Arrivederci! Mille grazie!

Italia trip logos.jpg

Great time in Italy, thanks to ENIT (the Italian State Tourist Board), ITPC, the Italian Travel Promotion Council, the Emilia-Romagna regional government, and the kindness of Alitalia.

Some 50 well-traveled travel agents, tour operators and journalists on the trip; we were stuffed with prosciutto, porcini and pasta (stuffed, in turn, with pumpkin and parmesan). The only "complaint" I heard was that the wines, somehow, were less than formidabile: fizzy lambrusco, fizzy malvasia, light-bodied fortana...

Lambrusco.JPG Salumi plate.JPG Wines in Ferrara.JPG

Okay, all you silver-haired vitelloni at the back of the bus, listen up: we're in Emilia-Romagna, one of 20 distinct Italian regions. They don't make Chianti here! While they do grow some sangiovese in Romagna, Tuscany's favorable terroir lies on the other side of the Appenines. The great Barolos and Barberas are hundreds of miles away.

What you get on the plains of Emilia is alluvial sand and gravel; lambrusco is what grows here. On the hillsides, where they air-dry that superb prosciutto, that's where the vineyards are planted with malvasia. Soft, light, slightly bubbly stuff, undistinguished, nothing you'd want to take home, but it suits the food and that's the point: it's the product of this place and nowhere else.

And that's why we travel, isn't it? To see things where they belong (in piazzas, on ceilings!), to taste foods where they originate, to drink the wine that local folks drink every day. Everythng else is like reading a book or visiting a museum.

Trip participants.JPG Fresco in Ferrara.JPG

Final note: as always, knowledgeable and personable guides can make or break a trip. Many thanks to our experts, Verdiana Conti Baioni and Paola Golinelli of Ad Arte.

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This page contains a single entry by Cornichon published on December 11, 2006 12:11 PM.

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