Our cohort of expat bloggers in Italy has bitten off about as much as it can chew this time (snort, snort). Rick kicked it off this morning with a reference to the battle before us: Italian regional food wars. Each of the COSI bloggers will be giving us a taste of the culinary specialties from his/her region. Rick and I are handily defending the behemoth food capital of Italy: the region of Emilia-Romagna. Because it’s so large and diverse, Rick kept to the East – Romagna, the land of piadine and mora romagnola. Now it’s my turn.
The gauntlet has been lain. And my semi-region, Emilia, has quite an arsenal at her disposal.
Long before Game of Thrones popularized the following phrase, residents of Emilia have repeated it every year around this time as mental preparation for the coming season (or at least I have):
Winter is coming.
With it comes something far more powerful than zombies… with the cold and the fog comes the pork and the pasta. Prepare yourselves.
Many Emilian culinary specialties are well known throughout Italy and abroad, with many foreigners never noting the name of the region. Many have rarely even heard of Emilia-Romagna, but you can bet they are more than happy to partake in her bounty – a little Prosciutto from Parma, a dash of Balsamic from Modena, and some of that yummy Parmigiano-Reggiano from Reggio (yes. It’s from Reggio, not Parma. Bibbiano to be specific. Proof here).
In fact, last year the entire region was all a buzz over the publication of an article in Forbes declaring Emilia-Romagna as Italy’s best kept gastronomic secret. It’s no secret here.
It’s unmistakable, in the battle of regional food wars, Emilia has the big guns. And a lot of them.
- Aceto balsamico tradizionale di Modena DOP
- Aceto balsamico tradizionale di Reggio Emilia DOP
- Aglio di Voghiera DOP
- Asparago verde di Altedo IGP
- Coppa Piacentina DOP
- Coppia Ferrarese IGP
- Cotechino di Modena IGP
- Culatello di Zibello DOP
- Fungo di Borgotaro IGP
- Grana Padano DOP
- Mortadella di Bologna IGP
- Pancetta Piacentina DOP
- Parmigiano-Reggiano DOP
- Pera dell’Emilia-Romagna IGP
- Prosciutto di Modena DOP
- Prosciutto di Parma DOP
- Provolone Valpadana DOP
- Salame Piacentino DOP
- Zampone Modena IGP
That’s not even touching the specific recipes that combine these wonderful products (and more) to make some of the most ridiculous things you’ve ever put in your mouth. In fact, in looking back over my foodie photos from the past few years, I got so overwhelmed with the number of dishes worth mentioning that I stopped making a list and decided to just show you. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this should shut you up for a while.
Of particular note, I’d like to point out a couple of the perhaps lesser known Emilian specialties: erbazzone, tigelle, pisarei e fasò, castagnaccio, and carne di cavallo. Whenever we have guests visiting from abroad, we offer to take them up to the hills for “moist donkey” (asino in umido) or to Parma for a “raw minced horse sandwich” (panino di cavallo), both of which are splendid I must say!
Another fantastic show is the risotto al tartufo nero: they bring out a massive wheel of parmigiano-reggiano, light it on fire, toss the risotto around in it for a while, and then shave black truffle over the top. YUM.
What’s your favorite Emilian culinary delight?
Our COSI group invites you to join in the food war this month by writing about your region’s specialties and using the tag #COSI to publicize it. Send me the link here in the comments (or a pingback) if you’d like to participate!! Here’s the latest on regional food considerations and Thanksgiving thoughts from my COSI buddies:
- Battle over Italy’s Food Regions – Rick’s Rome
- “Nobody Leaves The Table Until They’ve Eaten So Much That They Hate Themselves”–Observations on Eating in Italy – The Florence Diaries
- Operation: Italian Thanksgiving – “La Festa della Gallina” – Sex, Lies, and Nutella
- How (not) to Spend Thanksgiving in Florence – Girl in Florence
- Foraging, Toxoplasmosis, And Eating Until You Die In Cassino Italy – Surviving in Italy