Weekend con gusto

Weekend “gourmet” in Emilia. Da Bologna “la grassa” alla cucina che fa dimagrire…


Italy: are you looking for a weekend that offers history, art, culture and … “gourmet” excellence?
Today we take you to some of the splendid Emilian cities including Piacenza, Parma, Reggio, Modena, Ferrara and Bologna, not surprisingly nicknamed “La Grassa”.

Bologna dà il via al nostro tour “gourmet” delle città dell’Emilia

The cities of Emilia boast an ancient culinary tradition full of delicious dishes, prepared both by the homemade ‘zdore’ and by innovative top chefs.Among the most traditional, the fried gnocco and tigelle, paired with cold cuts and the erbazzone, savory pie. made with boiled chard, eggs, onion and Parmigiano Reggiano. Bologna “la Grassa” triumphs in homemade pasta: lasagna, popular and delicious. The classics are green pasta with Bolognese sauce and béchamel.

 lasagna to go!

 “Mo vè” … welcome to L’è Bon, a small cooking workshop in the heart of Bologna run by the very cordial ‘lasagnara’ Valeria Francescon and Paolo’s husband. Their famous lasagna has already won numerous awards and accolades. Affordable prices, a good wine of own production, the possibility to taste the dishes both in the restaurant and at home or around the city, as many do, with a take away.

Tortelli, tortellini, anolini and cappelletti
Strictly made with fresh pasta, they change shape from city to city: very small in Reggio Emilia, round in Parma, crescent-shaped in Piacentino, while in Bologna it is possible to find them in squares. Even the filling can vary, from the classic meat sauce, bread and cheese, to herbs and ricotta, to pumpkin and amaretti, or potatoes. Tradition has it that they are served in chicken broth.

I tradizionali tortellini in brodo in gallina
Tortelli, tortellini, anolini and cappelletti
Strictly made with fresh pasta, they change shape from city to city: very small in Reggio Emilia, round in Parma, crescent-shaped in Piacentino, while in Bologna it is possible to find them in squares. Even the filling can vary, from the classic meat sauce, bread and cheese, to herbs and ricotta, to pumpkin and amaretti, or potatoes. Tradition has it that they are served in chicken broth.
Torta Barozzi

Michelin starred restaurants

I Portici, Bologna
La Palta Emilia , Borgonovo Val Tidone
Nido del Picchio, Carpaneto Piacentino
L’Erba del Re, Modena

Il portale del Duomo di Modena

Iacobucci, Castel Maggiore
Antica Corte Pallavicina, Polesine Parmense
Ca’ Matilde, Rubbianino
Trattoria da Amerigo, Savigno

Lo spettacolare Treato Valli a Reggio Emilia

La Capanna di Eraclio, La Zanzara, Codigoro
Arnaldo-Clinica Gastronomica
, Rubiera
Marconi, Sasso Marconi
Inkiostro, Parizzi, Parma

Parma, Giuseppe Verdi si riposa su una panchina , all’ingresso del museo a lui dedicato

Local restaurants

Osteria Bottega, Bologna
La lanterna di Diogene, Bomporto
Campanini, Busseto
Locanda Mariella, Celestano
Laghi, Campogallian
Entrà, Finale Emilia

Nelle Osterie e trattorie emiliane, i fornelli sono il regno delle ‘zdore’ , le chef casalinghe

Antica locanda del falco, Gazzola
Osteria di Rubbiara, Nonantola
Ai due platani, Parma.
Santo Stefano, Piacenza.
Trattoria del borgo, Valsamoggia
La Pomposa, Modena

Modena, Quando il tortellino diventa “bugiardo”, un piatto di Luca Marchini che, oltre alla Trattoria Pomposa, cura il ristorante stellato L’Erba del Re,

A truly “tavern” for over a hundred years
Al Becco di Legno Via Gianni Palmieri, 7, Bologna An old tavern, the Bolognese cuisine of the past. with the dishes of the past. No sign, only a showcase full of bottles of all kinds with the words “wines and coffee”. Inside two rooms, soft lights, old paintings on the walls.

L’insegna dell’Osteria del Becco di Legno

Not to be missed: the classic weed with sausage, enriched with a touch of bechamel and the full-bodied green nettle tagliatelle, rigorously hand-rolled with a rolling pin and a ragù made with beef, pork belly, a few “smells” and only a shadow of tomato paste. Among the main courses: the Bolognese cutlet made with pork loin, and its even softer “Petroniana” version. Tortellini are also excellent. Lambrusco is the wine.

La gramigna verde con salsiccia

Bologna: I meet the host Raffaele, wearing jeans and a T-shirt, sitting comfortably on the sidewalk to enjoy some air before starting the service in the kitchen.
Hello Raffaele, where does the name of your tavern come from? Here the Società del Becco di Legno met, a group of cheerful characters who loved to party and above all to toast … in Bologna “getting wet” means drinking wine, and having a wooden beak which is a material that absorbs a lot, it is a sign of a good drinker.

Raffaele, Oste storico dell’Osteria del Becco di Legno,
When was the tavern born? In 1920, my family has been running it since ’59. The dishes have remained the same and so has the way of preparing them. No “reinterpretations” then? Certainly not!. In my opinion, the habit of cooking old-fashioned has been lost, as tradition dictates. Now these new kitchens are going, the fashion of modifying or revising the classic Bolognese recipes, You can hardly find the typical dishes anymore, today they are “revisited”, a word that bothers me just to pronounce it.

Cucina bolognese. Quali sono i piatti che bisogna assaggiare ?
La gramigna verde con le salsicce, le tagliatelle verdi e tortellini in brodo di cappone. Provali anche tu…

Scelti, provati e consigliati…

 Irina Trattoria,the surprise out of town.
We are in Savigno, less than an hour’s drive from Bologna, a popular destination for many Bolognese and lovers of local cuisine.At the helm of the restaurant we find the explosive Irina Steccanella. Oginaria di Sassuolo, Irina opens her Osteria Vini d’Italia, boasts prestigious internships with star chefs such as Massimo Bottura at the three-starred Osteria Francescana and NiKo Romito at Casadonna and then settles in the village of Savigno to give birth to her Irina Trattoria with a pretty menu.essential that enhances tradition, but with a contemporary look in search of the uniqueness of the Emilian territory, reconfirming the austerity of this land and the warm smile of a comfortable and familiar table.

Irina Steccanella





Hello Irina, ritual question: where do you like to spend a weekend off? I
like the sea even if lately I have been spending my time in the mountains.Among my fixed destinations there is Asiago to meet Alessandro Dal Degan, dear friend and chef of the Tana di Asiago and to taste his extraordinary land snails, unique in the world! What car do you drive? A Hyundai Jato, it cost little and was what I was looking for.

Guancia brasata al vino su crema di patate

You have attended stages of great chefs: Massimo Bottura, Niko Romito, etc. What is left with you from these experiences? Massimo certainly has a 360-degree openness of mind, I would say Niko’s style, order and cleanliness. Any negative aftermath? Having inherited a heavy burden that is called “responsibility” because, however, for better or for worse, people tend to make comparisons with those names. However, basically, it is a positive thing, even if it is a hard commitment that weighs on your shoulders,

Tra le paste, rigorosamente fate in casa, spiccano i classici tortellini in brodo dal soave profumo di noce moscata

First memory as a child in the kitchen?
The scent of grandma Agnese’s donuts and apple pies.When did the culinary spark start? In 2014 when I went to eat at Uliassi, inebriated by the superlative dishes. I said to myself “You have to do it, cook, shine and have your own restaurant” If she hadn’t become a cook … I would be a hairdresser!I remember that at a certain point in my life I found myself at a crossroads, on one side the stoves and on the other the curlers …. (smiles) As you can see, I chose the kitchen

i tortelloni di ricotta e funghi e una cremosa pasta e fagioli.
i tortelloni di ricotta e funghi e una cremosa pasta e fagioli.
Which dish do you recognize the most in? Tagliatelle al ragù because it was the first thing she did and that made me talk. A straightforward, genuine and no-nonsense dish, probably just like me.
Le tagliatelle gialle al rugu, orgoglio di Irina

Vicolo Colombina.
Young, convivial, welcoming. Genuine, traditional and… Bolognese cuisine! It is no coincidence that the menu is curated by the great Massimiliano Poggi who seduces with ‘his’ lasagnetta with courtyard meat ragu and ‘his’ famous tagliatella, which is rumored to be the best in town … From tortellini in broth to those with taleggio cheese and almonds, from the potato and mortadella flan with Parmigiano Reggiano sauce (yum!) to the classic salami platter.

Massimo Poggi e la sua famosa tagliatella al ragu

The man and the sea
We meet a top chef, Vittorio Cameli, at the helm (it should be said) of The Man and the Sea, an elegant restaurant in the heart of Bologna. Vittorio, in perfect harmony with the name of the restaurant, which recalls the title of Hemingway’s famous novel, is the pilot of a kitchen that, just like a vessel, follows a well-defined path, while letting itself be lulled by the waves.

Vittorio Cameli

Diamo un’occhiata al menu: ovviamente il protagonista è il pesce .

The marine inspiration comes immediately to the table, with a wonderful squid ink bread and a warm shaken seafood salad, where squid, prawn tails, steamed vegetables and a delicious citrus dressing are mixed in a glass jar and then served on the plate.

Insalata di mare shakeratre.
spaghetti Senatore Capelli, aglio fermentato, peperoncino©
bocconcini di sogliola con scampi alla mugnaia su crema di porro, sedano rapa e …il tocco del Maestro , una fogliolina di salvia fritta.
And the first “professional” memory?
A disastrous debut! My dad Mattia was a renowned chef, he had an excellent restaurant, he was highly sought after, he had even been a cook at Onassis. I remember that when I was just over 8 years old, I was already helping him in the kitchen, until one day he asked me to replace a room that didn’t show up. I remember putting on my First Communion jacket and had to bring a bottle of water to my first client. Was it the emotion or was it the wet bottle, in short, I spilled all the water on the customer’s jacket … imagine my desperation …
bavarese all’aracia
polpo alla griglia in un indovinato abbinamento con crema di patate e burrata
Something that only eats if prepared by another person? I have no doubts: the nougat of my dear friends Corrado and Carlo Assenza from Caffè Sicilia in Noto. Inimitable! On his menu we will never find … Products that do not respect seasonality, are a champion of authenticity, always looking for quality, the freshest fish, avoiding farming.
The man and the sea
Vittorio is a chef who must be listened to, he is a “man of the sea” to be guided by, an expert captain who will take you with his vessel to discover new delicious experiences in an itinerary attentive to tastes, aroms, types of cooking. and executions in the kitchen. And from everything that, in my opinion, you understand when a chef is great or, as in the case of Vittorio, very great.

Libra, Bologna
It is the place to live a unique experience, combining the taste and variety of traditional Italian dishes with well-being, thanks to the nutritional balance of the recipes. This large restaurant, store, showroom and school was born from a former printing house and has been beautifully renovated and is a real novelty in the Bolognese gastronomic panorama, featuring a menu made according to the most modern principles of the science of nutrition.

Alcuni scorci di Libra
Il burro non-burro e un delizioso salame di cioccolato dietetico

Here you can live a unique experience, which combines the taste and variety of traditional Italian dishes with well-being, thanks to the nutritional balance of the recipes, all certified by Cucina Evolution, studied by Dr. Chiara Manzi, nutritionist and President of ASSIC (Association for Nutritional Safety in the Kitchen) and founder of Art Joins Nutrition Academy, while at the head of the kitchen we find Chef Andrea Miceli who has studied medicine for 4 years, channeling essential notions for healthy and beneficial nutrition.

Chiara Manzi

I met them for a short interview. Hello Andrea, how difficult was it to leave medicine to devote yourself to cooking? Very difficult, not so much to say goodbye to university, but above all to make my parents digest the fact that I was abandoning my studies. However, I have a wonderful family who understood me and respected my decision. Now I’m proud and for this I have to thank Dr. Manzi and Cucina Evolution.

Chef Miceli da Libra

Chiara, how would you define Libra’s cuisine?
I defined it as anti-aging with Italian food made in Italy, Italian food in evolution to promote longevity. No more traditional dishes then? Yes. To tradition, but no longer in the traditional “way”. On the menu you will find many Bolognese classics such as tortellini in capon broth, lasagna, erbazzone and then again the chocolate salami, caponata, pasta with cacio e pepe, carbonara. Doctor, excuse me if I interrupt you, but the carbonara … gets fat … Not mine with “my” pasta and a special yolk cream, extraordinarily light thanks to denaturation at 50 ° C with inulin. The bacon is expertly toasted and degreased at 130 ° C and the pecorino romano is micro-staggered with a special grater to amplify its flavor. A pinch of turmeric to enhance the color and, thanks to the combination with black pepper, keeps us away from weight gain.

La carbonara anti-aging di Libra

A real revolution …
I think that the dishes of Italian cuisine are destined for the museum, if there is no evolution. A lasagna, a traditional carbonara make you feel heavy … then you go on the scales and the scales … screams! I think that if restaurants continue to cook in a way that is too high in calories and not suited to today’s needs and demands, sooner or later they will lose their clientele.

Grassi e calorie misurate anche nel tradizionale erbazzone bolognese e nel tortino di alici, dal profumo mediterraneo
Spaghetti al nero di seppia e ricci di mare

On your menu, any quotes?
Yes, the caponatina homage to Gualtiero Marchesi. I wanted the strong taste of the Sicilian tradition, in a Marquesian-inspired dish, to start the meal in a satisfying and balanced way, with particular attention to the dosage of each ingredient, mixing aubergines, black olives, capers, celery, onion, carrot , tomato, vinegar and, to give that sweet-sour touch, a pinch of erythritol.

La caponatina in onore di Gualtiero Marchesi

“Erythritol”? Doctor, can you explain to me?
Erythritol, belonging to the polyol family, is a natural sweetener produced starting from the fermentation of sugars present in fruit and other foods of vegetal origin. It has a pleasant taste making it suitable for sweetening hot drinks, including our beloved coffee and to be used in the preparation of desserts, from muffins, creams and mousses, to ice cream or, as in the case of our caponata, it knows how to give that touch of bittersweet. Where can you find it? Here with us and online in the “Shop” section of my site.

In vendita nello shop e online

Andrea, do you have a dream?
Certainly to have a place of my own tomorrow, but it is a distant dream, also because at the moment I am happy and I want to continue this experience. Speaking of dreams, imagine you had a weird one: you became a food, what was it? (laughs) Most likely a rich ragu or a nice boiled meat, because both were significant dishes when I started cooking “seriously”, raising the bar a little.