Porcini, Balsamico and Ferrari – Do You Know Where I Am

Porcini, Balsamico and Ferrari. I have given you a great clue…do you know where I am? After a wonderful stay on the Ligurian Riviera, we are heading north to the Emilia-Romagna Region. The area is best known for Parmigiano Reggiano, Balsamico Tradizionale, Prosciutto di Parma  and the Ferrari automobile and formula one racing car factory established by Enzo Ferrari. After a drive through the Apennine Mountains on the main road to Parma, we stopped in the small mountain town of Berceto and had lunch at the Ristorante Da Rino.

Ristorante Da Rino

The prominent ingredient on the menu is fresh porcini mushrooms.

Sweet Potato Stuffed Pasta With Porcini

We had a wonderful homemade pasta stuffed with sweet potato and topped with porcini mushrooms sautéed in butter.

Veal With Porcini

Our second course was tender veal sautéed with white wine, lemon and porcini. The restaurant is a local landmark for traditional food and it did not disappoint in either the food or the service. Back on the road, we headed to our destination of Reggio nell’ Emilia. It’s a lovely town with ancient walls and 16th and 17th century buildings. Many of the streets are restricted to pedestrians and bikes only. I like to call it a city of bicycles. You see men in suits and women in dresses and heels riding the streets on the bikes.

Hotel Posta

The Hotel Posta is where we chose to stay. This is our second stay at this small charming hotel in the center of town. It has been a hotel since 1515, making it one of the oldest in Italy. The hotel is centrally located for touring the rolling countryside dotted with castles as well as the cities of Parma, Modena, Bologna and Maranello.  You can arrange visits to cheese and prosciutto factories, farms that produce balsamic vinegar in the traditional way, or tour the Ferrari museum and factory. With our love of cars, it is not hard to figure that our first trip was to the town of Maranello and the Ferrari museum and factory.

Ferrari Museum

Ferrari Formula One Race Car

We toured the museum and then did a bus tour through the factory and race track. My husband had the biggest grin on his face as it was very interesting. After the tour we walked over to Restaurant Cavallino opposite the main gate of the Ferrari factory. Not only are they known for their very good food but there is racing memorabilia throughout the restaurant giving it a nice atmosphere.

Photo of Enzo Ferrari at Cavallino Restaurant

We started with a frutti di mare and a flan of spinach and carrot topped with parmesan and balsamic vinegar.

Frutti Di Mare

Spinach and Carrot Flan topped with Parmesan and Balsamic

We both had fish for our second course, a branzino crusted with rosemary potatoes and a monkfish in cherry tomato and olive sauce.

Potato Crust Branzino

Monkfish with Cherry Tomatoes and Olives

Naturally one must have dessert when traveling. We shared an outstanding semifreddo topped with dark chocolate and caramel that sat on a sabayon sauce. Needless to say it was worth every calorie.


The next day, Umberto Sidori, the owner of the Hotel Posta invited us to his family home and farm known Cavazzone.

Sidori Family Home

Cavazzone Restaurant in an old barn

There the family operates a country restaurant with six rooms. They raise their own pork as well as produce balsamic vinegar by the traditional method. Before dinner, we climbed to the top of the barn to the vinegar room where the aroma of balsamic vinegar was incredible.

Balsamic Vinegar Room

Umberto explained that the time consuming process of producing true balsamic vinegar takes anywhere from 8 to 30 years. The vinegar starts out in large barrels and each year it is moved to smaller barrels. This is because the vinegar evaporates and concentrates each year. If you have never had the opportunity to taste true balsamic vinegar (not what we buy in the supermarket), please try to find a small bottle in a gourmet store. It is expensive…use it sparingly and you will have a wonderful experience. We then went into the family restaurant that serves typical food of the region. We started with a fried spinach cake.

Fried Spinach Cake

Umberto said the recipe has been in his family for generations. It was so good that we ate half before we remembered to take a photo. Our second course was pasta with porcini mushrooms. Our main course was farm raised pork roasted in balsamic vinegar served with cippolini onions and potatoes.

Roasted Pork in Balsamic Vinegar with Cippolini Onions

I can’t wait to try to recreate some of these fabulous dishes when we are back home. The Emilia – Romagna Region is a foodie paradise. If you are in Italy, be sure not to miss it.


About Karen

I travel the back roads of New England and beyond, sharing great food and interesting places.
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46 Responses to Porcini, Balsamico and Ferrari – Do You Know Where I Am

  1. Truly an area I’d love to visit some day, for the food, the cheese, the vinegar and the Ferrari, Forza! Looks like your trip is just amazingly full and fun! Thanks for taking us along with you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bits, Thank you for your comment. Happy that you are enjoying the trip. If you ever plan a trip to Italy, do make sure to go to this area…you will not be disappointed.

  2. You had me at ‘porcinis’….
    I can almost smell them!

    • Karen says:

      The porcini mushrooms are just incredible. We had a whole platter of them (didn’t include the photo) that were grilled, sauteed, and fried. I had never had a fried porcini before…just delicious.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi Mom and Mickey
    Looks like you are having lots of fun and eating lots of deliciouso meals!! Enjoy your time and dont worry about the calories:) hugs and kisses!! Robin

    • Karen says:

      Hi Robin, Hugs and kisses back to you. Isn’t it fun that you can follow along on our trip. Wish you were with us. We are having loads of fun eating our way through Europe. Hopefully all the walking will help with calories. Mom

  4. Zoe @ Pantry and Fridge says:

    Oh my goodness, I do envy you!
    Everything looks amazing! I hope you’re having enough fun for all of us drooling in the states!

    Vivere, amare e soprattutto, MANGIA!


  5. Monique says:

    Ahh ..you CAN wait to recreate the dishes.. savor every moment there:)

    It all looks over the top wonderful..

    The locations..accommodations..vistas..food….

    Enjoy and again thank you for taking us along..Sublime.

    The family home:)

    One day we hope to go back to Italy..and France..

    • Karen says:

      Hi Monique, Thank you for your lovely comment. You are right…there will be plenty of time to recreate the wonderful dishes. This has been an exceptional trip so far and we are making wonderful memories. I do hope you will return to Italy and France…it is lovely.

  6. roz says:

    I hope that you enjoy E-R, the best culinary provence of Italy. I also wish that you could say hello to all of my family who still live and love in the mountain towns! What a beautiful time to visit! Your photos are wonderful Karen!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Roz, Thank you for your compliment. You are right about Emilia – Romagna being the best culinary provence in Italy. It amazes me that more Americans don’t travel in this area. Not only is the food great but the area is just beautiful. The mountain towns are spectacular…your family is lucky.

  7. Isn’t Italian food just the best in the world.

  8. Wow, I am so hungry now. The first shot alone. My gracious. You are just having such a great time. Good for you both.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Gregg, Thank you for your very nice comment. We are having a great time. I wish all my blogger friends were with us…wouldn’t that be fun.

  9. Robin says:

    Boy, I am jealous! The food looks wonderful! Hopefully we will be spending a few weeks in Italy next year.

    I certainly hope that you can create these wonderful dishes at home and share your recipes! Enjoy!

    • Karen says:

      Hello Robin, Thank you for your comment and joining my adventure. I look forward to sharing some of the recipes when we return home. I know that you will have a wonderful time in Italy next year.

  10. Ann says:

    Oh – stunning! I SO miss the food of Italy….it really is amazing! So delicious and close to the land. I’m glad you’re having fun!

  11. I lived in Northern Italy for a couple of years a long time ago…this brings back happy memories. Thanks. Enjoy!

  12. Sue says:

    Oh my–the food—fantastic looking. I can only imagine how wonderful it must taste.

    On a funny side note, my mother had dated a man named Umberto MANY MANY years ago. She used to talk about him from time to time. It’s the first time I’ve heard that name in ages. Brought back a silly memory!

    Anyways, the trip so far looks wonderful. You’ve seen many remarkable things. Do you speak the language, or how do you get around so well in other countries?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sue, Thank you for your comment. Would you believe that we don’t speak the language of where we travel. So many people speak English that it has never been a problem for us wherever we travel. Since we travel to spots not frequented by Americans very much, sometimes there is a little sign language involved but we always get by just fine. I loved hearing the story about your mother dating an Umberto. Memories are fun.

  13. emily eats says:

    Your trip + the food look amazing! I will have to visit there one day!

  14. ambrosiana says:

    Your pictures are fabulous!! You are truly enjoyimg your trip!!! You came in the right season for delicious Porcini Mushroom!! And Oh Yes!! Emilia Romagana is such a foddie Region!!!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for the compliment on the photos. The sunny weather makes for some great shots. I wish we could get fresh porcini mushrooms at home but I’m eating my fair share now.

  15. ambrosiana says:

    Your pictures are fabulous!! You are truly enjoying your trip!!! You came in the right season for delicious Porcini Mushroom!! And Oh Yes!! Emilia Romagana is such a foddie Region!!!

  16. ChgoJohn says:

    Wow, Karen! What a wonderful time you’re having! Good for you and thanks for bringing us along.

  17. Tandy says:

    Buongiorno. We loved the Ferrari museum and had a good visit at Nello’s pub which also is full of memorabilia. While in the area you should go to Ducati – in Bologna. It is amazing. The first lot of pasta was so yellow – I would love to get mine that colour. Thank you for taking us with you 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tandy, There is a whole route of car makers and museums within an hours drive of Modena. We only did Ferrari this time. I believe the pasta is so yellow because of free range eggs being used.

  18. Charles says:

    Oh wow – aren’t you having quite the culinary experience there. Look at all that food…! That’s so cool to see the balsamic vinegar barrels too! Does it smell nicely of balsamic vinegar there?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charles, We are having the culinary adventure to remember. The smell of balsamic vinegar in the barn was just amazing. Makes you want to go and get some salad greens , tomatoes and cheese.

  19. cabinet stew says:

    wow – don’t you just love Italy and it’s glorious food!!
    I love that the hotel owners brought you home–really must have been amazing to smell and see all that vinegar – I LOVE vinegar – every kind!!

    • Karen says:

      Italy is absolutely wonderful in every way. The scenery, the food, the people…you can’t help but have a great time. The trip to Umberto’s family home, the vinegar and their restaurant was so enjoyable.

  20. spicegirlfla says:

    Oh Karen, I do hope you can try to recreate some of these dishes! They all look to die for!! How wonderful this trip has been and thank you for sharing!!

  21. Michael donofrio says:

    Wow wish I was there

  22. Cayla says:

    the sweet potato stuffed pasta with mushrooms looks beyond delicious! yum!!!! I also loved the antique convertible on your other post! thanks for sharing your pictures, they are all gorgeous!

  23. Fragolina says:

    my husband and I are thinking of visiting Emilia-romagna next year… so seems there are alot of interesting stuff to do, see and taste….

  24. Pingback: Beautiful Italy, Postcards And Memories | Back Road Journal

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