Oldways, Chef Barbara Lynch, and Art Curator Ronni Baer in Emilia Romagna May 1-8, 2016

Barbara Lynch CC.jpg

In May 2016, Oldways traveled with James Beard award-winning chef Barbara Lynch (left) and museum curator Ronni Baer (right) to Emilia Romagna—one of our favorite regions in Italy. With good reason. Emilia Romagna is often cited as Italy’s top food region, with many local ingredients that are key to Italian cooking and eating traditions: balsamic vinegar, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, and pasta.  

From our base in Parma, we visited cities and the surrounding countryside to learn more about the foods, wines and dishes that make Emilia Romagna the food capital for many Italians. And, best of all, we learned how to cook some dishes of Emilia Romagna from Barbara Lynch.


Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Benvenuto
Arrivaled in Parma and checked-in at Grand Hotel de la Ville. Welcome with an introduction to the week and a wine tasting of the wines of Emilia Romagna. Introductory session with Barbara Lynch and Sara Baer-Sinnott, and a tasting of five wines from the region with Paolo Tegoni, a wine expert and professor

Day 2: Parmigiano Reggiano
To Valserena, one of the few farmstead producers of Parmigiano Reggiano. Saw the process of producing Parmigiano Reggiano. Countryside lunch at Valserena, which included plenty of products from Valserena—Parmigiano Reggiano and ricotta, plus Prosciutto di Parma.  Dinner at Ristorante Cocchi, one of Parma’s best restaurants—a favorite of locals and tourists alike.


Day 3: Parma and Cooking
A walking guided tour of host city, Parma, with visits to Farnese Theatre and the Reggio Theatre, and to the Duomo, with special commentary from Ronni Baer about the Correggio dome. Lunch close to the Duomo at Ristorante Angiol d’Or—the golden angel. Walked across the piazza to Academia Barilla to visit the one-of-a-kind Gastronomic Library, and then for the Hands-on Ccooking class–everyone cooked! When finished, a dinner of the dishes prepared in class.

Day 4: Prosciutto di Parma
Departed for Langhirano, at the foothills of the Apennines outside Parma. First stop at the Pio Tosini, to see and learn about the production of Prosciutto di Parma from start to finish. After the tour, to Vineyard Carra di Casatico, for a tasting of Pio Tosini Prosciutto di Parma and a glass of wine. Traveled a short distance to the Lamoretti Vineyard, for a tour and tasting of two wines. Lunch of fresh pastas at Masticabrodo Trattoria. After, a demonstration of fresh pasta making. Tour of Castle of Torrechiara , a massive castle built in the 15th century.

Day 5: Barbara, Pasta & the Countryside
To Academia Barilla for the great treat of Barbara Lynch’s cooking, followed by a lunch of the dishes Barbara demonstrated. Visit to a Barilla factory to learn how they make the pasta in the blue box! Tour and 5-course gala dinner at Massimo Spigaroli’s Antica Corte Pallavicina, a hotel, a restaurant, a farm, and a 14th-century castle with cheese, wine, and salami caves.

Day 6: Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale
Departed for Modena for a visit to Acetaia Malpighi to learn about the special secrets of making Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale, with a tasting and the opportunity to buy (at a good price) an array of different balsamic vinegars. Departed for the center of Modena, walked around with guide, and then took over the restaurant, Il Fantino, for a typical Modenese lunch including Aceto Balsamico. Toured Modena with guide, a doctor of archaeology, and had free time to explore.

Day 7: Art, Food & Cars
Three half-day tours:

1. Half-day Walking Art/Mosaic Tour in Ravenna: A visit to the Church of Saint John the Evangelist, the Church of Saint Apollinaire Nuovo, the so-called palace of Theodoric, Dante’s grave and the fantastic crypt of Saint Francis, People Square, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, and finally, the masterpiece of byzantine mosaic art, the Church of Saint Vitale. Lunch at Ristorante Cà de Ven in Ravenna.

2. Half-day Art and Food Tour in Bologna: Bologna is known as ‘the fat one,’ declared by Forbes as ‘the stomach of Europe’, hosting an incredible number of DOP foodstuffs as well as being considered the cradle of Italian hand-made pasta. A foodie walking tour to discover the many delicious food treasures of Bologna, with tastings and visits to bakeries, shops and markets, as well as tours of some of Bologna’s cultural sites. Lunch at Ristorante Cesarina in Bologna.

3. Half-day visit to the Ferrari Museums and (optional) Driving: Visits to the first of two different Ferrari museums, one located in Modena—the house where Enzo Ferrari, and another one, located in Maranello, home of the Ferrari headquarters, is close to the Ferrari factory and racing track. At the end of the visit, a driving simulator is at display, for everyone to enjoy. Lunch at the Driver Bar next to the museum. Final dinner at Trattoria del Ducato, a very local and traditional.