Are you looking for a unique Valentine’s Day Gift for your loved one?
It can be a gift with a balsamic heart… Makes little sense to you? Please continue to read.
Saint Valentine’s day is almost there. 14th February is the day in which couples annually celebrate their love. For this special day, they want to do something out of the ordinary; living a romantic experience or giving each other a memorable gift, provided it is heart-shaped of course.
If you are planning to explore the Emilia region – the western portion of Emilia-Romagna in the North of Italy famous for Bologna city of food, Parmesan cheese and Parma ham, you can enjoy a very romantic experience with a hidden balsamic heart. The province of Modena and Reggio Emilia, west to Bologna, are the areas of origin for Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, which is one of the many DOP (PDO- Protected Designation of Origin) -certified food products of the region. This product is still relatively unknown globally, but it is very popular and significant to the Emilians, who are well-known for being big-hearted people.
Balsamic Vinegar comes right from their heart, and from their strong efforts to pass this tradition on and on to the new generations. Why do we say “efforts”? Because it takes at least 12 years of aging, filling and topping to obtain a precious tiny 100ml-bottle of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.
This is is definitively a loving act towards their land.
A guided tour on Balsamic Vinegar is an inspiring experience that celebrates the love for farming and for the family.
You will hear the stories behind, smell and taste a noble product that is nowadays considered a valuable culinary ingredient, as much as truffle is – to be used in few drops and in special occasions.
Locally, you can try it over Parmigiano Reggiano cheese in flakes, or on traditional first dishes such as Risotto and beef Fillet, or to dress plain Gelato or the Vignola Moretta cherry, just to mention a few.
A Balsamico Tour is also a sensory experience.
You can smell pungent and intense aromas in the aging rooms, a rich and distinctive taste of Balsamic Vinegar in your mouth, and enjoy a dreamy landscape of the foggy Po Valley in Febraury. The areas where most Acetaie are located are in fact in farmlands in the valley or on the hills, with plenty of vineyards, cherry trees and gorgeous Medieval villages.
On the Eastern border of Modena is in fact the so-called Terre di Castelli (Land of Castles) https://www.terredicastelli.eu/en/ between the plains and the Apennines. This corner of Italy is still very uncontaminated and far from mass tourism, and merges gastronomy, culture, and nature in just few kilometers.
Not far from here are the charming Bolognese Hills. Here, there are several small artisanal wineries that offer exclusive romantic wine tasting for lovers on Saint Valentine’s day.
A classic and timeless Valentine’s gift is Chocolate.
Today, Master Chocolatiers’ creations can suit everybody’s palate, from chocolate heart-shaped cakes to colorful chocolate hearts.
If your partner likes the saying “Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get” from Forrest Gump movie, you can definitively buy him or her a box of assorted chocolates.
As our guests know, the keywords in our Food Tours are “Artisans” and “Artisanal”. The same goes for chocolate; On Valentine’s day, go for local and artisanal chocolate!
Without devaluing the big prestigious brands of chocolate producers, we have discovered chocolates with a very special heart in our food tours and tasting: chocolates with a balsamic filling.
A soft balsamic heart beats inside chocolates, in Modena, and it tastes so good! Here are two options:
In the historical centre of Modena, we tasted the Cioccolatini al Balsamico at Antica Pasticceria San Biagio http://www.pasticceriasanbiagio.it/en/ . Located along the main avenue Via Emilia Centro, it is one of the oldest Pastry places in town and has been declared “Bottega Storica dell’Emilia-Romagna” (an ancient food store that has been preserved as it was originally for at least 50 years). Modena’s people love this place and their Torta delle Rose, a soft cake similar to Naples Babà that is sold especially for Christmas.
In the Medieval village of Vignola, we tasted a Yummy chocolate with balsamic vinegar filling at “Da Giulia Ringraziando Le Nonne”. This tiny Bistrot and Café offers a variety of homemade cakes and cookies for breakfast, homemade Pasta dishes for lunch and a great assortment of high-quality artisanal chocolates, including the balsamic-filling version. So, if you want more than just a balsamic feeling in your mouth, you can try different delicious fillings: cherry, raspberry, limoncello, mint, Mascarpone, and Parmesan, to mention our favorites.
If your loved one is not only a chocolate lover but also a fervent supporter of authentic typical foods, this Saint Valentine day you should really get her or him a nice box of these artisanal chocolates.
A Plus is that the atmosphere in the Bistrot is warm and people are very friendly. In late afternoon it is less crowded and can be worthy to stop for an informal date with two glasses of high-quality sparkling Lambrusco or Pignoletto wine – and chocolates of course.
May your Saint Valentine be the sweetest ever !
Katia Perdicaro, Founder of Emilia Storytellers