Italy is the culinary capital of Europe. I’m sure the French and Spanish would argue that point but they wouldn’t win. The British and Germans certainly wouldn’t argue. Within Italy there is roughly twenty individual regions and each one has a different outlook on food. A pasta dish cooked in Sardinia will be slightly different to a pasta dish cooked in Lazio and Rome. This is what set Italy apart from other countries, the uniqueness with which they approach their food and cooking.
Emilia-Romagna is the Daddy of Italian food regions, incorporating such cities as Parma, Bologna and Modena it’s not difficult to see why.
But what sets Emilia-Romagna apart from other regions in Italy.
The delicatessen stores and cuisine of Emilia-Romagna offer everything the palate could desire: splendid hams and fresh mortadella, tasty parmesan, an endless variety of homemade pasta served with irresistible sauces, sumptuous meat dishes, tangy game, sweet or savoury cakes and pastries, delicious desserts, light, sweet wines and, not least, the most splendid vinegar in the world, aceto bahamim tradizionale, which is only made by a handful of old-established producers.
One reason for the incredible variety of its cuisine is that the region is made up of two different areas: Emilia, the area between the Po valley and northern Tuscany, and Romagna, the mountainous country with the Adriatic coast to the east. The fertile Emilia contributes pasta, dairy produce, and fine meat, while the sometimes rough and inaccessible Romagna offers aromatic herbs, tangy game, and fish dishes from the coast.
The menu is completed by specialties from the cities. Parma is proud of its ham and culatello, Bologna offers the most exquisite mortadella, the best lasagne, and the most delicious tortellini in the world. Piacenza is the home of tortellini.
Reggio Emilia is famous for its braised meat and erbazzone, Ferrara is the sausage capital, and in Modena they serve the incomparably tasty zampone, or stuffed pig trotters. In Emilia-Romagna they live off good food in two senses. Local specialties end up on their own plates but have also long been produced for export, thus contributing to the wealth of the region.
In the Middle Ages, the rest of the world already held Parma ham and parmesan cheese in high esteem, and no other corner of Italy is so densely packed with small, medium, and large food companies. Although specialties from Emilia-Romagna are now obtainable all over the world, it is best to get to know them on the spot. Over a glass of Lambrusco and a piadina, a traditional dough cake cooked over an open fire, you can have a cosy chat with the Emilians and the Romagtloli about the only disputed subject in the region’s cuisine: which is the tastiest. pork crackling – the rather dry version from Emilia or the fat, juicy one they prefer in Romagna?
My personal favourite from the region has got to be the wonderful balsamico vinegar from Modena, just delicious.
Nothing else can be disputed regarding Emilia-Romagna’s gastronomic heritage, when ever holidaying in Italy beat a path to Emilia-Romagna and be prepared for a culinary treat and don’t worry about that diet.
This is all good wholesome food.