The Amazing Alessandro Martini….Super Guide

He arrived with his driver at our Bologna hotel at 7:30 am sharp, in a beautiful Mercedes nine passenger van.  The background music in the van is compliments of Dean Martin (who else).  Our first stop is the Parmesan Reggiano factory where we see the fresh milk coming in from the local farms. Alessandro introduces us to the head cheese maker and his nine year old son. We witness the addition of rennin and separation of the curds into giant cheese cloths, and then into forms allowing the cheese to age in specially salted tanks of water.  Next we visit the thermostatically controlled rooms for aging and final testing of the KING of CHEESES.   

 

Alessandro shows the cutting of the curds    

 

Doug in aging Parmesan Reggiano heaven…………

Next, with a supply of REALLY FRESH ricotta, we travel to a beautiful farm and villa  in Modena where we will taste samples of the original Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena.  As the story goes, the owners of this historic villa discovered twelve ancient barrels of balsamic vinegar in the attic when they bought the property in 1947.

Alessandro among the casts of liquid gold Aceto Balsamico

Like liquid gold, they have been producing and marketing this original product ever since. After meeting the owners, we are treated to 10, 25, and 45 year old aceto over our fresh ricotta AND vanilla gelato!  Can life get better than this?…yes it can, and Alessandro will make it possible.

 

Tasting 45 year old aceto on fresh ricotta!

 

Next it’s off to visit the Prosciutto di Modena DOP factory where we see the freshly butchered and salted legs of specially selected prime pork. Again , Alessandro escorts us on a very personal and “up close”  experience as the legs of prosciutto go through a process that will take many months of pain staking processing before they are graded and finally attain the highest designation as Prosciutto di Modena DOP.

 

Bone testing aged Prosciutto di Modena legs…..ready for marketing.

After sampling the delicious sweet and slightly salty delicacy we’re back in the van and headed for a “light lunch” in a little trattoria high in the bucolic hills of Modena.  Many kilometers later of mountain roads we arrive at the ancient farm house.  Alessandro explains that this special trattoria is frequented only by locals, and run by the 89 year old female chef.  I have been sworn not to reveal the name or location of this piece of nirvana.  Our “light lunch”  begins with FOUR exquisite pastas!  Amazing lasagna verde, tortellini that has ruined me forever,  tagliatelle with wild boar sauce and giant spinach stuffed  agnolotti.   Next its coniglio arrosto (roasted rabbit) and more tender chunks of cinghiale (wild boar )   Of course, the meal is accompanied by an endless re-supply of white sparkling wine (Pignoletto) indigenous to the Bologna area .

Close to food /wine comas in secret trattoria in the hills of Bologna

After delicious berries and fresh gelato we are helped back into the Mercedes in a total food/wine coma…to be delivered back to the door of our wonderful boutique Hotel PortoSan Mamolo  http://www.hotel-portasanmamolo.it/en/index.htm   at 4:30 pm.

Favorite Bologna Hotel ........ Porta San Mamolo

This has been a full eight hour day of FOODIE heaven…..and all because of the greatest food/wine guide in Italy.  So if you are ever  thinking of visiting  Bologna, don’t forget to hire Alessandro to be your guide. www.italiandays.it.   Or e-mail him at info@italiandays.it.    Buon Appetitto! 

About the Author  Part time chef  Doug Cordier, is a food writer, TV cook,       Certified Ergonomic Consultant and business man. Doug is the owner of Cascom Group Travel and has been teaching corporate and Italian cooking classes for twenty years. For more foodie thoughts and recipes, try www.cookingwithcordier.com 

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