Eat in Modena: Italian Restaurants in Modena

Eat in Modena: Italian Restaurants in Modena

Travelers to Emilia Romagna Italy often focus on Bologna, and with good cause. It’s one of the top cities for food in Italy. Emilia’s restaurant scene shouldn’t be limited to Bologna. It only takes 30 minutes to travel from Bologna to Modena. One of our favorite cities in Italy, it’s worth the trip just to eat in Modena! The little province of Modena covers less than 3,000 square kilometers. But there are so many good places to eat that it’s worth making a trip to visit Modena. Here are our recommendations for some of the must-eat Modena restaurants. Where to Eat in Modena Modena is home to some of the best foods to eat in Italy, including prosciutto and Parmigiano Reggiano. There is an amazing local market, the Mercato Albinelli. And, Modena is the heart of Lambrusco territory. Because when it comes to putting together a list of what to eat in Italy, the food in Modena has to be on the top of the list. It’s home to amazing fresh Italian pasta and more! Trattoria Aldina Stinco. One word describes why a visit to Trattoria Aldina is required. It’s stinco. Just across the pedestrian-friendly road from the Mercato Albinelli, there’s an apartment building. Head upstairs to visit Trattoria Aldina. It’s almost like stepping inside someone’s home, or a speakeasy, for lunch. With an emphasis on typical Modenese cuisine and handmade pastas, there is no real menu at Trattoria Aldina. The server will simply describes the  options, usually in Italian. If the server mentions the stinco, don’t pass it up. A slow roasted pork shin, it’s fabulous. Trattoria Aldina Via Luigi...
Stay in Parma: A Traveler’s Guide to the Best Hotels

Stay in Parma: A Traveler’s Guide to the Best Hotels

A trip to explore Parma should be less focused on the geographical differences between the towns that surround the city, and more focused on where to find food experiences. Perhaps they have their priorities right. After all, UNESCO recently named Parma a Creative City for Gastronomy. But, even if your focus is on eating, you need some place to stay in Parma, right? Parma, famous for its cheeses and hams, is a popular spot among food travelers to Emilia Romagna. Parma lies along the Parma River, offering riverside walks or lazy afternoons spent lounging in the Parco Ducale, or window shopping along Strada Luigi Carlo Farini. There are also churches, monasteries, and theaters to keep culture hounds busy. There is a cathedral, several beautiful squares, and a famous pink-hued baptistery. And, we have some recommendations of where to stay in Parma so that you can enjoy the culinary delights of this portion of Emilia Romagna. Where to Stay in Parma – Central Staying within the city offers some obvious perks, including the ability to explore the city itself. And, it’s nice to walk around before dinner, enjoy an Aperol Spritz for aperitivo, and slowly stroll back. But, the historic center of Parma is pedestrian only. Many hotels offer parking for a fee, but if you have a rental car, check your parking options ahead of time. There are no free parking lots in Parma, as there are in Modena. Hotel Palace Maria Luigi This four-star hotel in the heart of Parma features over a hundred rooms, in an historic building. During the day, walk to the most famous attractions of Parma,...
Stay in Bologna: The Best Accommodations in the Region

Stay in Bologna: The Best Accommodations in the Region

Pellegrino Artusi, the father of the national cuisine of Italy supposedly said “When you hear speak of Bologna cuisine make a bow, for it deserves it.” The food of Bologna is known throughout the world—from tagliatelle, to ragù, to mortadella. And, in order to fully explore the cuisine of Bologna, it helps to find a comfortable, and unique place to stay in Bologna. One thing to note when choosing a place to stay in Bologna. Most of the hotels are within the old city walls. But, most of the city center is a restricted driving zone. There are no real signs that tell you this. You just sort of need to know. Even if the hotel offers parking nearby, this can be a problem. When staying at a city center hotel, you are exempt from these driving restrictions, but the cameras that monitor the cars in the city don’t seem to know that. We’ve been caught at least once with a ticket mailed to us months later because we were driving to our hotel. Where to Stay in Bologna: Central Almost every food traveler in Emilia Romagna ends up in Bologna at some point. And, most likely, that traveler is staying in the center of the city. There is no shortage of hotels within the city center, but these are our recommendations of where to stay in Bologna. Casa Bertagni Amongst a sea of typical European-style hotels, Casa Bertagni stands apart from the rest. The accommodations are within a luxury guest house with a focus on art and architecture. Enjoy rooms with themes such as Justice, The Force, and...
Mortadella – Seeing How the “Sausage” is Made

Mortadella – Seeing How the “Sausage” is Made

There is a saying that goes, “No one wants to see how the sausage is made”. When it comes to mortadella, though, I’ve been desperate to find out how it is made, and the story behind it. The question is what is mortadella anyway? Mortadella – That’s Baloney Like many kids who grew up in the States, I grew up on bologna sandwiches. I could spot that round plastic container, with the yellow backing, from a mile away. I still remember the sound it made, when that plastic backing was ripped off. The smell of the bologna when it sizzled in a frying pan is another thing I remember. Yes, my grandmother often made me fried bologna sandwiches, served on white Wonder Bread, with ketchup of course. An all American bologna lunch was served. As I got older I started to despise bologna, and most of the other lunch meats my mother served me. Liverwurst. Olive loaf. That fake turkey meat. Processed ham. It got to the point where I despised it all. I grew into an adult with a little bit of processed meat PTSD from my overly bologna saturated childhood. As I started to eat Italian cured meats, it took me some time to develop a taste. To me, prosciutto was raw, pancetta fatty, and mortadella, was, well, baloney. It was round and pink, and to me “processed.” But, oh was I mistaken. Mortadella vs Bologna I am not sure how the mortadella meat that was eaten by Italian American immigrants turned into American bologna. Obviously there is the connection that mortadella was from Bologna, so I understand...
What is Lambrusco – Italy’s Secret Wines

What is Lambrusco – Italy’s Secret Wines

When you think of Italian wines, what do you think of? Do you ever think about Lambrusco? More often it is the Tuscan wines, like Sangiovese, Chianti (which is made from Sangiovese), Barolo and Montepulciano. Maybe you think of Prosecco, or God forbid Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio. But vino Lambrusco is having a comeback, due in part to some amazing Italian winemakers. It’s no secret that I have, perhaps, an unhealthy fascination with sparkling wines. My motto for years has been that Champagne and sparkling wine should not be reserved merely for special occasions. When living in Chicago, with quite the collection of wine in our “cellar”, which included an amazing wine cooler in our den . We would often drink bubbles merely because it was a Tuesday night. I think everyone should do the same.  What is Sparkling Wine? Champagne is a term reserved for sparkling wine that is produced in the Champagne region of France. End stop. If someone is making sparkling wine in Italy, Spain, Portugal or the US, it legally cannot be called Champagne. It must be called sparkling wine. This is something I learned very early on in my sparkling wine drinking days. During our early trips to Italy, I loved drinking Prosecco, a type of Italian sparkling wine. I love drinking Cava, a type of Spanish sparkling wine. And now I love drinking Lambrusco, a wine made from an ancient grape that is seeing a Renaissance of sorts. Just don’t call it Champagne. Why Lambrusco? Lambrusco is a wine that I was wholly unfamiliar with, despite my years of learning about wine. It was...
What is Eataly World Bologna – FICO Bologna Brings Italian Food to All

What is Eataly World Bologna – FICO Bologna Brings Italian Food to All

When offered the opportunity to visit a self proclaimed food amusement park, you should always say yes. And, that is how we ended up visiting FICO Eataly World Bologna in its first week of operation. But, what is a food amusement park? And does FICO Bologna fit the bill? Does it bring Italian food to the world? What is the Eataly Italy Concept Eataly is a commercial concept where Italian food is offered online, and in speciality shops, from Manhattan to Sao Paolo to Seoul. It is the largest Italian marketplace in the world. The Eataly locations we’ve been to are essentially Italian food stores, normally with a restaurant or two inside.  We recommend the Eataly Italy locations, including Eataly Bologna and Eataly Forli in Emilia Romagna, as great places to pick up some food souvenirs, and because the Eataly restaurants on site are carefully curated. They are Eataly outposts of some of the most traditional restaurants in those areas, including da Amerigo from Savigno, and Trattoria di Giuliana from Bagno.  It’s success is spawning some competitors, and rumor has it that Jose Andres and Ferran Adria are hoping to building something similar in New York to bring Spanish food to the world. What is FICO Eataly World But, FICO Eataly World takes the original Eataly concept and puts it on steroids. For travelers who have experienced Eataly Italy, or in the States, this version has a familiar feel. You shop. You eat. You leave. For other travelers, Bologna’s FICO (which stands for Fabbrica Italiana Contadina) is intended as a way to bring the regional foods of Italy all under...