Reggio Emilia: the Reign of Good Eating
Just south of Parma, the region of Reggio Emilia is best associated with parmigiano reggiano cheese.
And not only: if you’re a teacher, you’ve probably studied Reggio Emilia’s innovative early childhood education – the Reggio Emilia Approach. Modern architecture appassionati will know Reggio Emilia boasts Calatrava bridges, a railway station and other stunning Calatrava infrastructure improvements. You might not know that Reggio Emilia was the first city where the tricolore, the Italian flag, was hung out (January 7, 1797) to wave over the characteristic Reggio vaulted alleyways and elegant pastel-toned 17th- and 18th-century palazzi.
Stroll past them today down the Via Emilia, peeping into the characteristic elegant courtyards as you wander, but don’t let the beauty distract you: watch out for the bicycle-riders. Turn into Via Roma, passing a stunning palazzo with intricate stuccoed vines crawling up the fading rose facade and you’ll come to a modern nondescript building, Ristorante Canossa.
In Reggio, good-eating reigns. The proof is here where the four Calo’ brothers have been serving up emiliano goodness for about 45 years. Giuliano in the kitchen with smiling assistant Silvana proudly showed me their homemade tagliatelle, ravioli verdi (with spinach and ricotta) and their biggest pasta draw, the homemade tortelli filled with zucca (orange winter squash), an emiliano signature dish. How to resist? I didn’t.
I knew what Pino’s choice would be (and always is, if we’re in the region of Emilia Romagna…): the boiled meats. Nicola’ pushes around the carrello dei bolliti (cart on wheels with a selection of boiled and roasted meats, ranging from beef tongue to beef to ham to pig’s feet to turkey to guinea fowl), stopping at the tables so guests can make their selections. Many of them are clienti abituali, not surprisingly….. Nicola slices the meats like a surgeon. “Attenzione!” the wait-staff brother Silvio warned as he dashed from table to table, “he’s been slicing meats with knives like that for about fifty years.” He added with a smile, “Best not to get in his way.”
Nicola sliced Pino’s meat selections, added mashed potatoes on the side and then set out for Pino the traditional bollito sauces: the classic salsa verde (with capers, parsley, anchovies), a pickled vegetable one, horseradish, a spicy tomato sauce and the colorful mostarda of candied fruits and mustard, inveterate companion to the carrello di bollito.
We both sampled the tasty vegetable temptations on the carrello di verdure – and did notice the temptations of the carrello di dolci, the creme caramel of course taking center stage, as we paid our bill.
…maybe next trip to Reggio – and the Ristorante Canossa?
Read about Emilia Romagna’s capital, Bologna, called “la città del cibo”
Read about more good eating in Reggio Emilia
Click here for more on Reggio’s good eating
Read about Ferrara, another Emilia Romagna gem
Read about Emilia Romagna goodness near Faenza
Read more on a culinary specialty of Emilia Romagna
Read about Emilia Romagna cuisine in Bagnocavallo