Winter is coming. Arm yourselves against Emilia’s arsenal of food.

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.

The following is a list of food products certified Denominazione di origine protetta (DOP) and from Emilian Indicazione geografica protetta (IGP) alone (via Wiki):

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:

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13 thoughts on “Winter is coming. Arm yourselves against Emilia’s arsenal of food.

    • those are tigelle!! (you mean the ones in the weird waffle-iron type thing right?

      Tigelle from Modena – YUM. Stuff the little bread things with various cold cuts or a range of yummy salsas and cheeses!

  1. Pingback: Some Typical Products of Romagna

  2. Well, people can choose what they like when it comes to comparing the food of Emilia to that of Romagna. But it’s pretty clear that you pummeled me on the food BLOGGING! Great post, M. And really amazing photos! My side surrenders…I’m raising the white flag. In my defense, it’s been about 6 six years…I guess it’s time for me to go back to Emilia and remind myself of the great culinary traditions.

    • haha… I mean, it’s really just a numbers game. The sheer volume of delectable dishes is truly staggering. THIS is why Food = Love in Emilia. Food = everything.

  3. I need to link to this for our customers at Vino Veritas, since we serve so many of these things, including tigelle. We don’t serve cotechino, but we do get it in care packages from Giovanni’s mother on occasion. So good!

    • oh yes, please do! How is business going there? I recommended you guys to a friend who was in your area on vacation… not sure if she stopped by.

  4. ‘moist donkey’ has to be one of the awkward words I’ve seen in awhile but I love it. I knew I need to come visit and eat my way through this area, once and for all! Lovely post, photos and yes, you made me hungry!

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  6. Pingback: A tasteful introduction to Sicilian food | Unwilling Expat

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