There are a few places in the world where the food culture is as strong as it is in Italy. It is not only about pizza and pasta and whoever has visited Italy knows it very well.
There is something about Italians’ love for their cuisine which makes it special. It is an attention to the raw materials and the regional high-quality products. After all, Italian cuisine is one of the best in the world for something, no?
It is hard not to get overwhelmed by the great passion for tradition, quality, and regional flavors when visiting the country. Every region and every city has something to offer in terms of traditional cuisine which is specific to that area.
Emilia-Romagna is an Italian region full of culture, rich in traditions and historical landmarks. Not many know that is also the home of some of the Italian foods that have gained an important name around the world such as Parmesan Cheese, Parma Ham or Balsamic Vinegar, to mention only a few.
When in the region, you should make the best out of your experience and try out as many traditional foods as you want!
If you want to go deeper and learn something more about real Italian food culture and its ingredients you should make sure you visit these food museums in Emilia-Romagna. They focus on regional specialties and will make you appreciate Italian food traditions even more.
Carpigiani Gelato Museum
Who doesn’t love gelato? Italian summers would just not be the same without the classic (and delicious) cones or cups of artisanal gelato, that in Italy seems to be so easy to find. Loving gelato is one thing, but knowing its history and production techniques is another, and it can be quite fascinating too.
For all gelato-lovers, Bologna hosts the only museum in the world dedicated entirely to the history of artisanal gelato. It is the Carpigiani Gelato Museum.
From food classes to tasting, to the teaching of the technology behind the perfect gelato, the museum is a very interesting experience, recommended to everyone, especially those that wonder why is Italian gelato so much better than any other gelato in the world.
The main exposition is highly interactive and it is organized around four main themes: the evolution of gelato from the origins to what we know as gelato today; the history of its production, the consumption of gelato today; and the Italian artisanal gelato industry around the world.
During your visit, you’ll be able to admire many ancient machines used to produce gelato and learn about the evolutions of artisanal gelato. To visit even better, you’ll have some gelato tasting at the end. Not bad for a museum, right?
The Museum itself is located at Carpigiani’s headquarters. If you don’t know what Carpigiani is, you should, since it is the company behind most of the machines producing your favorite artisanal gelato. Located in Anzola Emilia, just 40 minutes from Bologna, the museum is easily accessible by car or public transport.
Keep in mind that before getting there, you should book a tour on the Carpigiani Gelato Museum’s website. Make sure to check also the upcoming events, you might find something interesting to enrich your visit!
Traditional Balsamic Vinegar Museum
In Italian referred to as “Museo del Balsamico Tradizionale Spilamberto, the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar museum is centered around the production of balsamic vinegar. It is an interesting door to the sometimes hidden world of the ancient methods of production of this tasty dressing that is still used nowadays and make balsamic vinegar a premium Italian product that has built an important name around the world.
The museum is located in Modena, where real balsamic vinegar is from.
Visiting the museum is a great way to learn about the techniques, the tools and the traditions of balsamic vinegar and its uses. You’ll discover the different flavors, aging method, and combinations so you’ll learn how to use it at its best. A visit to a food museum will not be complete without a tasting, and this museum does it very well.
The love and passion for the “black nectar” from the guides and the traditional production methods which will make you travel in the past, make the visit particularly interesting. You’ll go through all the steps needed to produce balsamic vinegar and learn more about the possible food combinations to enhance its flavors.
In the end, you will have the opportunity to shop for some of the awesome balsamic vinegar you tasted during your tour. You can also opt for having a tour without tasting, but the additional 2 euros for the tasting experience are worth it and will make your visit much better.
To visit the museum, you should book a guided tour of the museum’s website. They organize four visits per day every day, apart from Monday, when the museum is closed.
Parma Ham Museum: Museo Del Prosciutto Di Parma
This wonderful museum is focussing on one of Parma’s main specialty: Prosciutto di Parma or Parma Ham. It is located in Langhirano, a small town about 90 kilometers from Bologna and 20 kilometers from Parma.
The building of the museum is called “Foro Boario”, dating back from the early 20th century. The museum is focused on the importance of the Emilia-Romagna region and its local ingredients and how they fostered the production of Parma Ham. The museum is organized into eight sections all centered around the history of the ham and its production methods over the years.
For example, there is an interesting section entirely dedicated to salt, a staple food that was essential in the conservation of foods in the past and that turned out to be the basis of the industry of cured meat and its “art”. You’ll also learn about the uses of Prosciutto di Parma in traditional Italian dishes and the most recent techniques of production.
At the end of your visit, you can choose to shop for some Parma Ham or also go for a tasting or a meal at the Museum’s restaurant, along with a selection of the best wines of the region.
So, here was a list of some of the food museums you shouldn’t miss when in Emilia-Romagna. Make sure you visit them and enjoy your experience!