It is possible to get the best of the Italian table on a one-stop visit.
You just have to go to Emilia-Romagna. It’s ground zero for Parmigiano, balsamic vinegar, pretty much all our favourite Italian charcuterie-prosciutto, culatello, mortadella, cotechino, etc. and, of course, tortellini. We could also mention piadine-flatbreads and the famous sparkling red wine lambrusco. And then there’s the classic pasta sauce called ragù-much meat, milk, some tomatoes, along with finely diced onions, carrots and celery-the ancestor of the ubiquitous North American spaghetti sauce.
If you want to have a sense of everything Emilia-Romagna has to offer, you can spend weeks travelling along the Po river on a bike, tasting a bit of squashfilled ravioli here or a few slices of cured ham from Parma there. But if you’d like to enjoy the wines of the region in just one stop Emilia-Romagna is a large wine-producing region, ranking third in Italy-go to Enologica, the wine festival that takes place every fall in Bologna. It’s held inside the stunning, 13th-century Palazzo Re Enzo, which has more arches than you ever dreamed of. Here, for about $30 a day, in addition to lambruscos you can sample pignoletto, Malvasia and, of course, the more classic sangiovese wines typical of the region. Almost 120 wine producers attended the festival in 2017.
In addition to tastings of and presentations about local wines, last year’s event featured samplings of delicacies prepared by chefs from the area. The most famous restaurant of the region, Osteria Francescana-headed by Chef ‘s Table hero Massimo Bottura and named best restaurant in the world for a second time in June-sent its chef de cuisine, Takahiko (‘Taka’) Kondo, to cook tortellini in brodo. Another food highlight came with Marina Nanni, queen of the piadina in Rimini, who showed the beauty of this regional flatbread, a tortilla-like wheat creation born between the Adriatic Sea and the foothills of the Apennines.