The Emilia-Romagna region of Italy is considered by many to be the heart of Northern Italian food, from Prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano, to the beloved gourmet elixir, aged Balsamic vinegar from Modena. In order to take full advantage of our sojourn in Emilia Romagna, we signed up for a gourmet food tour organised by Parma Golosa, to visit the production sites of some of Italy's most famous DOP food products: Prosciutto di Parma ham, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese as well as Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena. As the tour starts at 9:00am sharp, we arrived a day early from our farmhouse in Tredozio, 2 hours away, and stayed at the lovely Albergo Posta in Reggio Emilia, to be sure we met our guide on time the following day. We also arrived in time for a delicious late lunch at Reggio Emilia's bastion of authentic regional cuisine, Ristorante Canossa.
The fabulously over-the-top Albergo Posta bar
A typical room at Albergo Posta with soaring 10-foot high ceilings,
sumptuous fabrics and wonderfully comfy beds
Ristorante Canossa in the historic centre of Reggio Emilia
Located in the historic centre of Reggio Emilia, Ristorante Canossa is renowned for serving some of the finest authentic cuisine typical of the region, with wonderful fresh pasta pulled by hand: tortelli, cappelletti, lasagne and the famous Bollito, the flagship dish of Canossa, and a culinary specialty of Reggio Emilia cuisine. Run by four brothers, John, Nicholas, Silvio and Julian, everything is prepared by hand in the morning, then Canossa is open for lunch at noon. John, the eldest of the brothers, is nicknamed the director. "Nicholas, Silvio and myself take care of the room, while Giuliano who is the chef of the restaurant, prepares the dishes."
Despite Canossa's humble interior, the restaurant is a bastion of fine Reggio cuisine
A bottle of Emilia-Romagna's signature wine, Sangiovese, which we enjoyed for our lunch
Antipasti Misto with prosciutto crudo of course, being in Reggio,
as well as a selection of other regional cured meats
A second plate of Antipasti Misto arrived with bite size pieces of succulent mortadella
and the Reggio's acclaimed parmigiano cheese
Cappeletti in Brodo, another regional specialty - light and delicate tiny little filled pasta
in a full flavoured broth, all made by hand at Canossa
Tortelli di Zucca, a pumpkin filled ravioli-style pasta - a culinary specialty of the region
We had to try Canossa's specialty, the Bolitta Mista, which consists of various cuts of meats that are boiled for along time, then served hot and served table side on a carello, or trolley. The selection at Canossa included beef, pork, capon and zampone, a rather fatty salumi typical of the region. Bolitto is served with an array of sauces to accompany the dish including bagnet verde, much like a salsa verde, bagnet roso and some sweet preserved fruit — all quite mild and delicious with the different meats.
The Arrosti di Carello is wheeled out in a heated trolley and features
an enormous selection of roasted meats
The server will carve a selection of everything - misti- or a selection
according to your preference
Condiments for the Arrosti
A carnivore's delight
The perfect end to a delicious meal - a macchiato
Compliments of our server, Grappa and a a glass of Nocino
Two hour lunches have become 'de rigeur' while we've been in Italy!
Reggio-Emilia Duomo on Piazza Prampolini which dates back to the 9th-century,
and especially photogenic at dusk
Palazzo del Monte in Piazza del Duomo with the Fountain of River Crostolo
A view of Hotel Posta's renaissance exterior viewed from the main square
- our room was the one on the corner above the arch, with the light on
Comune di Reggio-Emilia's impressive fountain display comes alive at night
A last glass of wine at Albergo Posta, before heading to bed,
in anticipation of our 'Culinary Food Tour' which will start the next morning,
with visions of Parmigiano cheese dancing in our heads...