Chapter 8: Emilia -Romagna
Emilia-Romagna has without any doubts one of the richest heritage of food and wine between all Italian regions. You can imagine our excitement this week when me and Carlotta decided to talk about this region for our weekly food and wine pairing.
Scroll down to Carlotta’s food story here.
Maybe not everyone knows I used to live in Emilia for 5 years of my teen life, exactly in Reggio Emilia town. Those times are still some of the best times of my life, I had a lot of fun (and a lot of food) there and met some of the people who I can still call friends after almost 15 years.
So if I would have to describe this region with 3 words would be: friendly, open and gourmand.
Signing the border between north and central Italy, the region stretches 250 kilometers across Italy, almost from coast to coast, and has Tuscany and Marche in its south borders and Lombardy and Veneto in the north ones.
On the east side it opens to the Adriatic sea which influences a lot the climate of the Romagna area, with Rimini and Ravenna as main cities, being more mild and drier. The sea breeze from the Adriatic coastline provides a moderating effect on the temperature here, cooling the hot daytime temperatures to prevent excess evapotranspiration.
Moving west, to the earth of the Pianura Padana, where Bologna, Parma, Modena and Piacenza are, the climate is wetter, more rigid with a lot of fog.
This region is one of the oldest wine regions of Italy and one of the most planted with 60K hectares of vineyards.
Despite its wide portfolio of well-known Italian and international varieties, Emilia-Romagna’s uniqueness comes from its rare local DOC wines, like the one I have chosen to talk about today: Colli di Rimini Rebola.
Emilia-Romagna’s wine production is divided evenly between whites and reds, the dominant varieties being Malvasia and Lambrusco, Trebbiano, Barbera and Bonarda and of course the famous Sangiovese di Romagna.
A large percentage of these grapes are used to produce sparkling wines, either frizzante or spumante, of which the most notable are from the five Lambrusco DOCs (Salamino di Santa Croce, di Sorbara, Grasparossa di Castelvetra, Modena and Reggiano).
Some of the most well known and traditional pairings are made with Tortellini in Brodo and Lambrusco wine, as well as Tigelle filled with Mortadella or Prosciutto di Parma, or the Tagliatelle with Bolognese sauce paired with Sangiovese di Romagna.
For our today’s pairing we decided to go (as always) for a less known hidden gem, presenting you a small organic winery, Valle delle Lepri and their white wine: Pignoletto.
They were one of the first organic wineries in Romagna (always remember that Emilia and Romagna are considered as two different regions wine wise) since 1992.
Family owned, with a total of 11 hectares (10 of vineyards and 1 of Olive trees) their focus is to produce more and more natural wines, with a huge respect and attention to the health of their consumers.
Biodiversity and low intervention in the vineyards (no chemicals but some biodynamic preparations) and in the cellar (only native yeasts selected) are the key figures of their philosophy.
The wine is made with 100% Pignoletto (or Grechetto gentile), an indigenous grape from the area. It has a golden colour and a very intriguing nose, ripen yellow fruit, some sweet notes, honey, dried fruit, and also some medical herbs and balsamic notes.
In the mouth the wine is round and gentle, the acidity is medium and it has a beautiful savory final.
A very harmonious and pleasant wine which stays perfectly with the Crescione that Carlotta made this week !
Both the food and the wine are not too structured and the wine stays perfectly with both variations, the vegetarian one matches its fatty sensations from the cheese with the acidity and salty-savory notes of the wine while the cold cuts one which has more savory notes matches perfectly with the roundness and smoothness of the wine.
Carlotta’s food story
When Manu proposed we tackled Emilia Romagna as the next region I accepted without any hesitation as I knew I would have an extensive selection of recipes to choose from. Wanting to respect the difference between the two distinct parts of the region I chose a dish from Romagna, the same area where Manu’s wine is produced.
I chose to share with you the recipe for Crescione Romagnolo, also nicknamed the “Piadina’s cousin”. A flat bread made with water and olive oil, filled with almost any combination of delicious ingredients you can think of, sealed by pressing the edges with a fork and cooked on a cast iron pan until golden on both sides.
It can be considered a street food and enjoyed at basically any time of the day, sitting on the endless stretches of beach along the Romanian coast with a glass of chilled Lambrusco or as you wander through the picturesque squares of Ravenna. Crescione Verde (Garden cress) is the filling traditionally prepared, from which the dish takes its name too, which is cooked with other wild herbs, softened onions, salt and pepper.
Other great fillings are prosciutto cotto and stracchino cheese, smashed potatoes and sausage, tomato sauce and mozzarella…etc.
Follow the link here to check the complete recipe in Carlotta’s blog.