Italy // Emilia-Romagna //

Hit the gourmet trail

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If you want to see Modena’s famous balsamic vinegar being created, contact the Modenatur office next door to the tourist office (w modenatur.it) for information on trips to aceterie (these are free but, being private establishments, visits depend on the owners’ schedules). They also have information on tours to Lambrusco wineries, parmesan dairies and some of the region’s renowned car manufacturers.

The tourist office can advise you on gourmet itineraries in the wooded foothills of the Apennines surrounding the town. However, they’re not really necessary: restaurant signs by the side of the road invite you in to try cuisine “alla tua nonna” – “like grandma used to make” – usually involving mortadella (cold pork sausage, spotted with lumps of fat and often flavoured with nutmeg, coriander and myrtle), salami or crescente (a kind of pitta bread eaten with a mixture of oil, garlic, rosemary and parmesan). Higher in the mountains you can still find ciacci – chestnut-flour pancakes, filled with ricotta and sugar – and walnuts that go to make nocino liqueur.

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