The Bertazzoni home is Guastalla near Parma in the region of Emilia Romagna. It stretches from the east coast of Italy on the Adriatic almost all the way to the Mediterranean in the west.
When Rome ruled the world, this land of abundance became known as ‘the breadbasket of the Roman Empire’.
The origins of prosciutto di Parma – Parma ham – go back over 2000 years. In 100 BC, Cato first mentioned the wonderful flavour of the cured ham produced around the town of Parma.
Parmigiano Reggiano – Parmesan cheese – is another product from Emilia Romagna that has been considered the ‘king of cheeses’ since the Roman era.
Aceto balsamico – Balsamic vinegar – is produced in the province of Modena. It is one of Italy’s most prized commodities, made with as much care as wine.
With some of the richest soil in Italy, Emilia Romagna is intensively cultivated with fields and orchards. The region is also Italy’s most important for beef and pork.
White truffles, wild mushrooms, vegetables, greens and legumes of all sorts are grown here, and often cooked in soups or with pasta.
Most Italian tomatoes come from here, and many are canned and exported along with many fruits, such as cherries, plums and quince.
Polenta and chestnuts, distinctive breads and rice with short, ovular grains used in risotto are prized.
The art of cooking
With all its fine produce, Emilia Romagna has rich culinary traditions. Typical dishes include tagliatelle with ragu Bolognese, vegetables pickled in balsamic vinegar and torta fritta wrapped around delicate slices of Parma ham.
The food has become famous all over the world, with the traditional meal comprising appetizer, starter, main course, second course, pies and fruits. It is an experience of wonderful variety, aromas and colours.
The beloved pasta is accompanied by any amount of sauces, from the perfumed meat ragu to the many vegetable ragus. Parmesan cheese is an indispensable ingredient.
Risottos go well with almost every flavour and every occasion, as a side dish or starter. Pizza is typical of every region, with seasonal ingredients.
The meats of the region – chickens, beef, veal, pork – are cooked in many sauces, full of taste. Fish are served in soups or with fragrant Italian oil, garlic and parsley.
Fruit, especially home grown peaches, cherries, strawberries, pears and muskmelons, as well as nuts, are the usual finale.
The wines accompanying all this delicious fare would be a slightly bubbly Lambrusco from Emilia in the east, or from Romagna in the west a red Sangiovese for meats and a dry white Trebbiano for fish.