On Saturday, as part of our group trip to the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, we spent the day exploring area around Modena.
We started at the Villa San Donnino ready to take on the busy day ahead of us. There is nothing better than tasting vinegar mid-morning, especially eating ice cream paired with Balsamic vinegar.
A young Italian woman from the Villa San Donnino let us in on the secret of production that we were unfamiliar with. Like wine, the older the vinegar, the better. This particular vineyard uses white grapes to make their product. During harvest, in September and October, the grapes are picked and squeezed and immediately cooked at a hot temperature but not quite boiling. It is then put into a system of five barrels, each one a bit bigger than the other. The barrels are stored in a cold attic during the winter. If it was stored in a warmer environment it would ferment and turn into wine. Over time, some of the vinegar evaporates and in comes the reason why there are five barrels at different sizes. If the first one loses one liter in evaporation, a liter is taken from the second one, and so on.
This complicated process brings us many different kinds of vinegar that can be put on fruit, bread, salad, ice cream and many more infinite possibilities.
Our next adventure began in the valley of beautiful rolling green hills, at the San Polo Vineyard. We took a tour of the cantina and learned the special way they made their wine. They pay attention to the most intricate details and really care about their product. The tour was followed with a tasting which included red and white wines, parmesan cheese, salami, prosciutto and bread, including the most amazing potato bread.
What better way to finish our day of eating with more splendid food. We had our farewell dinner at a restaurant in Bologna which included wine, bread, lasagna, meat and potatoes and of course, dessert. With protruding stomachs, we walked home pleasantly content with the day’s adventures. We are so fortunate to be able to have the experiences that we do and learn about the Emilia Romagna region through adventures and food. It was eye opening to see the differences in business, people, and daily life in the north of Italy compared to the south we’ve been so immersed in for a few months. I’ve fallen in love with yet another region of Italy and can’t wait to return.