Must-Try Foods of Emilia Romagna
Nestled between Italy’s Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea, just south of the Veneto and Lombardy, sits Emilia-Romagna. This region has it all, from sun-soaked beaches on the Adriatic coast to Medieval cities and more. Besides being home to Ferrari, Maserati, and Lamborghini, the world’s hottest sports cars, Emilia-Romagna also boasts Ducati motorbikes and collections of vintage cars. So, it’s easy to see why the region is known as the motor valley. In addition to sports cars and motorbikes, this bountiful region is also responsible for Italy’s greatest culinary hits. Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, Aceto Balsmico Tradizionale di Modena, tagliatelle alla Bolognese, and lasagne all originated here. When it comes to the best food of Emilia-Romagna, there is so much more to discover beyond the world-famous dishes.
Geography Leads to Bountiful Cuisine
Emilia-Romagna boasts over 200 food products, a wealth of which are protected with PDO and PGI status guaranteeing quality and authenticity. The region is known as Italy’s Food Valley, thanks to its thriving culinary traditions. Geography largely influences this rich food culture, as the Po River runs through Emilia-Romagna, forming the Pianura Padana Valley. Today, these former marshlands are fertile soils ideal for cultivating a variety of crops and raising livestock. Approaching the Adriatic Sea, the river turns into the Po Delta, where both water sources provide fresh seafood for the region. Join Cellar Tours on a food connoisseur pilgrimage to the Emilia Romagna region, discover the tastes and flavors of this extraordinary region on a Bologna-based Food & Wine Tour.
Typical Ingredients in Emilia-Romagna
The cuisine in Emilia-Romagna relies heavily on meats, cheeses, and a plethora of pasta dishes. As in Piedmontese cuisine, chestnuts and truffles are popular in Emilia-Romagna, too. Though each region’s cuisines as a whole are drastically different. Fresh, seasonal produce is a dietary staple, while many fruits and vegetables are protected by PDO or PGI designations. Here are a few worth seeking out:
- Chestnuts – Marroni di Castel del Rio PGI
- Mushrooms from Parma – Funghi di Borgotaro PGI
- Pears – Pera dell’Emilia-Romagna PGI
- Asparagus – Asparago Verde di Altedo PGI
- Sour cherries – Amarene Brusche di Modena PGI
- Cherries – Ciliegia di Vignola PGI
- Peaches and pears – Pesca and Nettarina di Romagna PGI
Emiliana vs Romagnola Cuisine
The food of Emilia-Romagna illustrates the diverse history of a region ruled by different noble families, kingdoms, and the Papal States. Though it’s considered one region, culinary styles vary between Emiliane and the Romagnole cities.
Emiliane includes Piacenza, Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Ferrara, and Bologna. Pork heavily influences the cuisine here, primarily due to the region’s production of Parmigiano Reggiano. The pigs are fed whey created during the cheesemaking process. Consequently, this Parmigiano Reggiano whey is thought to contribute flavor to Prosciutto di Parma.
On the other hand, Romagnola cuisine features a more significant Adriatic influence, though it’s still rich and opulent. Together they make the food of Emilia-Romagna the most legendary cuisine on the planet.
Parmigiano Reggiano, Italy’s most famous cheese, is made in Emilia-Romagna. This staple of Italian cuisine is a PDO-protected cheese made in Parma, Reggio Emilia, and Modena. The PDO also encompasses parts of Bologna west of the Reno River and Mantua (Lombardy) on the right bank of the Po.
The Parmigiano Reggiano production process starts with a strict diet for the cows, excluding fermented feeds, silage, and animal flour. Milk collected from the morning and previous evening goes into the traditional copper bell-shaped vats. Then, the milk coagulates with the addition of a whey starter and rennet. Once curds have formed, the cheesemakers use the traditional “spino” tool to transform the curds into tiny granules.
These curd granules are cooked at 55°C for under an hour until they sink and form a single mass. This cheese mass is cut into two parts, wrapped in linen, then placed into molds where it takes its final shape.
Each wheel is stamped with a unique code to verify the origin of production. After a few days, the Parmigiano Reggiano wheels are placed in a water and salt immersion, where the salt enters the cheese via osmosis. Finally, the cheese is aged for a minimum of twelve months, though many wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano are aged upwards of twenty-four months. Read more about the production and grade selection of Parmigiano Reggiano here.
Other Popular Cheeses
The world-renowned Grana Padano PDO and Provolone Valpadano PDO cheeses are traditional of the whole Pianura Padana. Provolone Valpadano is a stretched-curd, semi-hard cheese made in Dolce (mild) and Piccante (spicy) styles. Slow-ripened Grana Padano production began in the Middle Ages, and this cheese is mainly used within the Piacenza region.
The unique culinary traditions from each subregion of Emilia-Romagna form a diverse tapestry of Italian dishes shared throughout the region. Before diving into these distinctive dishes, let’s explore regionwide culinary delights.
Gnocco fritto is a dangerously delicious fried dough made of flour, lard, salt, and a leavening agent, and they’re typically enjoyed warm with cheese and cured meats. In Modena, the classic gnocco fritto di Modena is made without yeast and uses sparkling water instead to help the dough rise when fried. The lard is used in the dough, as well as for frying.
Alternatively, to order this dish in Bologna, ask for a crescentina. This version incorporates warm milk, olive oil, and brewer’s yeast into the dough, fried in boiling lard. And in Parma, gnocco fritto is known as torta fritta and is often served as a sweet version with a sprinkling of sugar.
Tigelle and Piadina
Tigelle is a snack food of Emilia-Romagna commonly savored throughout Emilia. A simple dough of flour, water, yeast, and lard is traditionally baked on terracotta molds lined with chestnut leaves in a woodfired oven. The name comes from these clay molds, which were called tigelle. Today, a tigelliera resembling a waffle iron is used to make the tigelle enjoyed with cured meats and local cheeses sandwiched between the bread.
Pesto alla Modenese, a decadent spread of lard, rosemary, and garlic, frequently accompanies tigelle in Modena. In Romagnole cities, the piadina Romagnola is the go-to snack. A piadina resembles a large flatbread eaten with cheeses and cured meats as well. A fresh, creamy cow’s milk cheese called Squacquerone di Romagna PDO often finds its way into a piadina Romagnola. Historically, both tigelle and piadina were considered poor man’s food but are widely eaten today.
Cappelletti & Tortellini
Pasta in Emilia-Romagna is always pasta all’uovo, pasta made with eggs, and not simply water and flour-like in many other Italian regions. Though there are countless pasta dishes in the region, cappelletti and tortellini are two of the most prominent. Cappelletti translates to small hats in reference to the distinctive shape of this stuffed pasta resembling small, peaked hats. The filling varies but often includes beef, chicken, cheese, and nutmeg. The cappelletti is frequently served in hot chicken broth. Otherwise, try cappelletti romagnoli di magro stuffed with ricotta, Parmigiano Reggiano, and stracchino.
Another quintessential food of Emilia-Romagna is tortellini in brodo. This is another hat-like stuffed pasta, a mixture of pork, chicken, prosciutto, Parmigiano Reggiano, and nutmeg fill the tortellini. Bologna and Modena have always duked it out over who created this dish originally. Today, tortellini in brodo is a classic dish for Christmas dinner.
Maiale al Latte
When it comes to the food of Emilia-Romagna, one of the most cherished dishes of the region is maiale al latte. The recipe involves slowly braising a pork loin in milk with aromatics like garlic, sage, and rosemary. As the pork cooks, the milk separates into curds that absorb all the meat’s tasty fats and flavors.
What to Eat in Piacenza
Grana Padano cheese
Cheeses and Cured Meats
Piacenza is the northernmost subregion of Emilia-Romagna. The world-renowned Grana Padano PDO and Provolone Valpadano PDO cheeses are made here. Provolone Valpadano is a stretched-curd, semi-hard cheese made in Dolce (mild) and Piccante (spicy) styles. Slow-ripened Grana Padano production began in the Middle Ages and is still essential to Emilia-Romagna cuisine today. For local cured meat specialties, look to Coppa Piacentina and Salame Piacentino.
Pisarei e Fasò
Pisarei e fasò is a humble dish of peasant origins in Piacenza. The dish consists of small dumplings called pisarei made of flour and breadcrumbs. Onions, lard, smashed borlotti beans, and tomatoes make a substantial sauce called fasò, and to finish, the dish is topped with grated Grana Padano.
Tortelli Piacentini con la Coda
Piacenza puts its own spin on tortellini with a larger stuffed pasta called tortelli piacenti con la coda. These tortelli are closed with a simple twist on both ends, forming the tail, or la coda is filled with spinach, ricotta, and Grana Padano cheese. Occasionally, a bit of mascarpone makes its way into tortelli piacentini, too. The tortelli is served with butter, sage, and Grana Padano. Apparently, the dish was created for the famous poet and humanist Francesco Petrarch while visiting Piacenza in the mid-1300s.
Bomba di Riso
Bomba di riso is a traditional recipe of the village of Bobbio. A mixture of rice, eggs, breadcrumbs, and Parmigiano Reggiano are shaped into a dome with pigeon meat in the center of the dish. The bomba di riso is then cooked in the oven until golden brown.
Maccheroni alla Bobbiese
Typical of the village of Bobbio, maccheroni alla Bobbiese has a peculiar production process that originated in the Middle Ages. The pasta strips are formed by rolling the pasta dough around a knitting iron or large crochet needle. Notably, maccheroni alla Bobbiese is served exclusively with a stracatto sauce.
Stracotto alla Piacentina
Stracotto is a supremely tender, slowly roasted beef stew of Piacenza. The beef is braised with aromatic herbs, wine, and broth for a hearty stew, traditionally made in earthenware pots.
Dessert in Piacenza
For dessert in Piacenza, try the classic latte in piedi or standing milk. This creamy pudding made with cocoa powder and amaretti traditionally appears around Easter.
Round out a meal in Piacenza with Bargnolino. Also savored in Parma, Bargnolino is a liqueur made from macerating sloe berries in a neutral spirit for a few weeks. Then, the maceration is sweetened and diluted. Bargnolino recipes vary by family and can include wine, spices, and citrus zest.
The Best Foods in Parma
Culatello di Zibello
Parma is home to some of the most delicious Italian food of Emilia-Romagna.
Prosciutto di Parma
Prosciutto di Parma’s unbeatable quality sets the premium standard for prosciutto production throughout Italy. Its PDO status requires Large White, Landrace, and Duroc breed of pigs. These pigs can only be raised within ten designated regions. Plus, they must be fed a mix of cereals, grains, and Parmigiano Reggiano whey. This diet and the minimum one-year aging requirement are thought to give Prosciutto di Parma its complex depth of flavor.
Culatello di Zibello
First made in the 14th century, this ham is one of the most prized meat products of Parma and the greater Emilia-Romagna region. Culatello di Zibello is made by curing pork with white wine, garlic, and spices. The cured meat is then stuffed into a pig’s bladder or other natural casing and tied with twine—the meat ages for eleven months minimum, resulting in a lusciously tender, rich specialty.
Anolini in Brodo
Anolini in brodo is another meat-filled pasta from Emilia-Romagna served in a meat-based broth. Parma and Piacenza both stake claim to the origins of this dish. Anolini is made by cutting the pasta sheets into small circles with the filling in the middle. Parmigiano Reggiano, ground meat, and breadcrumbs make up the filling for this fresh, handmade pasta.
For a meat-free pasta option in Parma, look to tortelli d’erbetta. The pasta for the tortelli is handmade from flour, eggs, and salt and the filling consists of ricotta, eggs, nutmeg, Parmigiano Reggiano, and spinach or beet spinach. This traditional food of Emilia Romagna is eaten every year on June 23rd for the Feast of Saint Giovanni.
Trippa alla Parmigiana
Parma has its own take on trippa, or tripe, which is the edible lining of a cow’s stomach. Trippa alla Parmigiana originated in the traditions of cucina povera and is made with veal tripe, Parmigiano Reggiano, and butter. Some versions are enhanced with tomatoes, chile peppers, onions, basil, parsley, or rosemary.
This specialty from Parma is made by stuffing a hen with a mixture of butter, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and cheese. After the hen is stuffed, it’s sewed closed and then boiled until tender. Bollito ripieno is served with preserved vegetables called giardiniera.
If you’re interested in learning more about the hams of Emilia Romagna, including Culatello di Zibello and other delicious cured meats, you can check out this article: Emilia Romagna’s Charcuterie: A Flavorful Artisanal Journey
The Best Food in Reggio Emilia
Erbazzone, savory pie
Erbazzone is a traditional savory pie that’s been enjoyed in Reggio Emilia for centuries. The recipe originated in cucina povera, as most of the ingredients were readily available in the average garden. Erbazzone’s dough is made from lard, water, salt, and flour and the filling includes swiss chard, onions, spinach, lardo, breadcrumbs, and Parmigiano Reggiano. It can be eaten as breakfast, a snack, or as an antipasto. Additionally, there’s Scarpasot, or Erbazzone Correggese, which is cooked in a skillet without the crust, and Erbazzone Montanaro is a version with the addition of rice.
Chizze is another delectable snack typical of Reggio Emilia. With origins in the local Jewish ghetto, chizze is made from gnocco fritto dough fried in lardo or oil, filled and topped with Parmigiano Reggiano.
Historically, these pork cracklings provided a hearty meal served alongside polenta in rural Reggio Emilia. Today, ciccioli are often served with an aperitivo.
Arrosto alla Reggiana
A traditional meat dish of Reggio Emilia, arrosto alla reggiana is a dish of roasted veal. After tenderizing the veal, an omelet, spinach, and pancetta are layered on top. Then the veal is rolled around the filling and tied before being browned and slowly cooked in wine.
A Taste of Modena
Tortelloni in Modena
Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena
Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is famous for its irresistible sweet and sour flavor. This is the highest grade of balsamic vinegar in the world and requires a strict production process. Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena (ABTM) must be produced within Modena. There is also an Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia (ABTRE), which must be made within Reggio Emilia.
In addition to production location, there are two significant regulations for Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena. First, the vinegar must be made from Ancellotta, Berzemino, Lambrusco, Occhio di Gatta, Sauvignon, Sgavetta, or Trebbiano grapes grown in Modena or Reggio Emilia. Secondly, the vinegar must age for a minimum of twelve years before release for Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale and at least 25 years for Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale Extravecchio.
To make Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena, the grapes are pressed, and the juice is cooked. The sugars in the juice caramelize while cooking, which gives the vinegar it’s signature dark color. Then, this syrupy must is aged in a series of oak barrels for years, imparting further flavors and complexities throughout the barrel aging process.
There are two seasons for the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar: the “warm” season, during which microbiological transformations occur and water evaporates, leading to greater concentration, and the “cool” season, fostering rest and decanting.
The decanting involves transferring small quantities from the top (approximately 10%) of the larger cask to the next smaller cask at the end of the winter every year. Each cask receives vinegar from the previous cask to restore its level.
A consortium verifies all Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena production. Only balsamic vinegar, which meets the strict production standards, can be labeled as Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena and bottled in specific 100ml size bottles.
You are read our complete guide to balsamic vinegar here.
Cellar Tours has designed this one-day private chauffeured excursion to two Balsamic Vinegar Acetaias, and this trip can begin in a number of cities, including Bologna and Verona
For street food in Modena beyond the previously mentioned tigelle, look to borlenghi. Borlenghi are very thin pancakes made from a simple batter of flour, salt, milk, and eggs. These pancakes originated in peasant cooking, but today, they are more of a monstrous snack, sometimes topped with grated cheese, bacon fat, garlic, rosemary, lard, and a sprinkle of Parmigiano (everything in little quantity) is the traditional seasoning.
Tortelloni in Modena
Modena is also renowned for its tortelloni, a similarly shaped pasta to tortellini. Except the tortelloni, are filled with ricotta, spinach, and Parmigiano Reggiano. Typically, they are garnished with savory butter and sage sauce. Yet they’re also often served with ragù or tomato sauce. Furthermore, Modena offers tortelloni di zucca with a decadent pumpkin filling.
Cotechino in Galera
Don’t leave Modena without trying cotechino in galera (in prison). Cotechino is a fresh pork sausage that includes cotica, pork skin, and boiled in water to cook. The cooked sausage is then wrapped in beef, covered in pancetta, tied together with twine hence the name cotechino in galera. Next, this combination of meat is marinated and slowly cooked in red wine, butter, beef broth, carrots, onion, and celery. Finally, to serve, the cotechino in galera is sliced and topped with the sauce from cooking.
Dessert in Modena
For a tasty dessert in Modena, grab a slice of torta barozzi. In 1907, Eugenio Gollini, a talented pastry chef and proprietor of Pasticceria Gollini, invented this cake to celebrate the Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola, the famous 16th-century architect. Torta barozzi is characterized by almond, cocoa, rum, and coffee flavors. Yet, the authentic recipe is a secret only known to the bakers at Gollini.
Then, there’s bensone for a classic sweet taste of Modena. The Modenese have been making this bread-like cake for centuries. Originally, bensone was made from a simple batter made with flour, eggs, butter, milk, and honey. Today, Nutella or jam are often used as a filling, though the traditional recipe does not include a filling.
What to Eat in Bologna
Ragù alla Bolognese
As the capital of Emilia-Romagna, Bologna is home to some of the region’s most famous dishes and the most world-renowned Italian cuisine.
Mortadella di Bologna
Mortadella production in Bologna officially dates back to 1661 when Cardinal Girolamo Farnese formally proclaimed production standards for this opulent salami. Since 1998, this cured pork delicacy has been produced under its own Protected Geographic Indication.
Mortadella is made with the meat and fat from the pigs’ throat; the meat is ground and mixed with the diced fat. The mixture is heated, washed in water, processed, and placed in a natural or synthetic casing, and cooked.
For a classic soup in Bologna, enjoy zuppa imperiale. The main ingredients are semolina dough made with eggs, butter, Parmigiano cheese, and nutmeg; baked until fluffy, cubed, and then served in a flavorful meat-based brodo (broth). Krinofel, a similar Austrian soup, is thought to have inspired zuppa imperiale. Notably, the soup was brought to Emilia-Romagna by Marie Louise, the Duchess of Parma. She was the first wife of Emperor Napoleon I.
Ragù alla Bolognese
When it comes to the food of Emilia-Romagna, ragù alla Bolognese has had the most far-reaching impact. This ragù is the inspiration behind the Italian American version of spaghetti bolognese. However, you’ll never find ragù alla bolognese served with spaghetti in Bologna. Instead, tagliatelle alla Bolognese is more authentic to the region. The wider and rough (thanks to using a wooden rolling pin) egg-based pasta noodles are ideal for sopping up this rich sauce.
Ragù alla Bolognese is made with a combination of beef, pork, and sometimes veal. The meat is slowly simmered with tomato, wine, a splash of milk, broth, celery, carrot, and onion for a hearty, flavorful sauce.
Lasagne alla Bolognese
Lasagne, one of the world’s most beloved pasta dishes, also originated in Bologna. This baked pasta dish is made by layering wide, flat egg lasagna pasta with ragù alla Bolognese, béchamel sauce, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. The dish is baked until the pasta is tender and the cheese and béchamel on top are beautifully browned. Additionally, there’s lasagna verde alla Bolognese for a unique take on this Italian classic. This version makes the lasagna pasta with spinach, resulting in a vibrantly green-colored pasta.
Passatelli in Brodo
Also common in Ravenna and traditional food of Emilia-Romagna, passatelli in brodo were created in peasant kitchens years ago. They developed passatelli to utilize the limited ingredients available at the time. These are dumplings made from cheese, bread, and eggs served in a flavorful meat broth.
Balanzoni is another Bolognese pasta prepared with spinach. The green dough is used to make tortellini filled with ricotta, spinach, eggs, Parmigiano Reggiano, mortadella and is typically served with butter and sage sauce. The name for this pasta was inspired by the hat of Dr. Balanzone, Bologna’s carnival mascot.
Gramigna con Salsiccia
For another authentic pasta dish in Bologna, look to gramigna con salsiccia. This unique, curly-shaped pasta is served with a ragù made from pork sausage, tomatoes, and wine. To serve, Parmigiano Reggiano tops gramigna con salsiccia for a savory dish representative of the region.
Must-Try Foods in Ferrara
Cappellacci di Zucca Ferraresi
From the 13th to the 18th centuries, Ferrara was ruled by the House of Estes. Their royal court along the banks of the Po River was one of the great cultural powers during the Renaissance. As such, the Estence court contributed many opulent, delectable dishes to the food of Emilia-Romagna.
Coppia Ferrarese is a unique double loaf, twisted bread with historical origins. Lucrezia Borgia’s (daughter of Pope Alexander VI) blonde curly hair is thought to have inspired the bread’s twisted shape when she came to Ferrara in 1502 to marry Duke Alfonso D’Este. The dough for Coppia Ferrarese is made of flour, pork lard, extra-virgin olive oil, water, sourdough, salt, and malt. As of 2001, Coppia Ferrarese became registered as a Protected Geographical Indication.
Another staple popular in Ferrara is pinzini ferraresi, a fried flatbread. The bread dough is made of lard or oil, flour, yeast, water, and salt. After being flattened, the dough is fried, and the crispy, delicious result is served warm as an antipasto with other typical accompaniments.
Cappellacci di Zucca Ferraresi
These pumpkin hats of Ferrara are a fresh, stuffed pasta with a velvety, luxurious filling of butternut squash, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, and nutmeg for a sweet spice. The first cappellacci di zucca Ferraresi were invented in the Estence court for the Duke of Ferrara, Alfonso D’Este. This pasta dish is frequently served with butter and sage, though it can be served with tomato or meat sauce instead. Tortelli di zucca are also common in Ferrara. They’re made with a similar filling, though the pasta does not have the same hat-like shape as cappellacci di zucca Ferraresi.
Salama da Sugo
A unique food of Ferrara and its province, salama da sugo is an Italian pork sausage made with multiple cuts of meat. The pig’s neck, neck fat, belly, liver, and tongue are finely minced together. Next, the meat is mixed with seasonings like salt, pepper, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and red wine. Then, pork casings are filled with the mixture, bound by twine, and left to age six to nine months. Traditionally, salama da sugo is boiled and served hot with mashed potatoes or pumpkin purée.
Pasticcio di Maccheroni
For an authentic taste of Ferrara, look to pasticcio di maccheroni. This uniquely sweet and savory dish was created in the royal Estence court, and the shape resembles a priest’s hat, hence the name. The dish is seasoned with truffles, meat ragù, béchamel, dried mushrooms, and Parmigiano Reggiano wrapped inside a sweet pastry crust, then baked.
Torta di Tagliatelle
Torta di tagliatelle, also known as torta di ricciolina, is another decadent dish from Ferrara. This specialty is traditionally prepared around Christmas or Easter. A golden, shortcrust pastry is the base for torta di tagliatelle. The crust houses thin, freshly made tagliatelle noodles with sugar, butter, and almonds. The torta is baked until golden brown, then soaked in almond liqueur and dusted with sugar to serve.
Dessert in Ferrara
Another dish created for Duke Alfonso D’Este, zuppa Inglese, or English soup, is a typical dessert of the region. This sweet treat is made from sponge cake soaked in Alchermes liqueur and layered with pastry cream. Around Christmas, you’ll find an Italian fruit cake called pampapato di Ferrara. The fruitcake includes almonds, hazelnuts, candied fruit, cocoa, honey, cinnamon, and cloves. Notably, pampapato is also uniquely flavored with black pepper for an extra pop of flavor.
This tender cake was created in Ferrara in the early 1900s in honor of Elena Petrovich, the Queen of Montenegro and wife of Italian King Vittorio Emmanuele III. The flourless dessert is made with butter, eggs, and sugar, resulting in a velvety chocolate cake.
Food to Try in Ravenna
Cappelletti di Romagna
As previously mentioned, piadina is a popular, must-try street food in Ravenna. These traditional flatbreads are thicker in this region. You’ll find piadina stuffed with a variety of meats, cheese, and vegetables.
Since Ravenna is closer to the Adriatic Sea, there’s an assortment of seafood served here in addition to the typical hearty food of Emilia-Romagna. Mussels are a must, so don’t miss the Cozze di Marina di Ravenna. These wild mussels grow naturally in the Adriatic as deep as ten to twelve meters in the sea. There’s even an annual festival in June to honor the wild mussels of Ravenna.
Cappelletti di Romagna
In Ravenna and other parts of Romagna, enjoy cappelletti di Romagna. This take on one of Emilia-Romagna’s stuffed pasta dishes involves a cheese filling made from fresh raviggiolo cheese. The cappelletti is either served in brodo or a meat ragù sauce.
Dessert in Ravenna
For something sweet, look to ravennino. These milk and dark chocolates are made with pine nuts and salt. Caterine di Ravenna is another sweet treat of the region typically prepared on November 25th, the day of Saint Catherine. These sugar cookies are enhanced with lemon zest and often shaped into roosters, hens, or a doll (Catherine), then decorated with chocolate or sugar sprinkles.
The Cuisine of Forlí-Cesena
In Forlí-Cesena, enjoy bartolaccio, a typical pasta of Tredozio comune. Bartolaccio is a large, folded pastry filled with pancetta, potatoes, and cheese, then grilled until golden brown and crispy. This specialty is usually made in autumn, especially for the Bartolaccio Festival.
Paciàrle, another delicacy of Tredozio, is reminiscent of a polenta, served with beans and leeks, rather than the traditional ragù. Next, tardura is Forlí-Cesena’s version of passatelli, made with a simple dough of breadcrumbs, cheese, and eggs that’s is pulled rather than worked with a special tool. The dough is still served in meat broth for a simple yet tasty soup.
For a delicious dessert in Forlí-Cesena, look to volpine pears cooked in Sangiovese wine with cloves and cinnamon.
What to Eat in Rimini
White Truffles from Sant’Agata Feltria
Along with all of the other typical foods of Emilia-Romagna, don’t miss the seafood in Rimini. Brodetto is a seafood stew with ancient origins. Poor fishermen created it to utilize any unsold seafood from the local daily catch. Each coastal town has its version of brodetto, but fresh seafood is always the key ingredient. Grilled seafood is also very popular in Rimini. You’ll find grigliata served in coastal towns year-round. Different types of fish are included, such as cod, brill, monkfish, and mullet, often flavored with rosemary. Grilled shrimp and calamari skewers seasoned with extra-virgin olive oil are also frequently savored.
Tagliolini, rather than tagliatelle, is the typical egg pasta of the region. The difference between the two kinds of pasta is how they are cut. The tagliolini are longer and less ribbon-shaped than tagliatelle. Plus, tagliolini are often served with seafood like mussels, clams, and shrimp in Rimini.
In addition to seafood, Rimini is known for rabbit cooked in a similar style as porchetta. You’ll find this dish in the inland regions of Rimini, such as Valmarecchia. The rabbit is garnished with salt, pepper, lard, pork belly, and fennel, then simmered in Sangiovese for a savory meal.
White Truffles in Rimini
Rimini is also home to white truffles in the village of Sant’Agata Feltria in the valley surrounding the Marecchia River. There is a festival dedicated to these irresistible delicacies celebrated every Sunday in October.
Dessert in Remini
Bustrengo is a typical dessert in Rimini with poor and simple origins. Recipes vary by family, but bustrengo was created to utilize old bread. The dough for this treat is made of breadcrumbs, eggs, flour, olive, salt, citrus zest, and sometimes dried fruits and is often served alongside a glass of sweet wine.
Rimini, and Romagna in general, also puts its own spin on the Italian ciambella. This bundt cake-like dessert is made with sugar, flour, citrus zest, milk, and butter. However, unlike the classic version, the ciambella Romagnola doesn’t have a hole in the center. Instead, it’s stretched flat and cut into slices to serve.
About Nicole Dickerson
WSET certified international wine writer with a passion for rare varieties and cellar hand experience in both hemispheres. Join me in the vineyards and cellars of the wine world at palmandvine.com.
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