Emilia Romagna Food Guide
Over the last 15 years, we’ve been to over 15 cities and towns in Italy. We fell in love with the country. Italy was one of the first countries we visited overseas – Ireland was first to visit family. Italy was second. When living in Chicago we took Italian language classes. We considered buying property in Italy for years.
After watching the No Reservations episode with Anthony Bourdain touring Emilia Romagna Italy, I felt like I understood what to expect during our time traveling the region. But nothing prepared us for what we learned about the food in Emilia Romagna. I could not have anticipated we would return to the region, 4 times in 18 months.
I never thought I’d end up writing an entire book about the gastronomy of Italy based on this foodie region, home to some of the best Italian food. In 2017, though, I published The Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna: Tasting the history and tradition of Italy. This Emilia Romagna food guide only scratches the surface but should help you understand a little more about some of my favorite Italian food. Because there are differences between Italian food by region, and Emilia Romagna Italy has some of the best food.
The Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna
If you are serious about traveling to Emilia Romagna in search of the best food in Italy, check out my book: The Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna: How to taste the history and tradition of Italy.
My new book The Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna can help you plan the perfect trip through the breadbasket of Italy. In a full 250 pages of culinary guidebook yumminess, I walk through the key products of the region, and how to taste them. Yes, that means there is an entire chapter on topics such as cheese, meat, pasta, and even gelato! Part II of the book explores the wines of Emilia Romagna, and how to taste them.
If, by the end of Part II you are not either: 1) drooling all over your copy of The Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna; or 2) booking your flight to Bologna, Part III includes the practical side of exploring Emilia Romagna for food. This includes how to get to Emilia Romagna, how to get around, where to stay, and, most important: Where to eat in Emilia Romagna!
We’ve shared so much of our journey eating and drinking in Emilia Romagna throughout this blog, but I wanted to offer something a little more. A road map to exploring the best food in Italy!
Click here to purchase The Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna on Amazon now! Available in both Kindle and Paperback versions.
What is the Via Emilia
Emilia Romagna is a large region that reaches from Rimini on the east coast almost to Milan. What is now Emilia Romagna was originally two distinct districts of Emilia Italy and Romagna Italy. Romagna includes Ferrara, Ravenna, Forli-Cesena, and Rimini. The Emilia region, to the west, includes Piacenza, Parma, Reggio Emilia, and Modena. The most popular cities for culinary travelers are the cities of Emilia.
Emilia encompasses Bologna (home of lasagne), Modena (home of traditional balsamic vinegar), Parma (home to Prosciutto ham), and Reggio-Emilia (which gives its name to Parmigiano-Reggiano). In addition, there is a little town to the west called Piacenza, home to pancetta. I haven’t even mentioned the white truffles! It is a must-visit region for any foodie!
And this area is known as the Via Emilia, a food and wine route that runs from the Adriatic Coast, to Piacenza, stretching almost to Milan. Along this route are some of the best-known foodie areas of Italy, including Bologna, Modena, and Parma. The Via Emilia and the surrounding areas are home to some of the most amazing DOP and IGP products and specialty ingredients Italy has to offer. The best part is that all of the towns along the trail are less than 20 kilometers away from each other. That means it is easy to do a full foodie road trip in a short amount of time.
How to Eat the Best of Emilia Romagna
The Emilia Romagna map is located with pretty cities and the best food. Many people don’t even know what Emilia Romagna is famous for, even though they know the products. It is, after all, the best region in Italy for food, hands down. And Emilia Romagna tourism is all about the food!
Learn more about what to eat in the Emilia Romagna region in these posts:
Some of the best Emilia foods include cheeses! Modena, Parma, and Reggio Emilia are home to the King of Cheeses, but there are other cheeses produced in Emilia Romagna as well. After all, this is one of the best regions in Italy when it comes to cheese. For cheese lovers, there’s nothing better than to tour Emilia Romagna for cheese.
Some of the best Emilia Romagna food dishes include cured meats. We’ve toured Italian meat cellars and learned all about how they make Italian cured meat. But, there is one meat that stands above the rest. For meat lovers who travel Emilia Romagna, there is something special about not only eating plenty of cured meat but also learning how it is produced.
One of the most special of the Emilia Romagna food products is Aceto Balsamico or traditional Balsamic Vinegar. This is the real stuff, not the supermarket stuff. And there is an art form to producing it. A great Modena food tour will teach all about how they make Balsamico in Modena.
What To Eat in Bologna Italy? Mortadella
One of the top Bologna food products has to be mortadella! We toured one of the top mortadella producers in Italy and got an inside scoop. Just don’t call it baloney!
Emilia Romagna Travel Means Pasta
It’s not possible to explore the food valley of Italy without eating pasta.
Emilia Romagna Wine Region Tourism
No Emilia Romagna road trip is complete without exploring some of the Emilia Romagna wineries. Traveling around this part of Italy for Emilia-Romagna cuisine doesn’t stop with Emilia Romagna food, they have amazing wines as well! Because the region was originally split in two it means that the wines of the region can be considered both Emilia wine and Romagna wine. The Bologna hills wine region and the Lambrusco wineries, in particular, are some of the top Emilia Romagna destinations.
What Is Lambrusco – Lambrusco gets a bad rap, learn why that is unfounded
Albana di Romagna DOCG – Italy’s Secret Wine – Romagna wine, one of the first DOCG white wines in Italy
Negretto – Another of Italy’s Secret Wines – A wine with a unique Emilia Romagna history
Italian Sparkling Wine and Bologna Bubbles – Learning about Pignoletto, my favorite Emilia wine, and wineries near Bologna Italy
Drinking Wine Along the Via Emilia – Emilia Romagna road trip for wine and food in Emilia Romagna
Lunch With an Italian Wine Maker – Corte d’ Aibo – A Bologna Hills winery and great Bologna day trip
Gavioli Wine Museum in Nonantola – An Emilia Romagna wine museum that also has something for car enthusiasts too
The Aperol Spritz and the Italian Aperitivo – Our favorite Italian cocktail
What is Bologna known for? Some of the best food in Italy is also some of the best food in Bologna! The city of Bologna and the Bologna region is home to some of the best restaurants, best food products, and best Italian wines. The Bologna wine produced in the hills just outside of the city go perfectly with some of the best Bologna dishes including tagliatelle ragu, lasagne, and mortadella.
Although Bologna could be considered the food capital of Italy and the capital of Emilia Romagna, Modena is really my favorite. Some of the best Modena food products include Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Modena, and Balsamic Vinegar. And some of the best restaurants in Emilia Romagna (and the world) are in Modena.
The best restaurants in Parma Italy always serve the top Emilia Romagna food products, including Prosciutto di Parma and culatello. Some of the top Parma Italy points of interest, though, lie outside the city, in the Parma region. This is where it is possible to learn how some of the top products that are the key to Emilia Romagna cuisine are produced and enjoyed.
Unique Experience? Try Salumoterapia
Emilia Romagna Travel Tips
One of the best ways to experience Emilia Romagna cuisine is by booking an Emilia Romagna food tour, or even a day trip from Bologna, Modena, or Parma. Ever since watching that Anthony Bourdain Emilia Romagna episode, I’ve been hooked on figuring out how to create an Emilia Romagna travel guide that lets everyone travel and experience the gastronomy of the region just like the episode of Anthony Bourdain No Reservations Emilia Romagna. Here are some of our posts with our top Emilia Romagna food tour tips:
Emilia Romagna Food Travel Guide – How to get even more tips on organizing an independent Emilia Romagna tour
Emilia Romagna Road Trip: Tips on Driving in Italy
A Little Emilia Romagna Humor: What are the Toilets Like in Italy
The Easiest Way to Experience Slow Food Emilia Romagna – Discover Ferrari Slow Food and Fast Cars
Modena: Things To Do in Emilia Romagna
Because Modena is one of our favorite cities in Emilia Romagna, here are a few of the best food experiences in and around Modena. By booking a tour, it’s possible to learn more about the food of Emilia Romagna, and how it is produced. And all of that happens outside of the city. Go learn about Emilia foods from the experts!
Modena Italy Food Tours
|Tour||Duration||Price From||Book It!|
|Modena Food & Wine Tour - Parmigiano and Balsamic||4 Hours||$249|
|Modena Cooking Class at Home||3 Hours||$56|
|Balsamic Vinegar Tour||2 Hours||$43|
No foodies guide to Italy and Emilia Romagna would be complete without a thorough discussion of Italian pasta. In addition to learning about the unique types of Emilia Romagna pasta, and how to find a cooking class in Emilia Romagna, here are some recommended pasta cooking classes to help you learn more about the cuisine of Emilia Romagna. Because why stop by looking for the best pasta in Bologna when you can learn to make your own.
Emilia-Romagna Food Courses – Pasta Making in Italy
Create Your Own Pasta with a Professional Emilia Romagna Pasta Maker in Bologna – From €140
Enjoy a Local Modena Market Tour and Learn to Cook Pasta Bolognese From a Local – From €87
Dining in Modena at a Cesarina’s Home With Pasta Cooking Experience – From €85
Small Group Pasta Cooking Class in Parma – From €60
No Emilia Romagna travel guide is complete without a serious discussion about the King of Cheeses – Parmigiano Reggiano. Sure it’s possible to wander the outdoor stalls of the Bologna food market in the Quadrilatero to see all of the cured meats and cheeses. When people ask, though: What is Bologna Italy known for, the most likely answer is the cheese products that are generally produced in Modena, Parma, and Reggio Emilia – go figure! Some of the top Emilia Romagna tourist attractions are the dairies where the produce the best Emilia Romagna cheese.
Emilia Romagna Cheese – Best Parmigiano Reggiano Tour Options
Parma Food and Wine Tours – Half Day Parma Food Tour – From €73
Cheese Tour in the Parma Region Italy – Private Parmigiano Tour and Tasting – From €39
Emilia Romagna Itinerary – Modena Food and Wine Tour With Parmigiano Reggiano – From €199
What to Eat in Parma – Parmigiano Reggiano Tasting Tour – From €49