Secrets of Emilia-Romagna cuisine

Adam Jones | 26/11/2018
Emilia Romagna meats and cheeses. Italian meat and cheese market.
Meat and cheese market in Italy

The Emilia Romagna region contains some of the most famous gastronomy of Italy, with world-famous traditional Italian food such as mortadella, Parmigiano Reggiano, balsamic vinegar and Parma ham. 

Not limited to these famous foods, Emilia Romagna has many lesser-known culinary delights — not as familiar but equally delicious. Let’s explore some treats from Emilia Romagna that you’ll want to put on the menu during your visit.

Olio di oliva di Brisighella

Olio di Oliva di Brisighella is a highly rated extra virgin olive oil from the hamlet of Brisighella. The lower altitude and makeup of the valley provides a perfect microclimate that allows this olive tree to thrive. The olive cultivation in this area dates back to the days of the Roman Empire. This distinctive olive oil is emerald green with hints of gold with an unmistakable taste of spice and slight bitterness. This comes from a unique olive variety called the Nostrana of Brisighella and this Protected Designation of Origin product is especially suited for addition to fish, vegetables, or in some sauces.

Salama da sugo Ferrarese

The province of Ferrara has been producing its famous salama da sugo Ferrarese for around 500 years. This intensely flavoured cold cut is made with the lean meats of the pig — neck, bacon, tongue, liver, and cheeks, then hand mixed with bold wine and natural spices. Artisans have passed on the secrets of making this sausage perfect generation after generation. It’s served in a variety of ways — sometimes cooked with mashed potatoes or perhaps raw with fig or melon. Either way, it’s a complex and bold flavour.

Salame Felino

What about a salami so tasty that it has its own museum? Salame Felino, a product of the Baganza Valley in Parma has an entire museum in its honor. If you journey to the Castle of Felino here you will find its praises sung. Another product passed down from centuries this salame is created with an unctuous balance of fatty and lean meats. Salame Felino is then aged for nearly a month which gives it a gentle texture, subtle aroma, and an underlying bit of sweetness.

Squacquerone di Romagna

Squacquerone di Romagna is a whole milk soft cheese - known for its light salty flavor and ability to melt. You’ll often find it as a filling for piadina, a thin flatbread very popular in the area. 

Formaggio di Fossa

Lastly, we have Formaggio di Fossa, a cheese famous with professional chefs — especially due to its unusual aging process. Fossa is the Italian word for pit. This cheese is aged for a month and then lowered into a pit and aged another three months. Formaggio di Fossa can be eaten alone, grated over pasta, or even served with honey. A lesser-known delicacy, but one prized by those who are aware of it. 

This ends our small tour of Emilia Romagna Italy, we hope you’re able to use this knowledge to sample some of the more remarkable and lesser-known flavors from the region.