For those of you who are considering a wine and food tour through Italy do not miss Emilia Romagna. Gastronomically its outstanding. Even the Italians agree (well most of the time) that the cuisine of this region is the country’s best.
Last year I spent a month “working” my way through from Zibello to Parma, Reggio Emilia to Modena, Bologna, and across to Ravenna sampling some of the cuisine from this region of Italy and planning my Italy food tour.
Bologna is foodie heaven, the culinary capital of Italy, you cannot escape it, every second business seems to be related in some way to food. Wander through the colourful market district on Via Clavatura, in the Quadrilatero district, where there are amazing food stalls. You’ll see small pasta shops, vegetable markets, fish mongers, and delis offering the many cured meats and cheeses from the Po valley. It’s the best place to eat local street food and sit back in a laneway, sip a local Pignoletto, and watch as locals discuss their favourite subject, food.
The Mercato delle Erbe is another experience combining a daytime farmers Market, and at night time transforming into a delicious food court. I loved Banco 32.
Rick Stein has a fantastic show on SBS currently titled Long Weekends, and one episode I loved was the one featuring Bologna. If you can get it On Demand, watch it, it backs up everything I have mentioned here.
Just outside Bologna visit Eataly World and discover the world’s largest Agri-Food park, with 22 hectares of space including 40 farm factories, 45 restaurants, street food kiosks, and producers of every type of Italian food, and wine. It’s massive! The locals don’t rate it, but if you are on limited time and not joining a tour like ours, that gets you out into the country to visit the real producers, then it’s worth a look.
Parma, I loved this place! This is where I discovered the real Aperitivo Time, in a city that reeks of elegance, amazing cuisine, and remarkable local food products such as Parmigiano Reggiano, the king of the cheeses, & Culatello prosciutto being produced in the valleys surrounding Parma. You will find amazing localised street food in all the bars that offer an aperitivo menu. Such an affordable way to start the evening. To visit Parma and the Food Valley surrounding the town allow at least 2 days.
Modena. The Aceto Balsamico Experience No one can claim to know Modena without having tasted its famous typical product – the traditional Modena Balsamic Vinegar- an exquisite condiment made from cooked grape must that is aged for 12 years + in wooden barrels, visit one of the many farms that open their vinegar cellars on appointment. Of course, there is the Ferrari Museum at Maranello, 15 km from Modena.
In September we will showcase all of the above plus the best of Piedmont as part of our Slow Food and Wine Tour , a tour for 8 people , fully escorted, heading off road and into the villages to meet the producers. A must for foodies and those who love the Italian lifestyle.