A recent ad on Italian TV said, ‘If Italy was a house, Emilia-Romagna would be the kitchen.’ Many Italians from other regions might throw up their hands in horror and rightly say, ‘but we have an amazing cuisine too!’ However, this demonstrates the reputation that Emilia-Romagna—the capital of which is Bologna—has as the foodie region of Italy.
I might correct the ad to ‘If Italy was a house, Emilia-Romagna would be the larder …’ because with one or two exceptions the fame of Emilia-Romagna is not for dishes but for several ingredients and products now considered essential to Italian cuisine in general. This list would include: Aceto Balsamico di Modena (balsamic vinegar), Prosciutto di Parma (Parma ham), Mortadella, and the indispensable Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan cheese).
I recently spent a weekend in Bologna and decided to put together this guide to the city, focusing on its food but also history and art. If you’ve never been and are looking for an Italian city-break destination, I would highly recommend it.