Bologna "la grassa" - "the fat" is justifiably famous for it's cuisine. It has given it's name to a famous sauce - known in Italy as ragu' but it has many other famous dishes to discover.
Bologna has a beautiful and well preserved historic centre charaterised by covered walkways known as porticoes and imposing squares such as Piazza Maggiore and Piazza Santo Stefano.
As you would expect there are fine restaurants, a daily market and an infinity of delicatessens.
Close by Bologna is Modena whose famous product is Balsamic Vinegar which has been made here since the Middle Ages. True balsamic vinegar is rich, glossy, deep brown in color and has a complex flavour that balances the natural sweet and sour elements of the cooked grape juice with hints of wood from the casks. The secret is in the ageing and a cream coloured cap means the vinegar has aged for at least twelve years while a magenta cap indicates a vinegar aged for 25 years or more.
To the west of Modena is Parma, another Northern Italian town with a beautiful historic centre and fine restaurants. Parma has two world renowned products; Parmesan Cheese and Parma Ham. The most prized product of all 'culatello' taken from the inside of the prosciutto. It is seasoned and lightly salted, stuffed into a pig's bladder, tied to give it a pear-like shape, and then hung 8-12 months to cure in farm buildings in the Bassa Parmense, not far from the Po River, where the mist swirls through the windows, interacts with the moulds on the walls, and imparts a hauntingly elusive something that makes all other cold cuts pale by comparison.
Join us to visit these three beautiful 'gems' of Northern Italy and some the producers giving us such wonderful delicacies.