“I'm gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” One of the most famous quotes in cinematography fits perfectly with the following itinerary. 72 hours, headfirst, in the gastronomic traditions of Romagna.
See? It really is an offer you can’t refuse!
The tour starts in Forlimpopoli, specifically Casa Artusi. This stop is a must for “all those who love to put on an apron, sit down at the table and enjoy it as much as possible” as Alberto Capatti said it. Casa Artusi is not only a museum dedicated to Pellegrino Artusi, nor only a restaurant and shop, it is also − and especially − a place where the traditions of Romagna cuisine are preserved.
There is no better way to start this itinerary than with a cooking class, inside the walls, that contribute to handing down the Artusian inheritance. There are numerous choices, from a practical course on the making of traditional plates from Romagna and Italy, to lessons on preparing a menu using the best raw materials and lessons on Artusian recipes.
The important thing is to arm yourself with love and patience and not be afraid of getting your hands dirty!
The second day you will learn about an ingredient that is always present on tables in Romagna, especially during festivities: eel. The Antica Manifattura dei Marinati, set in the historical centre of Comacchio, holds the Eel Museum. Here you can really see the strong ties between the people from Comacchio and the products that come from their sea.
At this point, tasting eel cooked in all its variants is a must. The most popular version is marinated but it is also cooked in many other ways, for example on the grill, in broth, cut into small slices or with cabbage.
The important thing is that you always eat it with a piadina [simple local flat bread] and a glass of PDO Bosco Eliceo Uva d’Oro, the only red wine that perfectly pairs with eel dishes.
From Comacchio you make your way to Ferrara, land of scrumptious culinary traditions. After having walked the cobbled streets in the historic centre and seen places of the era of the d'Este family, it is now time to discover the typical dishes of this town and taste at least one among the most famous.
Pasticcio ferrarese is one of them, a shortcrust pie filled with pasta, ragù sauce, bechamel and mushrooms, baked in the oven in specific copper pans. It may seem like these ingredients don’t match, but what they make together is really delicious.
Another well-known dish is cappellacci di zucca [butternut squash-filled tortellini]. The origins are so old that this kind of pasta is mentioned in recipe books that belonged to the servers of the d'Este family in the Renaissance period. It is a fresh-egg pasta filled with a mixture of butternut squash, Parmigiano-Reggiano, eggs, grated bread, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Last but not least, you have to try the PGI Salama da sugo, a pork sausage prepared by grinding the various parts of the pig and left to age. It has to be eaten hot, without the casing and with a fair quantity of pureed potatoes.
This is when you will start feeling full and in a good mood, but there are still two more stops before the end of this food-filled tour of Romagna cuisine.
Save some room and don’t give up on calories!
One of these two stops is in Cesenatico. Besides being the home of the piadina [simple local flat bread], a little thicker than the one in Rimini, Cesenatico is famous for its different homemade fresh egg pastas: pappardelle, cappelletti, strozzapreti, and finally passatelli.
And for dessert? A nice slice of bustrengo. Yes, it’s a weird name but the taste is divine! It is a homemade cake made with 32 ingredients: 20 of which are known and the other 12 are jealously kept secret. The basic ingredients are flour and dried nuts and fruits such as almonds, walnuts and figs.
I’m sure you’ll all agree that this itinerary deserves to end with a proper glass (or more) of PDO wine from the hills of Rimini! The best place for this? You choose; Rimini, with a sea view and lulled by the waves or one of the villages of Valmarecchia such as Verucchio, Pennabilli or San Leo, with a relaxing and calming view of the rolling hills of Romagna.
The common characteristic of the wines produced in the hills of Rimini is their one-thousand-year-old tradition, created by love for good things, and the fertile and genuine land where the vineyards absorb the influence of the sea.
Whether you enjoy smooth red wine or fresh white wine, we can suggest which one to order. Romagna Sangiovese is one of the most famous and loved wines even outside of the Emilia-Romagna region. It is intense and has an aroma of plums and cherries, but that’s not all. It is blunt and almost raw, yet so lively that it flames up your heart and soul. Maybe this is why they say it is the wine that most represents Romagna.
If you love the gold and bright reflections of white wine, then we suggest you order a glass of Trebbiano, you can choose between still or sparkling. Its origins actually date back to the beginning of the Etruscan culture. It has come a long way since then and, without a doubt, the expert hands of the people from Romagna have been able to transform these grapes into one of the most loved wines of the region: savoury, dry and fresh.
You choose! Cheers!