What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Italy?
Ok I’ll admit that’s also the first thing that usually comes to my mind in any country we visit…
But Italy is different. Just the sheer thought of eating locally made pasta, freshly cooked pizza. The light, fluffy gelato. It’s enough to get anyone drooling. But we are going to take it to the next level. That’s right, we have photographic evidence of just how amazing the food is in Emilia Romagna.
It’s all here in one delicious post…
Let’s start with a little background into the area of Emilia Romagna.
Emilia Romagna is situated in Northern Italy and is one of the wealthiest regions of Europe. It’s home to not only tasty food but tasty cars. Yes, this is the land of the big boys in the car world. Ferrari, Maserati, and Lamborghini. If two wheels is more your thing, they also have Ducati.
It is an area of Education, with its capital Bologna having the oldest continuously running university in the world, dating back to 1088. Bologna itself has previously been named as the number one city for quality of life in Italy – and I’m pretty sure that the food has something to do with it.
“Emilia Romagna is the belly button of Italy” – Nicholas Montemaggi (Digital PR for Emilia Romagna Tourism)
What to Eat around Emilia Romagna
One thing to know before you visit Emilia Romagna: Never call this dish spaghetti bolognese. You will have some cranky Italians on your hands. This dish is the pride and joy of the area, especially Bologna. Prices vary depending on the restaurant, but you can find this tasty meal for as little as 6 Euros ($7.50 USD).
This cheese is so famous, that any cheese of this style, not made in the area of Parma is actually not allowed by law to be named Parmigiano Reggiano or Parmesan cheese. An entire wheel of this cheese sells for around 500 euros ($620 USD). But you would seriously have to love this cheese to buy that much. If my backpack was bigger…
Tortellini – ricotta e spinaci
Emilia Romagna is known as the capital of filled pasta – and it does not disappoint. Also known as cappelletti or ravioli, the spinach and ricotta filled parcels are a favourite. This particular plate actually came with 3 varieties. The spinach and ricotta, one known locally as “zucca” which was stuffed with pumpkin, and another with potato and lemon. All three were delicious. About 9 Euros for this massive, filling plate.
Tortellini en brodo – part 2
With tortellini being such a popular and famous food of this region, it’s not surprising that you can have it served in a few different ways. This tortellini is in the shape of tiny knots that is said to be inspired by Venus’ navel. It’s often served in a beef broth, seriously the memory of this dish is making me drool.
Culatello ham is a meat eater’s dream come true. It’s considered to be the Rolls Royce of prosciutto in Italy. Due to the unique micro climate around Parma, this particular meat is so delicious thanks to mold. That may sound weird but it’s true. The only ingredients used in making this cured ham are salt, pepper, garlic, and wine. Then it is wrapped in a pig’s bladder and hung till it’s awesome and tasty. We loved it so much we wrote an entire article about it!
You may have had balsamic vinegar on your salads, but did you know that it originated in Modena in Emilia Romagna? In fact, they have been making balsamic in their attics for nearly a thousand years, and it’s not like any balsamic you’ve ever tasted. The two balsamic vinegars pictured are aged 25 and 12 years respectively and are generally not served on salads, but drizzled on Parmigiano Reggiano or even gelato. They are thick, not like the stuff you get in the supermarket, and have an almost sweet and sour taste along with many subtle tones.
Prosciutto di Parma – Parma Ham
One of Tommo’s personal favourites. This cured ham is world famous. When we were in Italy in September there was actually a Parma Ham Festival. All of the factories opened their doors and showed everyone the process of making this mouth-watering, tasty, flavoursome, delectable, meat.
As you can see below – Tommo was just a little excited… That’s one happy meat eater!
Many of the foods we’ve shown you today are ONLY found in the Emilia Romagna region. Foreigners may have tried to do their own version, but absolutely nothing can beat the original.
What’s your favourite Italian food? Let us know in the comments.
Note: We received a free tasting tour for the culatello ham, but as always, our opinions are our own. We are not sponsored to endorse any of the other products in this article, we just think they’re awesome.