This week we’re focusing on one of our favorite regions of Italy – Emilia Romagna. Home to more P.D.O. (D.O.P.) and P.G.I. (I.P.G.) products than any other in Europe (in all of Europe!), it is a food lover’s dream.
First, what is a P.D.O.? It is in English a product of “Protected Designation of Origin”, or “Denominazione di Origine Protetta” (D.O.P.) in Italian. And a “P.G.I.” is a product of “Protected Geographical Indication” (or Indicazione Geografica Protetta, I.G.P.). Basically, these both mean that the process by which and location where certain typical products are made are in accordance with centuries’ old traditions. Of the two classifications, P.D.O. (D.O.P.) is the most stringent.
So, what are some examples? Well, have you ever heard of prosciutto? Parmesan cheese? Balsamic vinegar? Bologna (a.k.a. Baloney)? These are all products typical of the region that have gained protected status. The most famous of course, are just these, the prosciutto di Parma, parmigiano reggiano, aceto balsamico tradizionale di Modena, and Mortadella di Bologna, but there are many others, including culatello di zibello, a sublime cured meat from the , as well as certain produce like special types of asparagus, garlic, potatoes, pears, peaches, and nectarines, certain grains, regional desserts, other cheeses, and so many different types of cured meats.
Try making a classic melanzane alla parmigiana.
When you do one of our cooking vacations in Emilia Romagna, you of course get to try all of the delicious regional specialties, and you even get to see how some of them are made, such as Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, and aceto balsamico tradizionale di Modena. If you do our Flavors of the Real Italian Countryside itinerary you even get to taste the famed culatello di zibello and see where it hands to age in ancient cellars along the Po River.
These of course are just the tip of the culinary iceberg in Emilia Romagna. We haven’t even started talking about the pastas and wines you will find there. Suffice it to say, it is indeed a food lover’s paradise!
Learn more about Emilia Romagna in our video:
By Peg Kern
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