Europe, Food, Travel

A Look Back: Remembering Emilia Romagna, Italy

August 26, 2012

It’s amazing how quickly one can adjust to eating pasta everyday in Italy

So here’s the thing, dear readers: in case you didn’t already know this about me, I have a bit of a passion for traveling.  Starting with a school trip to Italy at 16 and continuing throughout my twenties, I spent weeks and months traveling the continental U.S., Hawaii, Central America, and much of Europe.  The foreign country I have visited the most is (magical, gorgeous, enchanting!) Italy.  My three trips there ranged from ten days in 1999 with my Latin class (whirlwind, I tell you!), to four days in 2005 on my first solo trip through Europe (basking in the heavenly cliffside villages of the Cinque Terre), and most recently, I spent a month in northern Italy in early 2011.

Chiozza: a tiny hilltop village in Garfagnana, a mountainous region of Tuscany

Let me tell you this: staying in one country/region for several weeks or a whole month is the best, most rewarding way to travel.  Even more than that, staying with locals is the key to understanding the foreign soil that you’re inhabiting.  In a nutshell: hostels are a good way to a.)travel cheaply and b.) meet other travelers.  What I’ve come to appreciate more are work exchanges or farm stays, where basically you stay with a family and they feed you in exchange for varying amounts of work hours per day. This method is a.) about as cheap as you can get, accommodation and food-wise, and b.)infinitely more enriching and educational than sharing a dorm room with four-twelve other tired/partying/lost/homesick country-hoppers.

Oh, how I could go on!  But the meat (ha) of what I want to share with you today is Italian meals- or at least, meals I enjoyed while in Italy.  This shot below was a breakfast I had in Bologna, located in the northern region of Emilia Romagna.  This was before my farm stay began, and so I was couchsurfing (i.e., fending for myself food-wise).  I’d gone to the city farmers market, and was blown away by the vast assortment of offerings: varieties of meats, fruits & vegetables, oils, eggs, olives, cheese, and fish, to name a few.  I was, however, satisfied with my purchases (which also included garlic and fresh mozzarella, of course).  Aren’t these yolks ridiculously orange??

Old standby foods: eggs and spinach, or uova e spinaci

Next, we have a couple of examples of what a heavily carnivorous English-Italian family serve their eager American helper upon learning of her vegetarianism:

Let’s see…we’ve got rice, peas….and some sort of red bean. Plus of course mozzarella cheese. Basic but satisfying!

Of course, the requisite pasta: spaghetti with very ripe tomatoes, grated parmesan cheese, and black pepper

I would also like to direct your attention to the very first picture at the top of the page: spaghetti with tuna fish!  I’d never eaten these two things together prior to my stay in Dozza, but it turned out to be a common, and surprisingly tasty, midday meal.

The last featured meal is one that I helped to make, although the fillings I chose were not the traditional ones 🙂

A thin flatbread typical of the Romagna region called a piadina. I stuffed mine with chili and brie cheese, but things like ham, mozzarella, and veggies are more common

For more information on the Italian piadina, check out the links on the bottom of the page.

Finally, how cute is this woodstove/oven?

Quaint, and practical: this stove generated heat for the whole two-story house

If you’re interested in cooking, travel, Italy, or being told which websites to visit, here’s a handy list of links:

Thanks for stopping by!

*Some of the material in this post was originally discussed on my Italy travel blog, Lovesong of the Road.


 Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.  -Julia Child

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