The whole Emilia-Romagna region is a gastronome’s delight
Bologna, capital of Italy’s Emilia Romagna region, is renowned for its cuisine, and for good reason. It is the home of tortellini and mortadella sausage, tagliatelle and ragù, among many other delicacies. In fact the city boasts one of the richest culinary traditions in Italy. There is no better place in Italy for eating out and it’s pretty difficult to pay a lot of money for a meal.
To experience the city’s rich food heritage at first hand, head to the old medieval market and food shopping area, the Quadrilatero. The market has occupied the same area since Roman times. The narrow streets of the Quadrilatero take their names from the shops and corporations that used to be based there – for example the fishmongers are concentrated in the Via Pescherie and the upholsterers are in the Via Drapperie.
Many of the food shops proudly show off displays of tortellini in their windows. The recipe for authentic tortellini was registered with Bologna’s Chamber of Commerce in 1974. The pasta dough is made with flour and eggs and the filling contains pork loin, raw ham, mortadella di Bologna, Parmesan cheese, eggs and nutmeg. The dish can be found in restaurants all over the city. The Bolognesi often enjoy it for Sunday lunch and it is often also part of the traditional Christmas meal!
For something a little different it’s worth making the effort to visit the Gelato (Ice Cream) Museum which is located at Anzola dell’Emilia, on the outskirts of Bologna, at the headquarters of Carpigiani, a gelato machine maker founded in Bologna in 1946 which now sells its treats in more than 100 countries. The museum features an interactive guided tour of the Italian gelato industry and is home 20 original ice cream making machines, multimedia presentations, 10,000 historical images and documents, tools and accessories, and original video interviews.
To continue the food theme, it’s more than a little tempting while in Bologna to venture outside the city to either Parma or Modena. The products typical of the Parma, Reggio Emilia and Modena area are known all over the world. It is possible to visit the dairies of the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese makers, the producers of Parma ham or the “acetaie” where the traditional Balsamic vinegars of Modena and Reggio Emilia are matured.