ENO-GASTRONOMICAL VISITS TO LOCAL PRODUCERS
BALSAMICO VINEGAR SECRETS AND TASTES ON THE ROAD TO MODENA CITY:
Culinary half day trip in Modena during your stay at Fontanini it is possible to book a visit to a "Acetaia " where a guided tour in English will explain the traditional manner of Balsamico Vinegar production and stockage. A tasting will follow.
PARMESAN CHEESE PRODUCTION AND AGING SECRETS:
during your stay at Fontanini it is possible to book a visit to a local"Caseificio" to see the actual production of Parmigiano Reggiano.
SECRETS AND TASTES OF COLLI BOLOGNESI DOC WINERIES:
We organize visits during which local wines and food are tasted, discussed and enjoyed.
The regulations for the D.O.C. status (controlled denomination of origin) of the “Colli Bolognesi” wines
govern 14 different wines: 11 whites and three reds. The red wines include Barbera,
Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot; the white wines are Bianco dei Colli,
Chardonnay, Chardonnay Spumante, Pignoletto, Pignoletto Superiore, Pignoletto
Spumante, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Bianco Spumante, Riesling Italico, Sauvignon, and
Sauvignon Superiore. Particular mention should be given to Pignoletto (the name
of which comes from the indigenous vines from which it is obtained), a unique
and delicious wine that is rightly considered the “King of Colli
Bolognesi”. The zone of production lies within the territory of the
municipalities of the foothills between the 51 metres altitude of Bologna and
the 450 metres of Monte San Pietro. A consortium of wineries, the Consorzio del Vino dei Colli Bolognesi, has the responsibility for protecting the image and promoting the D.O.C. wines.
Among these, a particularly well-loved wine is Lambrusco: ruby red, dry or
semi-sweet, sapid, harmonious, with good acidity, and particularly fragrant,
with its characteristic sparkling, lively evanescence. Lambrusco is the perfect
accompaniment for the traditional dishes of Emilia as well as more contemporary
or international cuisine.
Nocino (walnut liqueur) is another traditional product that
makes use of a natural resource of the Apennine territory. The traditional
recipe, once jealously guarded by each family, are never exactly the same in
terms of the proportion of walnuts and alcohol, the addition of water and
sugar, and the type of natural spices included in the infusion, remaining for
centuries the patrimony of the local cultural tradition.
TRADITIONAL BALSAMIC VINEGAR OF MODENA
Balsamic vinegar belongs to the most ancient Modenese
traditions. For centuries the production of balsamic vinegar in the dry attics
of homes, was the prerogative of all families, with its destination limited to
home use or, at most, offered as a special gift. The Traditional Balsamic
Vinegar of Modena stands out for its organoleptic characteristics - colour,
density, fragrance, and flavour - which are the result of a period of ageing
that can range from 12 to 25 years and beyond. Known and appreciated for
centuries, still today the secret of balsamic vinegar, hidden
within the series of barrels, is passed down from father to son.
The Apennine hills and mountains which produce excellent
forage from uncontaminated pastureland and where livestock is raised in
favourable environmental conditions, are the ideal place for the production of
milk destined for Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, which is considered the “king of cheeses” for its organoleptic characteristics and nutritional value,which make it particularly suitable for dietetic use. Deeply rooted in the culinary culture of the Emilia-Romagna
region (and now throughout Italy), Parmigiano-Reggiano is an indispensable
ingredient of world-famous dishes such as tortellini, cappelletti, ravioli,
tortelloni and lasagna.
With its hill and mountain lands, the province of Modena has
always been the site of a rich and appetising tradition of cured meats, and
prosciutto crudo (salt-cured ham) in particular has its own special
organoleptic identity that can be seen when sliced in the bright red colour and
pleasant, savoury fragrance. The quality of the artisan processing techniques
and the restricted zone of curing make the prosciutto of Modena special and
widely appreciated by consumers. The preparation of this excellent prosciutto
uses only the thighs of the prized “Large White” pig, raised in
highly selected centres. The artisan production phases are carried out in
state-of-the-art structures and the pig feeding system is subject to rigorous
controls to prevent unpleasant flavours and excessive fat content. The
prosciutto is then sent for ageing in a hill zone comprising the provinces of
Modena, Reggio Emilia and Bologna, an area which in-depth climatic studies have
indicated as the most suitable for perfect ageing of the prosciutto crudo of
TYPICAL BREADS: CRESCENTINA, BORLENGO, GNOCCO
Crescentina is the traditional mountain bread, made of a
special dough of flour, water, and salt: it is prepared in small discs that were
once cooked in round moulds of refractory terracotta (the “tigelle”) heated on the hearthstone.
The freshly baked crescentine are cut in half and filled with a mixture of
minced salt pork (lardo), garlic, and rosemary and covered with grated
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. They can also be filled with the excellent local
salami or used in place of bread with “cacciatora” dishes and stews,
particular with mushrooms.
Usually served along with crescentine is gnocco fritto (bread fritters), with
its characteristic bubble shape, to eat with cured meats and cheese.
Borlenghi, a delicious but little known mountain flatbread, has always cheered
the table of the local people. Borlenghi are made using a batter of flour,
water, and salt, and then cooked in a tin-plated copper pan, resulting in a
thin crispy flatbread that is folded over and filled with a traditional mixture
of salt pork, garlic, rosemary and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
UNDERGROWTH’S TREASURES: MUSHROOMS, TRUFFLES AND SMALL FRUITS
The highly appreciated fruits of the Apennine woodlands include truffles, mushrooms, and numerous bush and tree-growing berries such as whortleberries, raspberries, strawberries, juniper berries and red currants.
From September to December, the highly prized white truffle (tuber magnatum)
of our hills matures in the calcareous and alkaline soil, well-drained and
aerated, from sea level up to 1000 metres elevation in symbiosis with lindens,
poplars, willows, oaks, hazelnuts, and hornbeams, preferring a cool, moist
environment. During the autumn, the white truffle, with its unique and
unmistakable fragrance, becomes the protagonist of the oldest and simplest home
cooking traditions, and also enriches the typical dishes of the local
For many centuries, the numerous chestnut forests found in
the zones up to 700-800 metres elevation were one of the most important
nutritional resources in the Apennines. Still today, high quality chestnuts are
produced in natural cultivations, which use no pesticides or
chemical fertilisers. In addition to raw consumption, chestnuts are still
processed into flour after being dried on traditional racks or in modern drying
facilities. Peeled using a special machine for chestnuts, they are then ground in water-powered mills. The flour obtained, which has a high nutritional and energy value, is used in cooking for soups, bread, desserts, and in particular the well-known, delicate “ciacci”, a traditional mountain sweet.
Over the last century, the cultivation of cherry trees in the district covered by the Consorzio della Ciliegia Tipica di Vignola (Consortium of the Typical Vignola Cherry) has become a well-established agricultural activity. The production area includes a broad swathe of the foothills bordering on the provinces of Modena and Bologna. Thanks to the climatic
conditions and excellent soil, this area includes approximately 2000 hectares
of cherry orchards, covering 80% of regional production, making Vignola
cherries a highly appreciated fruit throughout Europe.