Wine and food

The tradition of the good local cuisine, simple and natural, is found in the numerous restaurants and trattorias where it is possible to enjoy excellent dishes. The basic products come from the land and the animals, so the local gastronomy is often known as "poor cuisine", with strong flavours compensating for the lack of expensive and refined ingredients. Here are some suggestions to the tourist who wants to taste the local cuisine and its typical products...

 

5 Gastronomic tours NOT to be missed:

 

1.  PARMIGIANO REGGIANO

This cheese, sometimes rightly called as the best in the world, has a century-long tradition. It probably derives from the moulds of hard cheese that the Romans transported from the Po River Plain to the port of Luni in order to carry it to the major cities of the empire or, more probably, from the agricultural expansion of the XII and XIII centuries which gave Padania a huge bovine increase. It was reportedly born in the Reggio Emilia area of Bibbiano, under Parma diocese until 1830: this is the reason of the name of Parmigiano, today commonly used. Parmigiano Reggiano is a hard-paste cheese, half-fat, cooked, long-aged, with a high proteine content (nearly 50%). The big moulds of Parmigiano Reggiano (about kg 30 each) age about two years, often in huge air-conditioned warehouses of the local banks that keep it in storage as pledge for the money paid in advance to the producers.

HOW TO VISIT A DAIRY

Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium gives the possibility of guided tours in the dairies of the province of Reggio Emilia, in search of a true "living myth", from its beginning, only once a day, to the long slow aging in the warehouses. During the tour it will be possible to see the whole production of Parmigiano Reggiano, from the milk to the mould. In the end, in the dairies with their own outlet, it will be possible to taste and buy the cheese. The guided tours are free and are in both Italian and English language.

Guided tours: all year by contacting (about 1-week advance request) the Consortium of Parmigiano Reggiano, by phone or e-mail (sezionere@parmigianoreggiano.it - phone 0039.0522.700256) or getting in touch with the dairy of your choice. The manufacturing process starts at 8.00 a.m. and lasts about 2 hours. Visit the Parmigiano Reggiano Dairies.

Dairy of Hills of Selvapiana and Canossa: at least 2-3-day advance reservation, by e-mail to info@collinedicanossa.it or by phone at the number 0039.0522.878512. The tour starts at 8.30 a.m. and lasts about 90 minutes. In the neighbourhood is an interesting territory: Canossa Castle, Rossena Castle, Rossenella tower, Votigno village and Petrarca Temple, as well as the numerous paths and castles of the area. For more information click here.

 

2.  LAMBRUSCO

It is the typical Emilia Romagna wine and the most widespread vine variety in the countryside from Parma to the east (including the areas of Reggio Emilia, Modena and Mantua). From these fragrant grapes comes an extremely pleasant sparkling wine, the most exported in the world. There are people who prefer the sweet or dry types. Emilia Romagna cuisine would not be the same without its typical sparkling wine. Famous are the sparkling toasts during Luciano Pavarotti's tours and Luciano Ligabue's irreverent coupling "Lambrusco and popcorns". In addition to Lambrusco, the white wines of the Hills of Scandiano and Canossa are also very appreciated. Wine producers often suggest wines obtained through the classic method, excellent raisined and biological wines.

HOW TO VISIT WINERIES IN LAMBRUSCO AREA


Guided tours: contact the Association Strada dei Vini e dei Sapori Colline di Scandiano e Canossa or Strada dei Vini e dei Sapori delle Corti Reggiane, or directly the wineries of Consorzio Tutela e Promozione dei Vini Reggiani D.O.P. Not to be missed is the annual event Open Wineries.

 

 

3. TRADITIONAL BALSAMIC VINEGAR

Reggio Emilia Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is obtained through a very long aging (minimum 12 years) of cooked must of local grapes, in a set of barrels of different woods in progressive sizes, with annual pourings. The result of such a patient work is a syrupy, dark brown liquid, with sharp smell and unique sweet and sour taste. Three labels: gold, silver and lobster respectively characterize the first, second and third quality of the vinegar, according to the ranking of the tasters' committee.  Reggio Emilia Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is sold in the typical 100-cc small bottles, whose shape looks like an overturned tulip, sealed on the cork with the Consortium's sealing wax as warranty for the contents quality. The balsamic vinegar is versatile by nature. It may be coupled with salads, possibly in addition to the common vinegar, and also with boiled meat or a sliver of Parmigiano Reggiano. It is also possible to drink a spoonful of balsamic vinegar as elixir or put some drops on the ice-cream.

HOW TO VISIT A VINEGAR FACTORY

Directly contact the vinegar cellars part of the Consortium of the Balsamic Vinegar to define how to visit and how to reserve it. Here you can find the updated list of the available vinegar cellars. Other polssibility is to contact the municipal vinegar cellars of Albinea and Novellara or fill in the online format at Borgo del Balsamico's website.

 

 

4. TYPICAL ReggianO

With “Typical Reggiano”, tourists and residents have a new instrument to know the traditional tours in the town, that is a project which, for the first time, focuses on the workshops, the restaurants and the shops offering typical local wine and food products in the town centre. In the website it is possible to find the map of the town centre of Reggio Emilia and the three routes corresponding to the places of the Typical Reggiano: restaurants, wine and food, and workshops.

 

 

5. REGGIO EMILIA FLAVOURS

first courses

Reggio Emilia cuisine's creativity is mainly famous for the first courses. First of all, the cappelletto in broth: it is unusual to find it in the restaurants as it needs the expensive presence of boiled meat. It is easier to find the tortelli: pumpkin tortelli, green tortelli with chard and spinach filling. There are also radicchio salad tortelli, artichoke tortelli and nettle tortelli. Other important main courses are: green lasagne (layered pasta dish), bomba di riso (rice pie) - a rare-to-find speciality that is also typical of Parma and Piacenza areas - , homemade tagliatelle, made in the mountains area with porcini mushrooms ragu (Italian meat sauce). Finally, a typical speciality of Reggio Emilia cuisine: the erbazzone (scarpazzòun), a baked spinach or chard paste with cipollotti (type of onion), lard and Parmigiano Reggiano, between two layers of a thin soft paste.


 

KING PIG

The production of cold cuts is wide and renowned, even if many of them are also widely spread in Parma and Modena areas. There are mortadellas (Italian sliced meat), typical salamis, cured hams, as well as boiled meat with lingua (pig's tongue), zampone (cooked pig's foot), cotechino (Italian pork dish), testina (pig's head) and green sauces. In most of all grocery shops is the bowl full of ciccioli (cracklings). In the local festivals it is possible to find the gnocco fritto (fried dumpling), a tasty dough swelling in contact with the very hot lard, that perfectly couples with the cold cuts.

 

 

SWEETS

Along the Po River, in Brescello, is produced one of the best Italian spongatas. The spongata is a century-long Christmas cake, hard-pastry, and composed of honey, nuts, pine nuts, raisin and various spices. A recent typical Christmas cake is the biscione, composed of national almonds, sugar, fresh eggs and candied fruit, with decorations and a meringue for the "snake's head". Another typical speciality is tortellini ripieni (stuffed tortellini), fried or baked, stuffed with a chestnut filling, jam, coffee, nuts, even if there is a different recipe in every home. Another traditional speciality is chizze, that are no sweets but puff pastry rolls stuffed with Parmigiano Reggiano, very good for snacks. Another typical speciality is the zuppa inglese (trifle), a dessert pudding.

 

 

 

- Recipes of the Tradition
- Typical Products

THE FLAVOURS OF REGGIO EMILIA is available in our Tourist Information Office.