Thursday, 4 September 2014

Gastronomic Treasure of Italy...

Our favourite agriturismo last year was Podere Prasiano, located in Marano Sul Panaro in the province of Emilia Romagna.
We loved this place and the hosts, Emmanuela and Massimo, so much that we jumped at the opportunity to revisit them.
They make us feel at home! 

When we arrived we were greated with smiles all around and Lambrusco wine.

Emmanuela's cooking is to die for! It's by far the best I have tasted! 
She cooks a set menu every night (apart from Sundays) depending on the fresh local produce available. For dinner we started with antipasti of figs topped with proscuitto and ham stuffed with spianch and ricotta in a Tortelloni style parcel. 
I have eaten melon with proscuitto many times, but never figs. It was soooo much nicer! The sweetness of the figs paired perfectly with the gorgeous local proscuitto of modena.

Our second antipasti was fresh tomato (from the garden) and basil bruschettas, along with delicious local parmigiano drizzled with sweet syrupy Balsamico! 

For primi course we had a pasta dish called Rosette di Pasta all'Emiliana - which literally means pasta roses. It is rolls of pasta with a béchamel sauce and proscuitto inside and baked. It is a very local teach of Emilia Romanga. It was A-mazing! It was lovely to try a pasta dish that I had never heard of before! :) 
So of course, when I was offered seconds I couldn't resist! 

For the secondi course, Massimo did his BBQ. We had a mix of barbecued meat including pancetta, pork steaks, beef steaks and sausage meat steaks. Accompanied by rosemary potatoes and salad dressed in balsamico. Perfect!

For dessert we had Emmanuela's take on pana cotta. The fruit was fresh cherries from the garden, made into a compete, topped with a ricotta cream! 

We awoke the following morning to Emmanuela's amazing breakfast! I forgot how good they were! Defiantly the best on our travels. 
Her crostata tarts made with their own fruit and her cakes are to die for!

We spent the day enjoying the sun relaxing by the pool. 

The view from the pool is amazing!! 

For dinner we visited an organic farm, which I will blog about later in the week. 

The following day, we planned to go out but the weather was way too hot to walk around in, so we decided to read our books by the pool.
For dinner, Emmanuela treated us to 2 antipastis, the first consisting of spicy salami, sweet cherry tomatoes and a caramelised onion with balsamico tart! The tart was superb!  

The second antipasti was a local cheese wrapped in pastry and chunks of parmigiano drizzled with balsamico.

For the primi course we had a pasta dish with sausage meat, baby courgettes (zucchinis) and tomatoes. 
The pasta was so unusual, it was shaped into triangles.  
You can not beat the homemade pasta that Emmanuela makes - it's incredible! 

For the secondi course we had beef slices and pork slices both in a sauce accompanied by stuffed tomatoes and salad. 

For dessert we had ricotta alla crema with the smallest drizzle of balsamico. Wow! It was gorgeous! Just that small drizzle made the dish into it's own! 

The following day was colder and cloudy, so we taught Emmanuela some photography tips, as she loves photographing all her beautiful flowers in her garden. 

I even managed to take some selfies with Eddi! :) 

One of my favourite parts of the breakfasts is the fresh organic yogurt.

In the evening we dinned with a lovely couple from Switzerland, Bruno and Barbera. We shared some interesting stories and I learnt a little bit about their culture.

For antipasti we had local cheese, tartlets and spicy jam, along with lovely little parmesan cheese cookies - they worked so well! 

For pasta, we had my favourite Tortelloni stuffed with spianch and ricotta, cooked in butter and sage. It was heavenly! Better than I remembered from last year! 
I again, couldn't resist, so I went for seconds :)

For the secondi course we had escalopes of veal cooked and served in the most gorgeous balsamic sauce, served with sautéed mini courgettes and salad.

For dessert, we had one of my favourite cakes that Emmanuela makes - made with potato flour. It's so light and airy it's unbelievable! The cake is layered with gorgeous cream and her apricot jam! 
I was so full at this point, but I could have easily had 4 more slices of this beautiful cake - it was heavenly!!

The following day, rained slightly and was a cloudy so we went on a mini roadtrip. 
We first stopped in a town called Vigolna, where we strolled around soaking up the Italian culture. 
Our second stop was a little town called Castelvertro. The castle was very pretty, it had a life size chess board outside, where people dress up in medieval costumes and perform during festivals.

Our last stop of the day was Dozza, which was about 2 hours from our agriturismo, on the east side of Bologna. 
We visited the spectacular castle! 

They also had a wine cellar in the cellar of the castle, which was recommended to us by our wine connoisseur, Massimo.

We returned to Podere Prasiano with a gorgeous scent of home cooking! 

For dinner, Emmanuela made for antipasti a cheese and pear platter topped with her honey and hazelnuts.

For the second antipasti we had cherry tomatoes, stuffed mini tomatoes with spinach and ricotta and my all time favourite of hers, spinach and ricotta tart - yum!! 

For primi we had green tagliatelle pasta with a sausage ragu sauce, it was absolutely delicious! I love love love green pasta! 

For secondi we had gorgeous beef slices in a promodoro tomato sauce, accompanied by creamy mash potato and slices of beef tomatoes drizzled in olive oil.

For dessert we had peaches, picked in the morning from the garden, accompanied by scrumptious lemon cookies. 

We ended the evening, talking in to the early hours with Emmanuela. She inspires me to want to cook all the time!

I even had an English Rose called Charlotte with my cakes for breakfast! :)

One can not live well, love well, if one has not dined well.. 

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