The rich soil of the Po Valley produces great amounts of wheat also the animals that graze on the green pastures produce quality veal, pork and ham as well as dairy products, butter, cheese and cream, all of which feature in the cuisine of Emilia-Romagna. The region also has a wonderful reputation for cherries, pears and peaches. This is a gastronomical region which offers a vast array of wonderful foods to be sampled and delighted in, the mainstay of it’s dishes is it’s egg pasta and the many mouthwatering filled pastas. Green pasta made with spinach or chard are also popular in this region. Among the stuffed pastas we must mention tortelli, tortelloni and cappelletti, filled with fine ingredients such as pork, ham,or mortadella flavoured with parmesan, nutmeg, spinach or ricotta cheeses. Bologna is,of course, famous for it’s tomato and meat sauce “ragu’a la Bolognese” served with pasta or made into a classic lasagne, the people of Bologna claim that the lasagne originates from the city, wherever it comes from it certainly tastes the best. Another Bolognese speciality is Piselli alla pancetta. Peas cooked up with pancetta sometimes with pasta thrown in.
Although this is a region which borders the Adriatic sea there is not a heavy influence of fish the main dishes are based around meat, the region is famous for it’s “prosciutto di Parma” which is salted and air-dried then aged in caves, sliced wafer thin on antipasti platters or wrapped around grissini. Pigs have been raised in this area since at least 1,000 BC it is no wonder that there are a wealth of quality pork products which are native to the region. Other meat products include varieties of salamis, pancetta, salame rosa and the wonderful mortadella. Cheeses are also included in the cuisine of the region with Parmigiano Reggiano,”the king of cheeses”, produced in Reggio Emilia, Parma, Modena and Bologna and Grana Padano produced in Piacenza.
Balsamic vinegars”aceto balsamico” are produced exclusively in Modena to the age old traditions that have been used for centuries, in fact for more than 1,000 years, the vinegar is aged in casks for anything from 10-50 years, the price will reflect the age.”Piadina” started out as peasant bread and has now become so popular it is found in kiosk stands being sold as a snack, it is a flat unlevened bread eaten hot and topped with cheese, meats (salame, mortadella, prosciutto, pancetta, bresola ) or vegetables and folded over to eat, it is a famous iconic food of Romagna.
Desserts of this region include “zuppa inglese” a trifle-like dessert and “pampepato” a rich, dark cake popular at Christmas time and containing fruits, nuts, spices, pepper and dark chocolate, also at Christmas fresh chestnuts will feature in many of the regions desserts. Amaretti or amarelle almond-flavoured macaroons, a speciality of Modena. Other delicacies include rich tortes, almond cakes, sweet ravioi and apple cakes, there are wonderful pastas filled with fruits, such as pears, and then drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar, simply delicious.
A list of the most important regional wines should include Sangiovese from Romagna, Lambrusco from Reggio Emilia or Modena, Cagnina di Romagna, Colli Piacentini and Trebbiano from Piacenza.
- Albana di Romagna (Bianco as secco or asciutto, amabile, dolce, passito and passito riserva), produced in the provinces of Bologna, Forlì-Cesena and Ravenna
Colli Bolognesi, produced in the province of Bologna
- Bosco Eliceo produced in the provinces of Ferrara and Ravenna
Cagnina di Romagna produced in the provinces of Forlì and Ravenna
Colli Bolognesi produced in the provinces of Bologna and Modena
Colli Bolognesi Classico Pignoletto produced in the province of Bologna
Colli di Faenza produced in the provinces of Forlì and Ravenna
Colli di Imola produced in the province of Bologna
Colli di Parma produced in the province of Parma
Colli di Rimini produced in the province of Rimini
Colli di Scandiano e di Canossa
Colli Piacentini produced in the province of Piacenza
Colli Romagna Centrale produced in the provinces of Ravenna and Forlì
Gutturnio produced in the province of Piacenza
Lambrusco di Sorbara produced in the province of Modena
Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro produced in the province of Modena
Lambrusco Salamino di Santacroce produced in the province of Modena
Modena produced in the province of Modena
Ortrugo produced in the province of Piacenza
Pagadebit di Romagna produced in the provinces of Ravenna and Forlì
Reggiano produced in the province of Reggio Emilia
Reno produced in the provinces of Bologna and Modena
Romagna Albana Spumante (Bianco Spumante) produced in the provinces of Bologna, Forlì and Ravenna
Sangiovese di Romagna produced in the provinces of Bologna, Forlì and Ravenna
Trebbiano di Romagna produced in the provinces of Bologna, Forlì and Ravenna