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How to Experience La Dolce Vita in Emilia Romagna

By Amber Hoffman

 
Fellini made the phrase part of contemporary lexicon in his 1960s film, but Italians have been living the sweet life for generations. Enjoying lunch at a long wooden table with friends and family. Sipping wine as the sunsets over a vineyard. Walking arm in arm while enjoying a gelato. Italians living in Emilia Romagna excel at experiencing la dolce vita.

How to Experience La Dolce Vita in Emilia Romagna | Gelato in Emilia Romagna | Italian Sparkling Wine Tour 

Enjoy an Afternoon Lunch at an Agriturismo in Emilia Romagna

What is an agriturismo? Many travelers to Italy don’t know about this unique accommodation option. It sounds rural. It sounds agricultural. Do you have to work on a farm to stay there? Agrotourism is a way for people to experience rural Italy, be close to nature, eat locally grown food, and understand where their food is coming from. And, no, it is not necessary to roll up the sleeves, put on the work boots, and work the farm.

How to Experience La Dolce Vita in Emilia Romagna | Branchini Romagna Winery

If you are looking to get away from it all, to be remote, to be in the country, you should definitely try an agriturismo in Italy. A perfect trip through Emilia Romagna should include at least one or two nights at an agriturismo, as an alternative to being in one of the cities. Even if an overnight stay is not possible, find a lovely agriturismo for lunch. There’s something romantic about an afternoon meal in the Italian countryside, where it’s entirely possible for lunch to stretch until 4 or 5 pm. The true la dolce vita. Where time almost stands still.

Sip Fabulous Wines in Emilia Romagna

When planning a wine tourism visit to Emilia Romagna, there are a few ways to taste the local wines. Looking for the names of the typical wines of the region on restaurant menus is the easiest way to start. Search for Lambrusco, Albana, or Pignoletto to start.

It’s also possible to visit some of the more commercial producers of wine, those that have tasting rooms open to the public. There are other ways, though, to experience the local wine with a little more personal touch.

How to Experience La Dolce Vita in Emilia Romagna | Italian Sparkling Wine Tour

Planning a visit to the smaller wine producers, where Italian hospitality oozes requires more planning, and more patience. It is a world where little English is spoken, but one where memories are created. By using a culinary tour operator, it’s possible to meet with a winemaker who spent hours upon hours, years upon years, producing a wine he is personally proud of. It is an experience few have when traveling in Italy. Sipping wine with an Italian winemaker is just another way to live la dolce vita in Emilia Romagna.

Search For The Perfect Cup of Gelato in Emilia Romagna

A day is not a day in Emilia Romagna without gelato. And the gelato in Emilia Romagna is impeccable. Gelato is everywhere in Italy. Loads of it. In bright colors. All for next to nothing. You’ll see families enjoying gelato in Italy on a Sunday afternoon, and couples strolling arm-in-arm with a cone of gelato, sharing each other’s flavors.

There is so much more to quality gelato in Italy than you might guess. There is a trend in Emilia Romagna where many gelaterie are becoming specialists in artisan gelato. But, how do you tell whether gelato is of the highest quality; if it’s what might be called “artisan” gelato?

How to Experience La Dolce Vita in Emilia Romagna | Gelato in Emilia Romagna

First, an artisan gelateria will only use natural products and no artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors. With no artificial coloring or flavoring, the gelato is not going to be bright red or purple, unless it is due to fresh fruits being added. This means that artisan gelato is not brightly colored like you’ll see elsewhere in Italy. If you see Smurf-blue gelato, it is certainly not artisan.

The second clue: pay attention to how the gelato is stored in the shop. Artisan gelato makers store their gelato not in giant vats, open to the air and the elements, but deep inside the counter top, temperature controlled, and covered by a metal lid. This storage method controls the temperature so the gelato is not exposed to oxygen or light.

Most important: the best way to spend an eating holiday in Emilia Romagna is to secure a scoop of gelato at least once a day!

Emilia Romagna is The Sweet Life

Traveling in Italy is always something special, but in Emilia Romagna a traveler’s experience just becomes a little more elevated. In the bread basket of Italy, it’s possible to slow down, and certainly enjoy la dolce vita!

Author’s Bio: Amber Hoffman is a recovering attorney, professional eater, and the writer behind the food travel blog With Husband In Tow. She recently published The Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna: How to taste the history and tradition of Italy, which is available on Amazon now! The Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna can help you plan the perfect trip through the breadbasket of Italy. In a full 250 pages of culinary guide book yumminess, the guide walks through the key products of the region, and how to taste them. 

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