Gnocco fritto as we call it in Modena has different names depending from where you are eating it. In Bologna they call it crescentina fritta, in Parma torta fritta.
What is gnocco fritto exactly?
It belongs to an ancient culinary tradition of Emilia where nothing had to go to waste, and one of the most common condiment in the farmers traditional was clarified lard. Gnocco fritto is simply dough made from flour, water and a pinch of salt then fried in lard, a by-product of ham and salami making. Gnocco must the eaten piping hot straight from pan. It must be puffy and empty inside. You can eat on its own for breakfast with a cappuccino. As suggested it was the typical breakfast food for the poor farmer, at the time accompanied with caffe’ latte rather than the fancy cappuccino. An other suggestion would be to make a sandwich with 2 gnocco fritto pieces and stuff them with Parma ham, Mortadella, Coppa or any other salumi that you can think of.
A modern version of gnocco fritto.
If you want to replicate the wonders of the poor but tasty cuisine of Emilia. you can simply prepare a dough using sparkling water. The bubbles in the water will make the dough expand and rise when cooked. And instead of clarified lard you can use extra virgin olive oil. This is one of the best ways to fry as olive oil withstand higher temperatures and it is easier to digest than other oils or fats.
Lovers of Italian food have labelled the Regione Emilia-Romagna as “the bread-basket of Italy.” It’s easy to see why. The historic cities of Parma, Modena and Bologna are famed for their food, from the air cured and delicate prosciutto (Parma ham), parmigiano reggiano (parmesan cheese) and traditional aceto balsamico (balsamic vinegar) – some of the quintessential ingredients of Italian cooking. The verdant Po Valley has given rise to agricultural practices that produce some of the most flavoursome and robust ingredients in the country.
When visiting Parma, Modena and Bologna, the starters are most likely to be slices of Parma ham, culatello, Salame di Felino, and shavings of Parmesan cheese. Parma ham has a delicate sweet savouriness that it is unique to this air cured ham. Culatello has also a unique and distinctive savouriness and every bite keeps giving our flavour, with hints of aromas like black pepper. Parmesan cheese is the quintessential savoury flavour, unique and inimitable, due to the long fermenting ageing.
First courses: Pasta Dishes
Fresh egg pasta in Emilia-Romagna is an artistic affair. Indeed, the cooks of this region are believed to be the masters of fresh pasta, producing distinct varieties of stuffed tortellini, and Tortelloni. Such pastas are recognised by their intricate and delicate shapes, as well as their rich fillings, which usually include pork or soft ricotta cheese.
Tortellini or Cappelletti
These attractive little pasta dumplings are filled with the best meats of the region – prosciutto, mortadella (a local variety of sausage) and ground pork. There are many old legends as to how tortellini originally came about. The most popular tale comes from Modena, near the Castelfranco Emilia. Lucrezia Borgia checked into an inn there, and the host was so captivated by her beauty that he spied on her through the keyhole of her private room. He only got a glimpse of her navel, but was so thrilled by this sight that he immediately went to the kitchen and attempted to recreate it in the form of pasta. And thus tortellini were born. For the real connoisseur they are only served in the famous Emilian capon broth, but a cream version is also available in most restaurants.
This is a larger version of tortellini, squares of egg pasta (in Emilia Romagna is commonly called sfoglia) are folded into triangle and folded one more time into a hat shape. They are commonly filled with spinach, ricotta cheese and a generous sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. They are served with a sauce – butter and sage being a local favourite, but also with a nice tomato sauce with a leaf of basil.
To your surprise this time it is not going to be a pasta dish. Passatelli is the poor man meal made into an elegant and refined dish, and if you visit Bologna in the winter months, it would be a sin not to have passatelli. This dish consist of dumpling made of bread crumbs, egg, and parmesan cheese. This is worked and turned into a dough and pressed through a die to obtain the classic shape. The dumplings are then served in a rich capon broth.
Along Passatelli, Zuppa reale is one of the less known dishes of the Emilian cuisine but well worth the hunt. Zuppa reale is a sort of spongy omelette like cake which is cut into cubes and served in the capon broth. The ingredients are flour, eggs, a lot of parmesan cheese, butter. The dough is cooked in the oven until golden crispy and spongy inside, then left to cool a little and cut into bite size dumpling.
Emilia-Romagna has a thousand-year history of raising swine – making it one of the most distinguished Italian regions for pork. Local pork dishes are layered in flavour, rich and hearty, and are perfect for chilly winter evenings. Veal is also a popular meaty option.
Zampone from Modena
Emilia-Romagna is famous for its decadent range of preserved meats and salamis. Zampone of Modena is a unique local treat that is often eaten at Christmas time. This winter sausage was born in 1510. Modena was under siege at the time, and food had to be preserved. As a result, ground pork, rind and other cuts were salted and stuffed into a de-boned pig’s trotter. These days, zampone is served with lentils and washed down with Lambrusco DOC.
Cotolette alle Bolognese
Tagliatelle alla Bolognese (it’s actually called tagliatelle al ragu in Italy) is not the only famous dish to emerge from Emilia-Romagna’s historical capital, Bologna. This original veal parmigiana consists of breaded veal topped with shavings of parmesan cheese. It can be also layered with prosciutto, but for an authentic and complex speciality white truffles are added as a final touch.
As the tortellini go with the broth, the meat is normally eaten as a second course. When visiting Bologna you should ask for the Carrello dei Bolliti, literally the boiled meat trolley. The waiter will oblige and push to your table a serving trolley full of succulent boiled meats. Here you will find capon, boiler chicken, beef briskets, as well as beef tongue for the more daring. The meats sliced thinly and served with salsa verde or mostarde. Salve verde is a condiment made with a base of parley and cooked carrots, boiled eggs, olive oil, vinegar, the recipes varies from location to location. Mostarda is more typical in the northern areas of Emilia Romagna and consist of fruits cooked in a light mustard sugary syrup.
Many sweet dishes of Emilia-Romagna originated from traditional festivals highlighting the weeks before Easter. People would often indulge in sugary treats on Shrove Tuesday before the period of abstinence marked by Lent.
This sweet resemble to original pasta dish is one such Shrove Tuesday invention. Strands of tagliatelle are deep-fried, and then coated in honey. This is a popular dessert throughout Bologna. It can also be topped with sugar, cinnamon or lemon zest.
This directly translates to “English Soup,” but it actually refers to the Italian version of English trifle. During the 16th century, the rulers of Ferarra met with Elizabethan statesmen from England, and this contact introduced them to the delicious custardy dessert. The Italian diplomats fell in love with it, and attempted to make it using local ingredients. The Emilian version consists of pan di spagna (sponge cake), or savoiardi (finger biscuits), thick custard and Alchermes, an aromatic herb liqueur.
These are just a few of the dishes you will discover on a gastronomic journey of Emilia-Romagna. Its culinary legacy is sometimes rustic, but also elegant and refined – and is considered one of the best in all of Italy.
A meal in Italy is not finished without a shot of your favourite digestive. In Modena we have the dark and aromatic Nocino made from unripe walnuts which are steeped into pure alcohol, and sugar. The liquid is aged into oak or hash barrels for a minimum of 6 years. In Parma you will be likely to be served Barniolino. This liqueur is made from the berry of the wild growing hawthorn berries steeped into alcohol and sugar. The liquid has hints of strawberry and cherries with a pleasant bitterness.
Wines of Emilia Romagna.
Wines in the region and often sparkling red, this is unique characteristic of our products. In fact Lambrusco (Modena) and Gutturnio (Piacenza) are wines that in the tradition where double fermented in their bottles. This would give rise to a first alcoholic fermentation and then a second one which gives the bubbles to the wine. Lambrusco is a wine that is enjoyed young, often the year after the harvest, and it certainly lends itself to accompany the rich local cuisine. Remember that the perfect lambrusco is a dry wine, with an evanescent froth, purple in colour (Grasparossa variety) with hints of violet flowers.
In the northern region of Italy lies the beautiful Emilia-Romagna region, one of the most developed regions in Europe. The Emilia-Romagna region is filled with rich history dating back to ancient Rome, architecture from the Renaissance, and breathtaking scenery.
There are many day trips offered from the regional cities of Bologna, Modena, and Parma that will allow you take in everything you want from your trip. The convenience of the public transportation system will allow you to travel with ease throughout this beautiful region of Italy.
Traveling from Parma
Cinque Terre, “The Five Lands”
The Cinque Terre is settled upon the Italian Riviera and is named for five cities: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The seaside terraces that have been built for centuries on the cliffs of the steep landscape give this area a rustic charm of its own. The atmosphere, fine dining, and walking trails that connect the five cities make the Cinque Terre a tourist hot spot.
The city of Milan is the second largest city in Italy. The large population of this city makes Milan one of the most diverse and vibrant cities in Italy you will ever visit. Milan is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, and it is filled with designer shops.
Fidenza Village, Chic Outlet Shopping
With more than 100 shops, the Fidenza Village will provide you with everything you will need in your shopping experience. Tourists will not only enjoy each of the upscale and exclusive shops but also the pleasant and elegant atmosphere that the famous Fidenza Village is known for.
Nestled on the left of the bank of the Po River lies beautiful and historic Cremona, known for its religious and musical histories. Tourists will enjoy the Cathedral of Cremona, which displays some of the best Romanesque-Gothic art in all of Northern Italy. Music lovers will enjoy the rich musical history that Cremona has to offer, which dates back to the 12th Century Cathedral.
Traveling from Bologna and Modena
Considered to be the birth place of the Renaissance, the city of Florence is art in itself with its historical buildings and the beautiful Amo river etching through it. Arts districts and museums such as the Uffizi Gallery, the Ponte Vecchio, and the Florence Cathedral make Florence a tourist destination you can appreciate inside and out.
Verona is the epicenter for historic buildings and architecture. Roman buildings like the Verona Arena that was established around 30AD, as well as buildings like the Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore, which was established between the years of 1123-1135, still stand in beautiful Verona. This has earned Verona the World Heritage Site status by UNESCO. Verona is the city to go to for anyone who is interested in ancient history and art.
Barberino Shopping Outlet
Designed with the Renaissance style that is known through Northern Italy, the Barberino Shopping Outlet will provide you with the unique shopping experience you are looking for. Boasting sales on everything from 30%-70% you will be certain to find the designer styles you have been looking for without the designer price. Source: http://www.mcarthurglen.it/barberino/en/the-outlet
Settled in the marshy Venetian Lagoon lie the 118 tiny islands that make up the city of Venice. If your visit only allows for one day trip then Venice is the place you want to go. The vast culture, shopping, dining, architecture, and arts districts all on the unique waterways in Venice will ensure that your day will be filled with endless wonders.
Mantua has a rich musical history and played a significant role in the history of opera. The city was also home to many famous artists including Leone Battista Alberti, Donatello, Peter Paul Rubens, Pisanello, Luca Fancelli and Nicolo Sebregondi. Mantura is also home of the Festivaletteratura, a literary fair that is held for five days with nearly 200 events each year.
Standing upon the top of the Bacchiglione River is the beautiful city of Padua that has dense streets that open into the large communal piazze. Padua is home to the University of Padua, which is 800 years old and was once a place for Galileo Galilei to lecture. The city itself is filled with many architectural wonders that embody the art and history that make Northern Italy so unique.
Surrounded by more than 9km of stone Renaissance walls built in the 15th century, Ferrara has also earned the title as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The numerous and important buildings in this city including Castello Estense make Ferrara a must see destination for visitors.
Ravenna’s rich history and Christian influences have earned eight of its buildings a place on the World Heritage List. The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Neonian Baptistery, the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, the Arian Baptistery, the Archiepiscopal Chapel, the Mausoleum of Theodoric, the Church of San Vitale, and the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe are all iconic destinations that you must visit in Ravenna for their blend of different art influences. Source: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/788
Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy, is world famous for its pristine beauty and is surrounded by several towns and islands. The town of Sirmione hosts the Virgilio & Catullo Spa, and is a great destination for dining and shopping. Scaliger castle, Catullus’ villa, the Roman spa Grotte di Catullo, and the sulfur springs that are famous for healing all make Lake Garda a vacation paradise.
Modena is a dream destination for the food connoisseurs. World famous chef Massimo Bottura practices his culinary art here. Besides his famous restaurant Osteria Francescana, there are other places around Modena to have an unforgettable dinner or lunch, and each one has their own signature cuisine with special flavors. Massimo Bottura has opened a boutique bistro “La Franceschetta” where you can taste pan-Italian dishes for a very reasonable price. For lunch, Caffe Concerto can be a great choice since they offer buffet for 15 euros only. Among other signature restaurants of Modena, Hosteria Giusti and Aldina are noteworthy. Hosteria Giusti: A Culinary Classic Hosteria Giusti is pure delight for your senses with the antique furniture, the aroma of freshly cooked dishes and rich colors of food. Hosteria Giusti is considered as the oldest deli of the world as it was established in 1605 to serve instantly made black cherry jam. The restaurant is quite small with only four tables inside. During the summertime, four more tables are placed outside. The specialties of Hosteria Giusti include Pappardelle with duck, Capon broth tortellini, Pigeon with balsamic vinegar flavor and Tagliatelle with bacon. Besides these cuisines, Hosteria Giusti offers two incredibly delicious dishes. First one is stuffed pigs’ trotters with lentils and the other one is Cotechino Fritto Con Zabaione (creamy pork sausage), a traditional recipe from the 17th century.
Osteria Francescana: Where Poetry is Served on Plates Considering the taste of the foods and culinary creativity, Osteria Francescana is definitely a champion! Having the legendary cook Massimo Bottura behind the foods served, their dishes are incomparable with any other restaurant. This restaurant produces everything in-house, even the olive oil. Massimo Bottura has an amazing ability to maintain the fine line between tradition and taste. The environment of the restaurant is quite informal and friendly. However, the price might seem a little bit expensive, but the foods served here make justice to the price. Osteria Francescana is now ranks among top 10 on the list of world’s 50 best restaurants. In his own words, Bottura described his food as ‘a reinvention of the flavors of my youth interpreted through the avant-garde’. Of course, then he spend an amazing youth to be be interpreted through flavors. Taste his celebrated cuisines such as iced puddle of oyster juice, marinated Po River eel and Mollito Misto; you have to agree that he is a poet for foods.
La Franceschetta: Expression of Italy Besides Osteria Francescana, the premium food emporium, Mossimo Bottura has another venture – La Franceschetta. The restaurant shares the same playfulness and passion of Osteria Francescana. Located away from the city center, the restaurant offers a more intimate environment for the food lovers. Marta Pulini, an award winning chef and a master of Italian cuisine, pours art into food in this restaurant. Bottura has a vision to establish Francescheta as a restaurant which will represent the Italian culinary as a whole. Pulini, an expert on pan-Italian foods, is an ideal choice to realize that vision and she has already proved herself. This is an exclusive restaurant in Modena that goes beyond the regional dishes in the pursuit to treat the customers with any dish representing Italy.
Osteria da Ermes: Intimate Taste of the Original Osteria da Ermes is another fine restaurant where you are likely to have the best dining experience during your tour in Italy. Ermes, the owner and chef, is passionate about his foods and his greatest pleasure comes from the satisfaction of the customers. Each dish here is prepared with love and careful attention to the details. Ermes and his wife both are exceptionally friendly and known for their caring and loving attitude towards the visitors. This osteria has no fridge in the kitchen as all the items are brought fresh from the market everyday. The place has no fixed menu either, so every new day comes with a surprise for the food lovers. There’s always a long queue in front of this small, cozy restaurant. So, it is better to get there as early as possible to make sure that you are not missing out this amazing restaurant and all the exotic dishes.
Trattoria Aldina: A Hidden Gem of Modena If you are looking for a relatively inexpensive yet high quality lunch in Modena, Trattoria Aldina is the best place to hit. And go there a bit early, otherwise you might not find a seat in this local gem. A tourist rightly commented that if you eat at Trattoria Aldina, your life will be ‘more complete’. Located across the wonderful market near Duomo, Trattoria Aldina only serves lunch. It is famous for the home made pasta varieties that beat the taste of true Modena traditions. You can expect very fast service and immaculate blend of different flavors and tastes.
Caffe Concerto Modena: Delight at the Heart of Modena Caffe Concerto is located at the center of Modena. Being very convenient to access, this place is a regular destination for the tourists. Wonderfully delicious aperitif and fine wines are the signature mark of Caffe Concerto. It’s a great place to unwind and watch the people all around sitting outside. The restaurant offers reasonably priced buffet lunch and dinner, but you can also just stop by for a cup of cappuccino. Your trip to Modena will remain incomplete unless you visit the great dining places and taste all the incredible dishes prepared by the chefs who took culinary to a different level. Besides the restaurants listed here, there are lot other restaurants all over the town of Modena. Try to explore as many as you can during your stay in Modena.
This small workshop and the people behind it are the true pioneers of the racing cars. Now you have the possibility to visit them with our guided tours in English.
Modena and motors
Everyone is familiar with motors in Modena. They can instantly recognize a Guzzi 500 Astore and tell the difference between that motorcycle and the similar Guzzi Falcone: the first features a telescopic fork while the latter has a pantograph fork. The Motorvalley coincides with Via Emilia; the Stanguellini Museum, a historic automobile shrine, is located right in central Modena, the land of tortellini, motors and beautiful girls.
The Stanguellini Museum and family
The Stanguellini Museum is managed by Vittorio Stanguellini’s son, Francesco, a true car addicted. Pioneer of the Motorvalley, Vittorio Stanguellini was the first one to produce cars, thought they were small displacement engine vehicles. After him, Ferrari and the Maserati brothers started building cars as well. And Stanguellini’s tradition carries on. Francesco and Simone, father and son, both have the same passion. Simone is the fourth generation of the Stanguellini family, the first being his great grandfather, Francesco. Francesco says the first ever Modena registered vehicle belonged to his grandfather, who was called Francesco just like him. In the Stanguellini household, even toys are homemade and equipped with an engine. For example, a Maserati toy car that was Francesco’s first toy ever. It still works and has a gearbox consisting of three gears, with suspension bouncing like that of a real car. Francesco grew up around cars, with the smell of castor oil and gasoline, so he has a really strong bond with them.
Stanguellini classic cars
In the 60s, his father designed the Stanguellini Junior, Lorenzo Bandini’s and Juan Manuel Fangio’s race car. Regulations required the engine to derive from a mass-produced vehicle: the engine of the Stanguellini Junior derived from the 1110 Fiat, but it was three times more powerful. It was equipped with Weber carburetors, which were also produced in Emilia Romagna, precisely in the most popular carburetor “factory” in the world, Bologna. So, it featured an updated mass-produced engine which was assembled on a specially designed frame. The frame was drilled in order to lighten the car without weakening it. They didn’t have actual designers: the models were produced from simple sketches. The shape of the car was made of steel bars, and the metal sheets were then attached to it to create the body of the car. To test the aerodynamics, they fixed a woollen thread to the body, using a hair dryer to check whether it would stay still or not.
Francesco’s father was self-taught; he wasn’t an engineer, as the profession of engineer didn’t yet exist in his time. Even Ferrari, a true genius, earned his engineering degree when he was 62. “Building these cars was mostly something that came from the heart,” Francesco says. The automobile giants of the legendary years all lived in this area. Francesco’s father and Enzo Ferrari used to go out for walks together after dinner, exchanging opinions and advices like a group of friends. “They would meet in a trattoria, sit at a table with a good bottle of Lambrusco wine and a few slices of salami or ham, and let their ideas run.” And while sipping Lambrusco, they came up with world record-breaking ideas: the Stanguellini Guzzi Colibrì (featuring a 250 cc engine) broke six records at Monza in 1963. Its engine was similar to that of the Guzzi 500 Astore. Running 100 km, it reached an average of 164 km/h; for a car with a 250 cc engine that was the best performance ever. The Stanguellini Colibrì was an innovative concept: its wheel would later be used in modern Formula One cars. What catches the eye is the aesthetics: these cars are amazing in terms of design. And their beauty is related to their aerodynamic line. It’s hard for Francesco to point out which vehicle is the family jewel; the car he’s most fond of is the one his son drives, a model he’s always wished to drive himself. Once races were extremely dangerous (drivers often got killed in a car accidents) so Francesco’s father never let his son drive. But Francesco chose not to do the same: “nowadays driving on the track is much safer than driving on the road”. Simone drives on the track: he raced at Monte Carlo, Goodwood, the greatest classic car races in the world. According to him, “driving a classic car means there’s no electronics involved. It’s just you, your feet and the wheel, and you’ve got to make your car perform to the best of its ability.” Both father and son think engines have a life of their own. “When you’re winning and it’s the last lap, it gets intense. You start hearing weird noises and talk to your car. “Come on, just a little more and we’re there!”, like you’re encouraging it to hold on until the end.”
The “arcade room”
There’s also a small race department Francesco and his workers go to after office hours, a place he calls his “arcade room”. They’re currently building a new aluminum body for a 1100 Bialbero, proving Italians are still able to create perfect things, after all this time. Even there, there’s no engineers, just a big passion. Like Arturo’s passion: he’s master mechanic for Stanguellini. He’s unable to stop polishing every single thing. “This is more than just my family.” Like Valentino’s passion: he makes the engines, choosing the appropriate horsepower. Like Giorgio’s passion: his job is to build auto parts. He still works on lathes and milling machines. They’re artists, people with motors running through their veins. They’ve been working for Stanguellini for a long time, and they live for their work, it’s their greatest fulfillment. In Francesco’s opinion, thanks to museums people can learn to love things. In the case of the Stanguellini Museum, we can learn to love cars, but in general, to protect our own heritage. This is the heritage of the Motorvalley; visiting the Stanguellini Museum you can perceive its history.
Emilia Delizia can organise super car museums visits in English and other language tailored to your need, we can also combine the visits with the gourmet tour which is very popular in the area, if you wish to have more information about Stanguellini you can visit their site
by Marcelo Pinto June 18th 2012 Modena Italy is known all over the world, for its fine wine, excellent dining, and being one of the wealthiest and progressive advanced cities in Italy. There are over forty-eight miles of bicycling roads, sixteen movie theaters and twenty-five vast libraries that have survived the online revolution which are just a few of the points that make Modena Italy a travelers hotspot. In this article you will learn what makes Modena Italy so enticing— in easy to read digestible chucks. And learn why it is truly the Ultimate Leisure Travel Destination.
Top 5 places to see in Modena
1. Modena Cathedral The Modena Cathedral is one of the main attractions of Modena Italy. The Modena Cathedral is one of the few remaining Romanesque church in Europe. It was created in year 1184 and is consecrated in one of the most recognized Romanesque creations in the world. Modena Cathedral’s patron saint Geminianus’s remains can be found in the cathedral’s crypt.
2. Ghirlandina Tower
The Ghirlandina Tower also referred to as the Torre Della Ghirlandina is the famous bell tower of the Cathedral of Modena. The Ghirlandina Tower stands at an impressive 86/12 meters tall and is the long standing symbol of Modena. The Ghirlandina tower is able to be seen from every direction from the city. The tower was created in 1179, and is decorated with two ghirlande railings (marble), which is where it obtained its famous name.
3. Ducal Palace
The Ducal Palace in Modena is a Baroque style palace in Italy that is definitely worth seeing for its impressive size alone. It was the residence of the “Este Dukes” of Modena Italy from 1452 all the way to 1859. Its current use is housing a large portion of the current Italian Military Academy. Ducal Palace also contains the official Military Museum, a historic Library and various military ceremonies in its ‘Honor Court’.
4. Military Academy
The Military Academy also called the Accademia Militare is a military university in Modena. It is located in northern Italy in the Palazzo Ducale. The Military Academy is one of the most impressive and historic centers of the city. The Accademia Militare of Modena was the first military institution in the world even before the U.S. Military academy’s creation. The Accademia Militare allows both sexes to enroll each year. The Accademia Militare focuses mostly on training and selecting future military officers in the Italian Army. The Accademia Militare takes at least two years to complete.
5. The Land of Engines.
Modena Italy is also known as the land of engines. Many of the most famous luxury car manufacturers in the world such as Ferrari, Masertati, Lamborghni and even Pagani call Modena Italy their home.
Top 3 foods you must try in Modena Italy:
Tortellini are circle-shaped pasta creations that taste delicious when cooked properly. They are usually filled with a mix of meat prosciutto and cheese. Tortellini is originally from Modena Italy and is served in tasty broth of either beef or chicken. While due to popularity tortellini can now be found all over the world many locals will tell you that the best Tortellini can only be found in its birth place of Modena Italy.
Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is a special type of vinegar produced only in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is created from cooked grape must. However, what makes it so impressive is that it is always aged at least 12 years. This special vinegar is added to a multitude of Italian dishes and has a taste like no other.
3. Parmesan Cheese
Parmesan cheese is the name of a few special kinds of Italian hard cheese and usually goes with various types of pastas. While many cheeses claim to be Parmesan cheese only one “brand” of parmesan cheese is considered official and regulated as a protected class. Only Parmigianino Reggiano is protected and it is especially delicious. Modena Italy is a wonderful place and hopefully this article has uncovered at least a 10th of the amazing experiences that Modena Italy has to offer.
The Motorvalley runs through the valley, crossing “via Emilia” to the Modenese countryside, where the “Hombre” farm is located. 330 hectares for 500 cows, all managed by a young farmer from the lowlands, Matteo Panini. He belongs to the last generation of farmers and thinks of himself as the last olive left on a tree that was planted many years ago. He’s Umberto’s son, the same Umberto who, together with his brothers Benito, Franco and Giuseppe, invented Panini stickers, cultivated the land and a passion for motors.
Modena’s history in the motor vehicle industry
When people ask him how Enzo Ferrari or Modena managed to become so important in the motor vehicle industry, he says the reason is really simple: Modenese people come from the land, and once only cattle, horses and men were needed. “Then, the steam engine was invented; after that, the internal combustion engine was developed, and thus the tractor was born. This made it possible for Modena to grow all at once in both the agricultural and mechanical sectors. That’s how the role of the “metalmezzadro” was born: Enzo Ferrari needed a “metalmezzadro”, that is, a person who is both a farmhand and a factory-worker.” Tractors So, Panini’s motorcycle and car collection started with tractors. We can find, for example, a Landini from the year 1934. According to Matteo Panini, it’s one of the best and it still works perfectly. This is where the legend began: tractors were like wooden logs, carved repeatedly until the most beautiful cars in the world were created. These are classic cars, the crown jewels of Umberto and Matteo Panini’s collection.
The Panini collection
The collection consists of three so-called branches. The first one is Panini’s Maserati collection, which is possibly thought of as one of the most important in the world today. The second one is the branch of vehicles that Umberto Panini picked up when people left their cars behind. Finally, there’s more or less a hundred motorcycles, the means of transportation people once used to start with.
The Maserati collection
Matteo starts by showing us a Maserati Moto. Not everybody knows that there was a Maserati Moto in Modena. His father used to work there at first, and he was the Experience Department manager: that is, he would ride a motorcycle until it broke. Just like a test pilot. But then Umberto became a Maserati car collector. An important vehicle for Maserati is a 1958 car built specially for the brand “Camillino Eldorado”. Eldorado used this car like it was a modern marketing tool. It’s a big cream white “ice cream” featuring a 8 cylinder 4200 cc engine, which was once driven by Stirling Moss. Another important car in Panini’s collection is the 250F, a single-seat car, seen as Formula One itself. It portraits perfectly how cars from the 50s were like. Driving this model, Fangio won the World Championship. Maserati managed to put a 12 cylinder 2500cc Formula One engine right there, thus exhibiting in 1957 an engine that was light years in advance of 6 cylinder ones. When asked why the tachometer is installed inside out, he explains that the driver has to look ahead, so the pointer has to be straight up when reaching 6k, 6,2k rpm. When the pointer is straight up, you know you have to change gear. Then there’s the Maserati Birdcage. Its frame is so daring in terms of manufacture , it’s made up of 200 steel tubes, that make it look like a net. Because of its reticular shape, in English it was called “birdcage”. Thanks to this car, with only 22 models built, Maserati became very popular during the World Sportscar Championship, that once was possibly more important than Formula One. Matteo says he used to drive and still drives this model.
There’s a giant poster along the stairs to the second floor: a photo from 1926. Alfieri Maserati is sitting in a car, the first Maserati ever built. Maserati’s staff looks really proud, and Matteo Panini calls it “engineering pride”: “These men had no money and challenged brands like Bugatti, Auto Union… they faced manufacturers like Alfa Romeo. We shouldn’t forget Mussolini was behind Alfa Romeo, just like Hitler was behind Mercedes. So, starting from Bologna they challenged such motoring giants.”
Cars and bikes
We can also find a Stanguellini car. Matteo explains his father worked as a pipefitter for Stanguellini, so that’s the reason they’ve got to have one of those. Besides, the Stanguellini museum, one that true fans shouldn’t miss, is a few kilometers from here, in Modena. The Panini collection isn’t just made of cars and motorcycles. Matteo shows us a bike which was used by light infantry soldiers. It’s a modern mountain bike, with front and rear shock absorbers. By switching the front wheel with the back wheel, you can also change the gear ratio. He says he likes to think that the person who built it thought it had to be unbreakable. It can also be folded, showing the practical way people once conceived things.
The motorcycles are located on the second floor. We can find a wide range of motorcycles, like the Guzzino, the Formichino, the Ducati Cruiser (designed by Ghia), which is a really rare item, the Galletto, which was commonly ridden by priests, the Lambretti Vespa, the Delfino Motom, the Aquilotto. There’s also a parade of British motorbikes, from Norton, to AJS, to BSA. According to Matteo, in Italian BSA became the acronym for “Bisogna saperci andare” (You’ve got to know how to ride it) and in reverse, “Anche senza benzina” (Even with no gasoline).
Other significant pieces
Speaking of British, there’s also a Welbike, the bike for parachute drops. It could get folded and placed in containers which were located right under the aircraft’s wings. And speaking of aircrafts, we’re shown a Messerschmitt car, that truly looks like the cockpit of a Messerschmitt aircraft. With regards to torpedoes, there’s also a missile-shaped Lambretta. According to Matteo, it was probably able to reach 200 km/h. There’s also a Lotus leaning against the wall, far from the rest. When asked if there’s too many models in his collection, Matteo says, “Maybe, but my father comes from that generation. He didn’t pay anything for them, because people would just phone him and tell him to come and pick them up, and so he did.” The key is simple: we have to enjoy the Panini collection in small amounts, taking our time.
The Hombre organic dairy farm and producer of Parmigiano Reggiano
Speaking of the relationship between motors and land, our last stop is the farm. Matteo says the farm is like the dynamic part of this passion, with its 500 cows thanks to which 12 wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano are produced every day. Motorcycles, motors and wheels of Parmigiano all have something in common: you recognize them from their sharp sound. Matteo agrees with that, adding that engineering is also involved. For example, a hammer can have different weights, and depending on its weight and where you put it, it can give you different feelings and vibrations. And they ask why this is the land of mechanic and motors.
A pioneering piece of design and a worthy monument to the great Enzo Ferrari. The building’s roof is modeled after the hood of a car. After more than five years of construction, the Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari opened over the weekend in the Italian city of Modena. It’s an honor to be here today. I think it’s great for Italy, he represents the best of Italy, he will represent the best of Italy and he always did.
I was involved in this this project since the beginning and I remember the house completely lost, and nothing here. From now, but because you have a place where to go and hear about the story of my father, the passion of my father. The house where Enzo Ferrari was born is now part of a museum. 6,000 square meters in size.
Enzo’s son Pierro Ferrari is the brains behind the project. He’s included several personal items belonging to his father. Originally, a locksmith’s apprentice, Ferrari Sr. became a race car driver and founded one of the world’s most legendary sports car companies. Well, but my father has been written hundreds of books.
Every person who met him I wrote in the past, I know the real Ferrari, I know the real story about him. But was a very complex personality, and very demanding, especially to myself and was very hard job to stay with them. In addition to the personal possessions of Enzo Ferrari, one wing of the museum will display Ferrari automobiles as well as temporary exhibitions.
The building was designed by leading architecture firm Future Systems. Finally we choose this very modern structure because he was always looking to the future, as you know, eh? He was looking to new ideas. And he was always trusting young people, young engineers, young architects.
Andrea Morgante designed and built the museum together with the now deceased Jan Kaplický. They drew all their ideas from Enzo Ferrari’s cars. Those were our reference of inspiration. So when we started the competition we were scanning pictures of details of engines and bonnets. Look how beautiful the shape of this part.
I mean this is art, this is culture, and not many people see that. People just see a fast red car, but we knew the value, the artistic value. So We say, let’s take this and let’s make is a building, let’s make it really big as a building. The dominant color in the new wing is yellow, the color of the Ferrari emblem.
The building is meant to be sleek and innovative, just like Enzo Ferrari’s creations. Everything here is untested. This is a huge prototype and is an amazing challenge, because no one did this roof before. This is a double curved aluminium roof. Is a three dimensional piece of sculpture of 3,000 square meters.
It’s quite a challenge. Same thing the facade, it’s quite a technical challenge, so it has the same spirit that you find in building these cars. Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari resembles the big car museums of German manufacturers such as Porsche, BMW and Mercedes. Their buildings cost much more than the one in Modena, much of the 18 million euros needed for the Ferrari museum came from the local authorities.
When you go to maybe one which is only for a brand, it has the impression of like a showroom, that maybe you’re being sold the idea or you’re being sold the brand of that particular car. I think here it does feel freer, you’re not having the corporate message shoved down your throat maybe quite so much.
They don’t have the place where Enzo Ferrari was born. Maybe they have the place where Michael Schumacher was born but he don’t have Ferrari so that’s a good start for us. The place where Enzo Ferrari grew up been in relative poverty at the start of the 20th century provides the perfect setting to tell his success story.
Enzo told us a sort of life lesson, never to give up, you know and if it looks difficult, keep dreaming.
It’s hoped the new museum will draw up to to, two hundred thousand visitors a year. Here, they can retrace the Ferrari legend, even if most can’t afford the trademark fast red sports car.
Text transcribed by Marcelo Pinto June 16th 2012 from this youtube video
Normally its cows that are branded, but this is Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy often referred to as parmesan cheese. Parmesan does start with cows but it’s only their milk we want. This dairy in Mantova, Italy uses half a ton of milk for each block of cheese. It’s made in these huge copper vats. Each one holds 990 liters enough to make two giant Parmesan wheels.
Those cows have a lot of grass to eat to keep up with production. Parmesan is a hard cheese so the milk needs to be solidified. The ideal temperature for this is 33 degrees. To get the milk to solidify, the cheese maker will use rennets. This enzyme comes from calves stomachs, and it’s poured in and left for a moment to work its magic.
Because of strict European laws constraining trademarks. Parmigiano-Reggiano can only be made in certain Italian regions. This means each producer must make as much as they can because global demand is huge. As the rennet takes effect, the head cheese maker will notice subtle changes in the milk’s consistency.
The workers keep a very close eye out so they know when to start the next step. When the time is right, they get to work. Using custom made cutters, they slice through the yogurt-like substance, breaking it into lumps. This helps separate the cheese curds from the whey. After three minutes of this, the temperature is raised and the two parts separate.
The solid curds fall to the bottom leaving the liquid whey at the surface. This custom made knife casts over 4,000 pounds and it’s designed to cut the big lump of cheese at the bottom of the tank in half. In the Parmesan business, high tech goes hand in hand with old school. The cheese master now uses his big wooden paddle to lift the two halves so his colleagues can wrap them in cloth.
If they left the cheese in the bottom of the tank, someone would have to climb inside to get them out. This way is far easier. The workers can now suck out all the old whey, making the tanks ready for the next load of milk. Once the cheese is removed, it’s wrapped up and a weight is put on top. This squeezes out excess fluid.
As a hard cheese, Parmesan needs as little fluid as possible. It’ll remain like this for eight hours in a Teflon-mold. As the cheese spreads out, this imprints the dairy’s name into the sides. After about 24 hours, the Teflon form is substituted for a metal one. Here it will sit down and take on the characteristic wheel shape with a flat top and bottom and curved sides.
After three days in their molds, these cheeses could really do with a bath, a salt bath. This process actually improves that cheesy smell. The cheese is left in this salty brine for a month before it’s taken out to be dried. This helps improve the cheese’s final flavor. Once it’s time to get out of that shag bathwater they make their way to the ripening room.
The contents of this room are estimated have a total value of 17 million pounds and our freshly baked Parmesan wheels are about to join them. The wheels will spend up to two years in here maturing slowly. But to avoid growing mold they have to be turned at least once every two weeks. Turning this many cheeses would be very dull and very hard so a robot is used instead.
Although after doing this job for such a long time it looks like the robots could also do with some turning. As it matures the staff keep a close eye on the cheeses. Using his official hammer the head cheesemaker will tap on a random sample. His expert ear knows the sound of a good Parmesan from a bad one.
He’ll use a little corkscrew to test a sample, and ensure the cheese is maturing nicely. When he satisfied it up to scratch, he’ll fire up his trusty brand and mark the cheese. From it’s humble beginnings via some rather dark and briny bathwater, the world’s favorite pasta topping is born.
The Text has been extracted from this video, the cheese represented is actually Grana Padano and not Parmigiano Reggiano.
A video in high quality shot during our gourmet tours in June 2012, with cool music and special effect enjoy.
It’s a bank, but not as we know it. With all the security of any vault, except in here, it’s not money they’re guarding but cheese.
Three hundred thousand blocks of Parmesan cheese worth 120 million pounds to be exact. All part of a unique cheese for money loan program run by a bank. We help fiance the Parmesan cheese makers because their cheese takes two years before it’s ready for sale, that gives them a cash flow problem. So we take take their cheese in return for a cheap loan.
The Credem Bank takes the cheese from local producers on deposit and stores it here. It’s cleaned, turned, and tapped in a constant process of checking. Once the cheese is here in this vault both the parmesan cheese maker and the bank want to make sure it’s kept in top quality condition. Which is why this man is tapping it, he’s an expert in keeping that parmesan fresh.
A small wonder because this one block weighs 40 kilograms and is worth more than five hundred and fifty pounds. Giovanni Gualdi is 71 and has been a parmesan cheese maker all his life. But it’s a slow labor intensive process. But whilst the cheese ripens, the bills and wages still have to to be paid.
More than a hundred cheese makers have been forced out of business in the past five years. That’s why those like Giovanni rely on a cash-for-cheese agreement to be paid.
It ‘s been a difficult 5 years. The market has been very bad. Businesses here have spent money so they rely on the loans. Otherwise they would shut.
If the producer defaults on his loan, Credem Bank can simply sell the parmesan. It’s thinking about extending the idea to olive oil and parma ham. For now though it’s cheese and a bank that’s taking a mature attitude to lending. Duncan Kennedy, BBC News, Emilia-Romagna, Northern Italy.