umberto Panini in the 80’s, the Parmigiano-Reggiano farm soon turned into a full-time business.
The storage facility, where they keep the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese while it ages, is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. There are wheels upon wheels of cheese. As far as the eye can see.
We were fortunate enough to sample some. And unlike the kind you find in Canada, this was served thick and tasted infinitely better.
Emilia-Romagna Photo Essay
List Of Foods To Try In Emilia-Romagna
Emilia-Romagna is a food lover’s dream come true! This Italian region is renowned for its gastronomic delights and is home to a vast array of traditional dishes that will tantalize your taste buds like never before.
One of the must-try foods in Emilia-Romagna is tortellini. These small ring-shaped pasta pockets are said to have originated in the city of Bologna and are typically filled with a heavenly mixture of meat, cheese, and vegetables. One bite of these little pillows of heaven, and you’ll be transported to pasta paradise.
And let’s not forget about Prosciutto di Parma, the succulent cured ham made from the hind legs of pigs raised in the hills around Parma. This delicacy is known for its delicate, sweet flavor and is often sliced thinly and served as an antipasto or in sandwiches. You’ll be hooked from the first bite!
Parmigiano-Reggiano, the hard, aged cheese produced in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, and Modena, is another Emilia-Romagna classic that you won’t want to miss. This nutty, salty cheese is often grated over pasta dishes or served as a table cheese and is sure to add a touch of decadence to any meal.
The Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is another staple of Emilia-Romagna’s cuisine that will leave you craving for more. This sweet and sour vinegar made from grape must that has been aged in wooden barrels is a prized condiment that is often used to add depth and complexity to salads, meats, and vegetables.
When it comes to pasta dishes, you simply can’t leave Emilia-Romagna without trying Tagliatelle al ragù. This classic dish made with long, flat noodles and a meat-based sauce made with beef or pork, tomatoes, and red wine, is simmered for hours to develop a rich, complex flavor that will have you licking your plate clean.
And let’s not forget about lasagne, the hearty and comforting dish made with layers of pasta, meat sauce, and bechamel sauce, baked in the oven until bubbly and golden. This dish is a staple of Italian cuisine and is sure to warm your soul and satisfy your hunger.
Mortadella is another must-try Emilia-Romagna specialty that will delight your taste buds. This type of Italian sausage is made from finely ground pork and flavored with garlic, spices, and pistachios. Mortadella is often sliced thin and served as a cold cut, and is a popular ingredient in sandwiches and antipasti platters.
And if you’re looking for something sweet, you simply can’t leave Emilia-Romagna without trying Zuppa Inglese, the layered dessert that is similar to trifle. Made with sponge cake, custard, and fruit, and often flavored with liqueurs such as Alchermes or Amaretto, this sweet and indulgent dessert is the perfect way to cap off a delicious meal.
Hence, Emilia-Romagna is a food lover’s paradise, and these must-try dishes are just the tip of the culinary iceberg. So why not take a trip to this gastronomic wonderland and indulge in the delicious delights that await you!
Accommodations In Emilia-Romagna
Emilia-Romagna, the captivating region located in the northern part of Italy, is a haven for travelers seeking an extraordinary experience. From its vibrant culture and rich history to its world-renowned cuisine, Emilia-Romagna never fails to amaze visitors. And what better way to immerse yourself in this charming region than by staying in one of its exquisite accommodations?
For those who crave the finest things in life, luxury hotels in Emilia-Romagna offer unparalleled indulgence and opulence. These five-star hotels, often situated in stunning historic buildings, boast exceptional amenities such as spas, swimming pools, and gastronomic restaurants that serve some of the most tantalizing culinary creations you will ever taste. The Grand Hotel Majestic in Bologna is a prime example of a luxurious retreat, where guests can bask in lavish surroundings, relish first-class service, and be spellbound by the breathtaking panoramas.
But if you’re yearning for a more authentic experience, an agriturismo in Emilia-Romagna is a remarkable choice. These working farms provide guests with an enchanting glimpse of life in the countryside, while offering them comfortable accommodations and mouthwatering traditional cuisine made from locally sourced ingredients. The Agriturismo Il Cucco in Modena is an exquisite example of agritourism, where guests can delight in rustic charm, strolls in lush gardens, and delicious homemade meals.
For those who value personalized service, bed and breakfasts in Emilia-Romagna are a splendid option. These cozy, family-run establishments offer comfortable lodging, often located in historic buildings, and are famous for their warm hospitality and scrumptious homemade breakfasts. The B&B Casa degli Angeli in Bologna is a superb example of a quaint and charming establishment, where guests can revel in elegant rooms, friendly hosts, and a convenient location near the city’s heart.
For budget-conscious travelers, hostels and guesthouses in Emilia-Romagna are a budget-friendly option. These affordable accommodations provide shared dormitory-style rooms or private rooms with shared bathrooms. Some hostels even have communal kitchens where guests can mingle with fellow travelers and cook their meals. The Ostello San Filippo Neri in Parma is a prime example of a cozy hostel, where guests can enjoy spotless and comfortable rooms, convivial staff, and a convenient location near the train station.
For those seeking an extraordinary experience, glamping in Emilia-Romagna is a rising trend. This luxurious form of camping offers guests the chance to spend the night in a tent or a yurt, often equipped with comfortable beds, heating, and electricity. Many glamping sites also provide guests with first-class amenities such as hot tubs, swimming pools, and gourmet meals. The Glamping Canonici di San Marco in Ravenna is a fantastic example of a glamorous camping experience, where guests can savor magnificent tents, awe-inspiring views of the countryside, and outstanding service.
Emilia-Romagna offers an abundance of accommodation options that cater to a variety of preferences and budgets. Whether you seek lavish indulgence or authentic immersion, Emilia-Romagna’s accommodations will leave you enchanted and rejuvenated. So why not book your stay today and savor the magic of this charming region?
Well that is wrap from Emilia-Romagna! Have you visited this beautiful region of Italy before? What food or travel related activity would you most enjoy trying from our itinerary? Do you have a favorite Italian food? Please let me know in the comments section below:
This post was brought to you as a result of the #EuroFoodTrip campaign, created and managed by iambassador in partnership with Costa Brava & Girona Pyrenees and Emilia Romagna Tourism. As always, all thoughts remain my own.