Mangia! Bevi! Eating and Drinking in Emilia-Romagna

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Affetati.JPGYou could live on Parma ham and Parmesan cheese, with a drop or two of balsamic vinegar from nearby Modena, perhaps, and no one would consider you a slacker. Indeed there's not a wine tasting in the region that isn't accompanied by one or the other.

But at an average lunch, the prosciutto, coppa and crudo are just for openers. There might well be a competely separate course of antipasti of marinated vegetables, followed by one or two types of pasta (ravioli, gnocchi, linguini). If it's dinner, you'd go on to a meat course (lamb almost certainly if you're in Romagna) before rounding the bend for a bite of dessert.

Your wines would also follow a traditional progression. an aperitif of sparkling malvasia is traditional. To accompany the opening cold cuts, an off-dry, slightly sparkling lambrusco. The lowest level of sparkle is dubbed vivace, the next up is frizzante; the term spumante is reserved for Champagne-style sparkling wines. I was particularly taken with the vivace style, which just barely tingles the tongue and provides a gentle counterpoint to the smooth, salty flavors of the thin slices of pink ham.

Sure, there are wonderful gastronomic restaurants all over Italy. But the part you remember is what's unique to the place you're in. Food and wine from Bologna and the regione of Emilia-Romagna. More about ham...and opera...tomorrow.

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Viva gabba gul!

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This page contains a single entry by Cornichon published on October 17, 2008 12:00 PM.

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