A culinary trip to the Italian Food Valley: Emilia Romagna
The term Italian Food Valley might sound like a foodie paradise or a theme park, but it’s actually a real place and it's called Emilia-Romagna! This region, located in the Northern part of Italy, is known as the Italian Food Valley because it boasts 44 PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) and PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) products, including: Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Prosciutto di Parma and Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. All these delicacies are produced in two historic regions that combined together generate the world-known Emilia Romagna food patrimony: on one side Emilia with a heavy cuisine based on pork and on the other side Romagna with a much more lighter cuisine. It's not by chance that this region is recognized by the European Union for having some of the richest and most savored culinary offerings in the world.
Balsamic Vinegar of Modena: black gold of Italy
Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, also known as the black gold of Modena, is undoubtedly the best balsamic vinegar in the world. You’re wondering why all this fuss? Firstly, it’s made with love in vinegar cellars (in Italian acetaia) by generation and generation of families who preserved this tradition since the 16th century. Secondly, balsamic vinegar of Modena ages up for 25 years in small wooden barrels: the older the barrel, the better the product will be, as the essences from the wood and the balsamic aromas have matured together over the centuries. And last but not least, Balsamic Vinegar of Modena is one of the Emilia Romagna PGI products: it’s produced exclusively in the Modena area and it’s made with must grapes grown in the Emilia Romagna region according to strict regulations to earn the PGI label. With its unique sourness and unexpected sweetness is best used to savor simple dishes like salad or vegetables, to enhance the sweetness of wild strawberries and to balance rich flavor of meat, poultry and fish. We're never gonna get tired of its flavor.
Parmigiano reggiano, the cheese from Po Valley
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese- or better known in the USA as “parmesan cheese”- is produced in the cities of Parma, Modena and Reggio Emilia, all located in Emilia Romagna. Here the Po River arrives until the lush of Po Valley where the cattle are well fed by the large quantity of grass and cereals grown in this rich area. Parmigiano Reggiano is recognized by the European Union with the stamp of Protected Denomination of Origin (DOP) and is made in large drum shapes which are cracked open with a specifically designed triangular knife. As far as aging is concerned, it ages for up to three years and produces a very compact, grainy texture cheese. With its delicate flavor is perfect everywhere and this is the reason why you can find it in any average Italian's fridge. We only have one food rule when talking about Parmigiano Reggiano cheese: it’s good with everything except for fish dishes!
Prosciutto di parma: a triumph of flavors
Any delicious charcuterie board in Italy includes for sure some Parma ham. This particular salumi is an exquisite variety of ham that is produced in the province of Parma, where pigs and boards are fed with fallen chestnuts. Prosciutto di Parma is unique: its surface shine with brilliance and its taste is salty but at the same time sweet and comforting. This contrast is created by rubbing salt into the hind legs of the pork, washing away the excess and letting the meat age 10 months to 1 year. Beside Prosciutto di Parma, Emilia Romagna includes many other varieties of salumi: Mortadella di Bologna, Coppa Piacentina, and the absolute apex of cured pork, the most famous Culatello di Zibello. All these delicacies are perfect in a charcuterie board together with cheese, honey or jam and of course some bread or according to Emilia Romagna food tradition with some piadina or gnocco fritto!
Tortelli, tortellini and many other
pasta shape from Emilia Romagna
When talking about comfort food, pasta will always be on our top list. However, if we have to mention the soul-warming and comfort food par excellence that would be tortellini in broth. Consisting of hand-crafted ring-shaped pasta, tortellini are typically filled with pork, salumi and flecks of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and are served in chicken broth: delicious. Most of this region pasta types are based on delicious golden pastry made by hand and rolled out by the pasta ladies or "zdaure". Even though the pastry is all made of flour, eggs and salt, these pasta types differ in size, width, shape, stuffing, roughness and so on. Tortelli, for example, are a typical filled pasta from Parma and Reggio Emilia: they are larger than tortellini and are filled with ricotta, parmesan cheese and spinach who gives them a green vivid color. Emilia Romagna is the fresh pasta kingdom and every city, even the smallest one, has its traditional format of pasta: tortelli, cappelletti, tagliatelle, balanzoni and so on. Once you've tried them all, the honorary citizenship of Emilia Romagna awaits you.
Piadina: one flatbread,
hundred of different combinations
You all may wonder what is a piadina. You can bet we have an answer for your question: born in Romagna – that claim this invention also calling it piadina romagnola- piadina bread is a very thin flatbread made with just flour, lard, salt and water and traditionally cooked in a terracotta dish called "teggia" in romagnol dialect. Nowadays, this fluffy flatbread is cooked in flat pans or electric griddles and it's basically used to wrap all the excellent Emilia Romagna food. The mentioned above cheese and salumi are the perfect fillings for piadina along with other delicacies such as: balsamic vinegar of Modena, mustard of Mantova, truffle and mushrooms. This time you can let your imagination fly to discover new combinations of flavors that are perfect for a take away lunch or a picnic with your beloved ones.
Italian recipes at your doorstep
We are a team of food lovers with an experienced palate, on the continuous hunt for Authentic Italian Food Delicacies. Each Month we select the best products, handpack them carefully in Italy and send our EatTiamo Boxes directly to your doorstep, with all the steps to cook a perfect full dinner for 4 people.