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October 29, 2018
The Emilia-Romagna Issue

Oh, the riches of Emilia-Romagna, Italy’s most expressive region for food. Parma. Bologna. Modena. These are the dots of the map—such delicious-sounding dots—we Italian-adoring Americans connect with the bounty of the Boot. Here’s what comes from this small region in the country’s northeast, wedged between Florence and Milan: mortadella and prosciutto di Parma, fresh pastas like tagliatelle, tortellini, and eggy pappardelle, sharp and salty Parmigiano-Reggiano, puffy gnocco fritto, the acidic harmony of balsamic vinegar, fizzy Lambrusco. Walking down the street in a town like Reggio Emilia is like playing the 1990s game show Supermarket Sweep, where the only countdown clock is to the time stamped on your plane ticket home. You want to fill your backpack with all the meats, all the cheeses, all the wines you can possibly sneak through customs.

Last fall I visited the region with some writer friends, some of whom have contributed to this special issue of TASTE that attempts to hit most of E-R’s major food groups. There’s a close look at the analog and near spiritual way one of the world’s finest cheeses is made, and a writer’s love letter to the mousse-like custard zabaione. We tackle Lambrusco (which btw is perhaps the finest pizza wine around) and gnocco fritto—and actor Eric Wareheim’s remembers filming his award-winning show Master of None in and around Modena. Naturally he hired a sandwich fixer for the several months of filming.

I hope this issue inspires you to cook some tortellini en brodo, buy a bottle of good balsamic (and not the fake shit—please read about the fake shit!), maybe even book a cheap flight to Bologna and have your own Emilia-Romagnan holiday. The Italians will welcome you with open arms and a plate packed with Parm chunks and salumi. It’s really not the worst. —Matt Rodbard, TASTE Editor-in-Chief

Wheels of Fortune


Wheels of Fortune

There’s an analog, and spiritual, approach to making one of the world’s finest cheeses—one you may just take for granted.