44 PDO and PGI products, Emilia Romagna is the region with the most renowned produce in the world. If talking about tagliatelle al ragù does not trigger your food curiosity any more, with this itinerary you will discover lesser known products, but equally considered symbols of regional gastronomical culture.
Come along to find out what to do in two days among the flavors of the border between Emilia and Romagna, between plains and hills.
Medicina is known for the legend around its name: Emperor Frederik Barbarossa fell ill while travelling from Milan to Rome and in Medicina he was taken care of and cured, giving the name of “medicine” to the town.
Baroque style is prevalent in town monuments: San Mamante Church, former Carmine Church, Santa Maria della Salute Church, Assunta Church, Prandi Palace, Portiuco Venturoli, Clock Tower.
But back to gastronomy again: the produce that best represents Medicina is the onion. Known and appreciated not only for its flavor, but also for its health benefits, it is praised even by Bruno Barbieri, Michelin-starred chef from Medicina.
The development of its cultivation happened during the XX century and, during the 60’s, local farmers started to team up and in 2004 gave life to the Medicina Onion Consortium.
The Medicina Onion exists in three varieties: yellow, white and red, even if the 2009 PGI mark was awarded only to the yellow one.
Apart from the protection marks, the cooking tradition tells more than words can: the typical dish bringing together all three varieties is “friggione”, a mix of onions boiled with salt, olive oil and diced tomato, resulting in a tasty red sauce, perfect to be paired with meat or, why not, a slice of bread.
A few kilometers away from Medicina are Castel Guelfo and Imola, officially part of the designated territory for the cultivation of the Romagna Shallot.
Awarded with a PGI mark in 1997, this produce is used for its peculiar flavor, in between garlic and onion. Its origins can be found in the Middle East, in particular in the city of Ascalone of Giudea and also mentioned in Ovid and Pliny the Older’s texts.
Its production area extends from Faenza to Castel del Rio and Tredozio.
A typical lunch with Shallot includes for sure a first course of green tagliolini with Shallot ragù, paired with a glass of Trebbiano wine.
A lovely after lunch walk in Castel Guelfo will reveal the history of this town: there are four towers connected by the walls, that still today enclose the town center, testifying to the defensive function of these buildings. The real core of the town safety was the Cassero, transformed into an elegant town gate.
When in Imola, the foothills of the Apennines are already visible and in this direction, we reach the third stop of this itinerary: Castel del Rio.
Castel del Rio is a mountain town dating back to the XV century: the Alidosi family built here the monuments that still today decorate the town: Alidosi Palace and Alidosi Bridge.
The typical produce of these hills covered in woods of chestnuts trees is the local Marrone (chestnut) of Castel del Rio.
Featuring medium to big chestnuts and a crunchy but sweet pulp, it naturally became a particular ingredient for many local dishes: pheasant meat, tagliolini, fritters, castagnaccio or meringue. But the most traditional way to enjoy these autumn delicacies is roasting chestuts on the fire, to be paired with Passito wine or Cagnina.