In addition to enjoying the show of the four 2020 UCI Road World Championship races, there are numerous other things to help you savour the Worlds in Imola, Emilia-Romagna.
This is the region of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, of Parma Prosciutto, of Modena and Reggio Emilia Balsamic Vinegar, of Bologna Mortadella and of the Piadina from Romagna. Food products that are famous worldwide, which embody quality and excellence and represent the very best of the “made in Italy” label.
Emilia-Romagna is known as the Food Valley, the land of food. Eating here becomes a cultural matter, an expression of conviviality, the desire to spend time in good company, a taste for the good life. Proof of this is given by the fact that Emilia-Romagna has no less than 44 DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) and IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) foods, which make it the first region in Europe for the greatest number of protected trademark products. These do not include all the high quality wines and the numerous typical recipes.
This kind of record is not attained easily and has roots that run deep in a tradition that has known how to evolve with the times combining first class ingredients with the most innovative production methods but always in compliance with the strict regulations to safeguard consumers where health and nutrition safety are concerned.
This record entails also a substantial economic impact. Emilia-Romagna is the first region in Italy in terms of Dop and Igp product value amounting to over 3 billion euro coming from the food industry, with another roughly 394 million euro coming from the wine branch. This has also a major impact on the food and wine export sector of this region which increased by 4.7% in 2019 to reach a value of 6.8 billion euro which represents 16% of the overall food and drink exports of Italy.
From the Food Museums to Fico Eataly World
Emilia-Romagna has an impressive food and drink industry which thrives on a famous tradition that might be interesting to discover. One way of doing it could be to visit the 24 Food Museums that are located along the Via Emilia, the ancient road paved by the Roman Consul Marco Emilio Lepido that gives its name and unites this land from Rimini to Piacenza. These museums hold local typical products which, like a sort of time machine, tell a story of traditions, methods and communities whose roots run deep in a remote past era.
Among the places that enshrine the Emilia Romagna history of food and wine one must not forget Casa Artusi in Forlimpopoli (Forlì-Cesena province), which pays tribute to Pellegrino Artusi, the father of Italian home cooking and the author of “The Art Of Eating Well: An Italian Cookbook”, which is much more than just a simple recipe book and whose popularity has been on the increase ever since it was first published in 1891. From then it has been printed in numerous editions and translated to English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Polish and Japanese.
The Enoteca Regionale dell’Emilia Romagna which is located in the Rocca Sforzesca of Dozza Imolese instead is dedicated entirely to wine. It is right in between Emilia and Romagna and the Enoteca is the paradise for good wine connoisseurs offering over 1,000 different wines from the area, beginning with Albana, Lambrusco and Pignoletto.
One must not forget FICO Eataly World, the largest food theme park in the world that couldn’t have opened anywhere else other than in Bologna, right in the heart of this land. There you can live a unique experience: to discover how food is produced. A real journey that begins from the land and ends at the table.
The food tour takes you also through other places that allow you to fully discover the real heart of the Emilia-Romagna cuisine. For instance there are the cheese factories that produce Parmigiano Reggiano in Parma and Reggio Emilia where a guided tour will give you the opportunity to see the actual birth of this fine aged cheese.
In Parma, Unesco creative city for food, you can even visit the cured meat factories to discover the secrets of their famous hams and salami. Heading south along the Via Emilia you reach the homeland of balsamic vinegar. The Reggio Emilia and Modena provinces are strewn with vinegar factories that are open to visitors, where you can see up close the very long and complicated method to produce this unique product from Emilia.
You cannot miss taking a trip to visit the Manifattura dei Marinati di Comacchio, near Ferrara, where you should see the Museo dell’Anguilla (eel) and you will discover the close tie that this town has with a fish that is typical of its waters. To sample some street food from the riviera’s typical food stands you must go instead to Rimini. In Romagna you can also take a peak in the Ravenna and Forlì-Cesena wineries to see how wine is produced.
Do you understand now why you cannot forgo the 2020 UCI Road World Championships in Imola, Emilia-Romagna?