Excellence on the table:
Parma, Piacenza and Reggio
Western Emilia? It’s a magical region, rich in “top class” food which is envy of the world! So let’s go and see who makes it and the way they do, let’s taste these wonderful products right on the spot, where they have been made with love, skill and knowledge for centuries. You know for sure some of them, but there are so many! Coppa Piacentina and Salame di Felino, Parma Ham, Parmigiano Reggiano and Culatello di Zibello, just to mention some of them: it is a “parterre de rois” of Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indications (PGI).
But… have you already tasted Parmigiano Reggiano with a few drops of the precious PDO Traditional Balsamic Vinegar which is also produced in Reggio Emilia, not just in Modena? And did you know that the only PGI Porcini mushrooms in Europe are picked up in the mountains of Parma? And that a quality black truffle (Tuber Uncinatum or Autumn Truffle) is collected in our hills? We can go and discover them together! And then there are the splendid vineyards, which produce wines of ancient tradition, perfect for Emilian cuisine: Gutturnio, Barbera, Bonarda, the aromatic Malvasia, the local varieties of Lambrusco, and some international grape varieties now included in tha local ones, such as Sauvignon and Chardonnay – and many others. A delightful experience!
Excellence on the table:
Modena and Bologna
Zampone, Cotechino and PGI Balsamic Vinegar, PDO Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, but also excellent fruit and many different varieties of DOC Lambrusco: here are the greatest food & wine trophies of Modena, whose prominent role in gastronomy is now world famous thanks to the genial chef Massimo Bottura. And here’s Bologna as well, with its popular PGI Mortadella and its fabulous deli shops. But in both cities the hand-made egg pasta dominate the gourmet scene in numberless types and formats: tortellini, ravioli, lasagna, tagliatelle and many others, with the tastiest condiments, such as the incomparable ragù. The list is very long!
By the way, what if we try to learn some secrets from those who can make pasta really well? I have connections… Contact me to learn more! And remember that Emilia as a whole is a land of good fresh pasta and … warm good company for cold cuts (and even more): gnocco fritto, torta fritta, crescentina, many different names for the same “bread substitute”, a fragrant and very tasty fried dough. Are you looking for a non-fried alternative? Well, we’ve got it! Tigelle and piadine are the favourite and best known “street food” throughout the region. PGI Piadina romagnola, in particular, is a matter of pride for the Adriatic Riviera and Romagna in general!
Small producers, great quality
Before Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano became the most famous aged cheeses in the world, a lot of good sheep (and goat) cheese was produced in Emilia. But even today, a growing number of small producers carry on this ancient tradition in the hills and mountains, focusing on quality, taking care of animals well-being and environmental sustainability. So you can find a number of farmers (many of them are women!) growing organic food, medicinal herbs, textile fibers, dedicating themselves to non-intensive farming of ancient breeds, replanting local varieties of olive trees. A whole world in growth, in the name of sustainability and the recovery of ancient Culture-and-Cultivation standards. I think they are to be rewarded and I can take you to meet them, to taste their products, their enthusiasm … and their stories!
Food museums in Parma’s land:
Here is the Food Valley!
In the land of Parma we currently have eight Food Museums, dedicated to Parmigiano Reggiano, Parma Ham (and local cold cuts in general), Salame di Felino, Culatello di Zibello, Wine, Pasta, Tomato, Porcini mushrooms of Borgotaro (plus the Orsi Coppini Olive Oil Making Art Museum, an interesting company museum). A real record! Located both in the plain and along the Parma land valleys, they are a golden opportunity to learn more about the products that make our area so famous. Do you want to visit them with me? You’ll not regret it! Food and wine are worth being considered fully-fledged Culture, and it’s a pleasure to tell you more about them: there are so many curiosities and amazing infos! And remember: the chance for a tasting is always around the corner.
The Art of taste and
the Taste for art:
Typical products and artistic sites
Here is one of your guide’s favourite “magic formulas”: Food and Art! You can visit a producer, a farm, a good winery, a food museum, a botanical garden, tasting their products on the spot, and you can also visit a village, a historic city center, a charming castle, getting tailor made solutions for your travel (including e-bikes rental!), and of course take a relaxed lunch break in one of the many farms, agritourisms, trattorias and restaurants we can find on the way. This fantastic region gives us numberless possibilities. Contact me, I can give you many useful inspirations and tips to build up your own special tour!