Emilia-Romagna cuisine is considered among the best in Italy; their food and flavors are not only famous throughout Italy, but have spread internationally. The region sits in the southeast corner of the Po Valley leading to the Adriatic Sea. Bologna is the hub and most culinarians say that it is the beating heart of Italy’s outstanding food scene. Within a stone’s throw, you have Parma for Parmigiano Reggiano and thousands of aromatic hams, Modena for Balsamic and Massimo Bottura, Cesena for Bartolaccio, and Rimini for seafood like blue fish, Goro clams and Cervia mussels.
Bologna is known as La Grassa literally, “Fat One” due to its abundance and variety, you really don’t even have to leave the city to add ten pounds. It would be close to impossible to get a bad meal here with institutions like Tamburini, Drogheria della Rosa, La Proscuitteria and CIBO. Plus Eataly Bologna Ambasciatori, the two story emporium with restaurants, bakery, bookshop, wine cellar, wine bars, cooking classes, and every fresh product of Italy, basically you can live here, but you can’t sleep here.
Foods here like Piadina Romagnola, originating in Rimini, Gnocco fritto, Crescentine, slices from a Mortadella the size of a watermelon on a crostini; all just for the aperitif starters. Then to pasta Tortelli, Tortellini, Cappelletti and ribbons of tagliatelle for their Bolognese ragù. Here the dark Mora Romagnolo pig (one of six autochthonous pig breeds recognized by Italy) is King.
One of the most successful exports is the piadina simply made of wheat flour, sea salt and olive oil cooked on an earthenware dish called teglia. Piadina crudo bufala e rucola, piadina alla coppa, pesto and squacquerone, or alle grigliate each one delicious and warm with the freshest ingredients. Interestingly, they become thicker the further north you go, Rimini the thinnest, 30 minutes to Cesena they are medium, and while another 30 minutes further north towards Ravenna, they get thicker, but no less delicious. There is another staple “street food” to get to know, crescentine also known as tigella are small leavened buns. Their name comes from the earthenware mold that leaves a mark – which was once used to bake them, named tigella. Tigellas are served with sliced meats and cheeses, but it is typical to fill them with cunza, a “mountain pesto” of creamy lard, parmesan, rosemary garlic made in a spread like rillettes.
All of these flavors came together for me at a sensational meal at a non-descript countryside Agritourismo Prodotti tipici restaurant – La Casina (pictured above). A huge platter of the local meats, cheeses, crostini, and piadina arrives as the antipasti and then huge bowls of cappelletti timo e prosciutto. The meal should have stopped there, but a tray of juicy mixed grilled meats came to the table. The whole time Vini Romagna was poured. Even though there was no room, both panna cotta and tiramisu was served. Before rolling us out the waiter brought the house made aniseed liquor as a digestive! HELP! You won’t be able to eat again for days. If you are in the area, don’t miss this opportunity for a truly authentic meal with the parking lot filled with local tags.
Agriturismo La Casina Viale Dei Lombardi 66, 48125 Savio di Ravenna,