Last week I was writing about slow travel and about travelling back to the roots. In the Italian region Emilia Romagna there are plenty of possibilities to travel back to the roots, to travel to the places where excellent food is coming from.... and so much more.
Enjoying the summer and the sun at the beaches of Emilia Romagna in Milano Marittima, Cesenatico, Rimini, Riccione or Cattolica is great.... but let us talk about what else this amazingly beautiful region has to offer, especially in times of slowing down :).
- Prosciutto di Parma
When it comes to prosciutto (ham) in Italy, you basically distinguish between the two kinds: the redish prosciutto crudo (raw ham) and the rose prosciutto cotto (cooked ham). When talking about the Prosciutto di Parma, we are talking about the Prosciutto crudo having its origin in the region of Parma in the North-West of Bologna.
The natural and air-dried ham is very tender in its consistency and is usually kept on the bone until it is served. I am sure, all of you know the impressive prosciutto cutting machines that cut very tender and thin slices. Prosciutto di Parma is best and usually served with melons as a starter.
But how does this ham get so special? First of all, this Prosciutto di Parma may be produced only in 10 defined regions in Northern and Mid-Italy. The pigs have to be older than nine months and a minimum weight of 144 kg. The pork clubs of around 15kg are treated with sea salt - but not too much as this is the secret of its mild taste. With the help of the salt the pork clubs lose water and weight. At last, the pork clubs stay for at least one year in a hall with a special air-circulation system (the open windows are opposite to each other) to air-dry. Before that they are freed from the salt and the meat-part is treated with a mixture of dripping and salt to not get to dry.
After this whole process the ham is tested by a certified commission and gets the quality seal - the crown of Parma.
Photo credits: APT Emilia Romagna
- Parmigiano Reggiano
To produce only one kg of this super-typical Italian cheese you need 13.5l milk. One block of parmesan cheese has an average weight of 39,90 kg and hence approx. 520 liters of milk are used to produce only one single block. That is something, right?! :)
As the Prosciutto di Parma, also the Parmigiano Reggiano can only be produced in defined regions and provinces in Northern Italy: Parma, Reggio Emilia, Bologna, Modena and Mantova. The processing of the cheese starts only two hours after having milked the cows and lasts for about two weeks before the parmesan loafs are stored for the further riping process which again takes at least one year.
The Parmigiano Reggiano can only be produced from a raw, untreated milk from cows that have not been fed with silage.
- Aceto balsamico di Modena
A salad without the right dressing is not complete. My salads mostly get topped with very natural ingredients: the extra virgin olive oil and the Italian brownish vinegar Aceto balsamico. Together as a team they are unbeatable :).
The very intensly flavoured and dark Italian aceto balsamico is produced in the two provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia. The Aceto balsamico di Modena is the classic, less expensive vinegar being a blend grape must and wine vinegar.
When having a closer look onto the different labels of the vinegar bottles, you might recognize that there are two more types of aceto balsamico which are even protected in the European Union. They are more expensive than the Aceto Balsamico di Modena and are made of reduced grape must aged for several years - not less than 12 years and up to even 25 years! - in wooden barrels that are getting smaller in size over the time it is aging. The barrels may be out of different wood like chestnut, cherry, oak or juniper. I am talking about the Traditional Aceto Balsamico di Modena being produced in Modena only and the Traditional Aceto Balsamco di Reggio Emilia being produced in Reggio Emilia only. The two traditional aceto balsamico are produced in a very identical way, only that they have a different colour system when it comes to labelling their vinegar according to their agings. So, the small word 'traditional' makes all the difference - in the production and in the price.
Photo credits: APT Emilia Romagna
- Sugo Bolognese
When I was a small child, I loved spaghetti bolognese. The more meat sauce was topping my noodles, the better! Growing up then, and during my year I spent as an aupair-girl in Italy I learned that there are sooo many more pasta types than just spaghetti and that there are soooo many different sauces to top those different pasta dishes. I got a book with the 100! best pasta sauces and yes, I tried most of them :). But, back to the one I know already for my whole lifetime, the bolognese sauce. Did it ever come to your mind, that this amazing sauce made out of minced meat, mashed tomatoes, onions, herbs and spices got its name from the capital of the region Emilia Romagna - Bologna?! Bologna is always worth a visit, not only to taste the very original and amazing Bolognese sauce, but to stroll through this vibrant university city with more than 40!km of arcades. So, no matter if you need shelter from the sun rays or from heavy rain.... it is ALWAYS a good idea to go for a walk in Bologna.
- Eataly - a whole food park
Italy is the food eldorado. As we have learnt just now, the region Emilia Romagna is an eldorado for Italian delicacies as well. So, just outside of Bologna there is a whole 'amusement' park for food lovers dedicated to the Italian food only. Buy the best Italian ingredients to prepare original Italian food at your home. But do not forget to come back to Italy soon! :)
If you feel like eating something Italian now! Perfect! Go ahead and dream yourself to this food eldorado. When you are done do not miss the chance to register for our webinar series to get professional sales tips about our summer destinations. 20 minutes per destination. Together stronger. Now.