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Emilia-Romagna

Emilia-Romagna

Stretching from the lush plains of the Po Valley down to the rugged Apennine mountains, beautiful Emilia-Romagna is the beating heart of Italian cuisine, and home to some of the country's most important foods.

Every single one of Italy's twenty regions has a wonderful food scene worth investigating, but it's hard to argue against Emilia-Romagna being the true heartland of Italian cuisine. This is, after all, the home of Parmigiano Reggiano, balsamic vinegar and Prosciutto di Parma, as well as some of Italy's most famous wines. Italian gastronomy would be much worse off without the bounty of Emilia-Romagna.

The Romans were first to realise the agricultural potential of the area – they settled in Emilia-Romagna over 2,000 years ago, and the fertile Po Valley quickly became the breadbasket of the Roman Republic. That legacy lives on today – the climate and fertile flood plains of the Po Valley result in some incredible growing and pasture land, making for exceptional fruit, vegetables and cereal crops.

Head to the region's capital of Bologna and you'll find one of Italy's richest food subcultures. This is, to many people, the spiritual home of pasta dishes like lasagne and tortellini, as well as the birthplace of the world famous ragù Bolognese. This rich meaty ragù still holds a special place in Bologna, but you'll find it normally comes with silky ribbons of tagliatelle, not the spaghetti to which we've become accustomed in places like the UK and US.

As if there wasn't enough in Bologna to keep you occupied, Emilia-Romagna boasts more stunning, postcard-worthy towns with strong gastronomic scenes. Just thirty minutes away, the cobbled streets and columns of Modena are a must visit – home to the famous restaurant Osteria Francescana. There are the beautiful basilicas of Ravenna, the palatial gardens of Piacenza, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ferrara in the north – Emilia-Romagna is a peppered with beautiful towns, and they're all worthy of a lunch visit.

Although food in Emilia-Romagna does often involve pork and pasta, there's an incredibly varied cuisine at work under the surface – one that deserves to be fully explored should you get a chance. Scroll down for some of this region's fascinating food stories, then try your hand at some of the area's delicious recipes that'll help you recreate a taste of Emilia-Romagna in your own home.

Emilia-Romagna: a complete foodie guide

Get to grips with everything this food-centric region has to offer with our complete foodie guide to Emilia-Romagna

Italian Christmas cake

This Italian Christmas cake recipe is a speciality of the Emilia-Romagna region, often given as a gift to friends and family. Packed with nuts, honey and dried fruit – including Italian citron – the filling is rich, sticky and sweet. Give it a try!

Living in luxury

Bologna's world-famous food park

We were one of the first to experience Eataly World FICO – a huge theme park just outside Bologna where you can learn about and taste the incredible regional foods of Italy. Take a look at what's inside.

Land of meat

Panpepato

Panpepato (or pampapato) is a dense, dark, spiced cake typical of the city of Ferrara – check out Valeria Necchio's fantastic recipe to make your own and taste it for yourself.

The chefs of Emilia-Romagna

Grazia Soncini

Aurora Mazzucchelli