Taste your way around Emilia-Ro­magna with these re­gional clas­sics

The Sunday Telegraph - Travel - - Cover Story - An­drew Purvis


Brodo, or clear broth – typ­i­cally made by slow-sim­mer­ing beef or veal for four hours or more – pretty much iden­ti­fies a pasta dish as be­ing from Emilia-Ro­magna.

Cap­pel­letti (“lit­tle hats”) in brodo can be found in restau­rants through­out the re­gion, but Parma’s ver­sion is ano­lini in brodo, made with a lo­cal pasta re­sem­bling cir­cu­lar ravi­oli. These are stuffed with a meat sauce made from toma­toes, onion, cel­ery, car­rots, wine, bread­crumbs, grated parme­san and nut­meg.


Pro­sciutto di Parma is unique to Emilia-Ro­magna and has pro­tected des­ig­na­tion of ori­gin (PDO) sta­tus. The name pro­sciutto is generic, re­fer­ring to the hind leg or thigh of a pig, wild boar or even lamb. What makes Parma ham spe­cial is that it is made from pork cured only with sea salt (oth­ers may con­tain ni­trites and colour­ings) then wind-dried for 12 months to three years. The prized part is cu­latello – the top of the leg, aged for at least two years and deep red. Eat it thinly sliced with pasta fritti – pasta dipped in a yeast bat­ter, so it bub­bles, then deep-fried.


Spaghetti bolog­nese is a sta­ple in Bri­tain, but you would never find it in Italy. The rich meat and tomato sauce, or ragù, of Bologna is served with medium-cut tagli­atelle rib­bons, which hold a thick sauce bet­ter than spaghetti or spaghet­tini do.


Also known as la cop­pia fer­rarese, this sour­dough bread from the city of Fer­rara (where Lu­crezia Bor­gia lived and died) is the weird­est food you will see in Emilia-Ro­magna. It re­sem­bles four plaited “horns” of dough, tied in the mid­dle, the idea be­ing that you eat the tips first, grad­u­ally pro­ceed­ing to the softer cen­tre that will keep for an­other day. La ciupeta also has pro­tected re­gional sta­tus.

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