A Foodie's Guide to Emilia Romagna, Italy
Italy is known for its delicious food. But there's one particular region that, even amongst locals, is known as the king of Italian cuisine: Emilia Romagna. Home to an incredible array of dishes and products, it can be tricky to know where to begin...
Here we offer a bit of advice:
Bologna is an obvious choice as the region’s capital, with an international airport. This is the city to eat tagliatelle alla ragu, the rich meat sauce and delicious pasta dish that inspired spaghetti Bolognese. Alternatively, enjoy a delicious lasagne. Whilst here, climb the Asinelli Tower, Italy’s largest leaning tower, for great views of the city.
Travel north to Ferrara – City of the Renaissance, a UNESCO World Heritage site. After visiting the diamond-walled Palazzo dei Diamanti, stop for a Pasticcio di maccheroni (a macaroni pie) for lunch from Ferrara Store.
Balsamic vinegar & wine
From Ferrara, travel through the countryside towards Modena. Stop at an acetaia (a balsamic producer) to sample some of the famous Modena Balsamic Vinegar DOP. Acetaia Paltrinieri has a fantastic restaurant which features a variety of dishes created with balsamic vinegar, so stop here for lunch or dinner.
Then taste some of the region's delicious wines – Lambrusco and Pignoletto – at one of the many wineries, such as Garuti Vini’s agriturismo, where you can also spend the night.
In the morning continue your journey into the gorgeous city of Modena, birthplace of Pavarotti and home to the the world's best restaurant – Osteria Francescana (make sure you book well in advance)!
Pay a visit to the UNESCO-listed Cathedral and Grand Piazza, as well as the market for a food overload! If you’re still hungry, have lunch or dinner (or both) at one of Modena’s excellent trattoria’s – a recommended local dish is tortellini in brodo (tortellini in broth).
Take the ancient roman road, the Via Emilia and continue onto the town of Reggio Emilia. This lovely leafy town is considered to be the birthplace of the Italian trilcolour flag! Whilst here, make sure you try erbazzone. Two layers of crumbly savoury pastry filled with chard, spinach, onions, cured pig’s fat, garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs and Parmigiano Reggiano. Perfect for an afternoon snack!
After enjoying a stroll in Reggio, drive into the countryside to spend the night at an agriturismo. This is a working farm/producer that also offers accommodation. Agriturismo Barbaterre, in the countryside just outside Reggio Emilia, makes its own wine, honey, olive oil and wine vinegar. It also offers cooking classes so you can learn how to make some of the region's typical pasta, such as tortelli, tagliatelle and maltagliati. And the best part is that you get to eat it all afterwards!
Spend the night at Agriturismo Barbaterre and wake up to beautiful views of the countryside.
Wake up early and drive to a Parmigiano Reggiano factory! One of Italy’s most famous cheeses – and deservedly so. Awarded the prestigious DOP status, true Parmigiano Reggiano can only be produced within the provinces of Modena, Parma and Reggio Emilia (and parts of Bologna and Mantova), under traditional production methods. This is strictly regulated by the Parmigiano Reggiano consortium.
Fattoria Scalabrini is a 15-minute drive from Agriturismo Barbaterre and offers tours if you speak to your Flight Centre Travel Expert and arrange in advance.
Continue on to the historic city of Parma, the home of Prosciutto di Parma Prosciutto – another famous DOP product. This delicate cured ham is best enjoyed with a glass of wine. Enoteca Fontana is a great bar for an aperitvo in the city, and be sure not to miss Piazza del Duomo and Piazza del Garibaldi.