After we learned all about balsamic vinegar (and of course sampled it), Alessandro told us we were going to a trattoria in the hills to have a "light lunch" -- a light lunch for Italians, that is. For us it would be a "food marathon," which was no exaggeration.
We all gathered at one long table in the restaurant and started with a bubbly white wine.
And then the pasta began to arrive. First we had ravioli with mushrooms.
Then we had meat-filled tortellini.
And finally potato-filled ravioli with meat sauce. All of the pastas were fresh, handmade, and incredibly delicious.
While those first three courses could have been a meal on their own, the meat courses came next. We had wild boar (cinghiale) in a tomato sauce. Unfortunately, while the flavor was really good, this wild boar dish was not as tender as others we've had.
The second meat course was rabbit (coniglio). This was my fourth time trying rabbit, and I really liked it, once again. I find it sweeter- and cleaner-tasting than chicken (and maybe even a little nutty, but that could be the sauce), though many people tend to say it tastes like chicken.
After each dish arrived, Alessandro would say to us, "My suggestion? Parmigiano-Reggiano!" And we would all sprinkle our plates with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
While the food was being served generously, so was the wine, and I managed to drink plenty more Lambrusco throughout the course of our lunch.
In addition to the pasta courses and the main courses, there were also grilled veggies and a platter of prosciutto to nibble on. I really couldn't eat another bite by the time the prosciutto came out, but I had to try a little piece anyway.
Whenever anyone was looking away, Alessandro would pile more food on their plate. If they caught him in the act, he'd say, "It's just sauce. Just a little sauce."
When we finished eating, Alessandro got the chef to come out. We all thanked her for the awesome meal she prepared.
And then we had these amazing frothy, cool, creamy coffee drinks with rum. I wish I knew how to re-create these.
And it wasn't over yet... we really ended the meal with espresso. Jeff had a machiatto (espresso spotted with cream), and I went for a straight-up espresso.
We were so full and happy by the end of lunch.
|View of the hills behind the trattoria|
Besides on Saturdays (which is when we went), the tour also goes to a prosciutto factory. We were bummed to have missed this, especially since we didn't know until we were in the midst of the tour that we wouldn't be going. We have already talked about going back to do that someday.
I can't recommend this tour highly enough. Alessandro was an amazing tour guide. He made the tour fun and interesting and was really animated the whole time. We learned so much about Parmigiano-Reggiano and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena, and we ate so much good food and drank so much good wine.
|Our driver and Alessandro|
This was both my and Jeff's favorite part of the whole trip!
Next up: Day 5 -- Florence (Evening)
Have you ever done a food tour?