>>>Fill your boots in Modena

Fill your boots in Modena

Besides vinegar, Modena has an infinity of dishes to fill a culinary weekend. You will find some of them at the best restaurant in the world, Osteria Francescana.
“Our cuisine is a collision of ideas, cultures, techniques and gestures.” That is the definition of Osteria Francescana, run by Italian chef Massimo Bottura. In June, it became the best restaurant in the world, at the gala that precedes publication of the prestigious list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. It stole top position from Celler de Can Roca, Gerona (Spain). Joan Roca underlined that his ‘adversary’ has “a culinary soul, authenticity, love for his country, product and traditions, and an avant-garde perspective.”
Modena vinegars bought at the supermarket are normally flavoured with caramel, while traditional ones use boiled grape must.

A route for car enthusiasts, too

Lots of people visit Modena because of its link to cars. Prestigious brands like Maserati, Lamborghini and Ferrari all have their roots here. The Ferrari museum is one of the most visited, and you can find it in Maranello, about 40 minutes from Modena.

Bottura is the first Italian to take this position. It was far from a shock, though, since last year he was in second place. The restaurant shows how quality cuisine reigns in Italy, but it is also something more: “each plate is a reconstruction of an idea, a memory, a play on words or a wry smile, rendered into a single gesture”.
The World’s Best Restaurant, according to nearly 1,000 culinary experts, is in Modena, Italy. A small town in the Emilia-Romaña region, known for its vinegar. It is well worth visiting a traditional acetaia at one of nearly 50 factories, which include Giorgio and Azienda Villa di Corlo. These are not large factories, but spaces in the attics of people’s homes.
The restaurant recommends you sample their tasting menu.

Pavarotti, illustrious resident

The tenor Luciano Pavarotti was among the illustrious children of Modena. You can visit his house museum, where you will find his suits, photographs, professional awards and personal possessions. Nearby, is an equestrian school, one of the singer’s passions.

Modena is also known for its cured meats. Its prosciutto, alongside the one from Parma, is one of the best known. Another is culatello di zibello (cooked ham), which is boiled in a lentil stew for New Year celebrations. Takeaway being very popular in Italy—pizzas a taglio—the same model is applied to their cold meats, and you can enjoy a baguette on the piazza outside the cathedral. It offers a relaxed setting, and the Duomo is one of the most important Roman buildings in Emilia-Romaña. Its bell tower, Torre della Ghirlandina, stands at over 86 metres high, and is a symbol of the city. You can see it from any point, including from outside Modena. They say it owes its name to its similarity to the Giralda, Seville, Spain.
Osteria Francescana has been among the top five restaurants for eight years.
You may like to sample some gnocchi for dinner, at Trattoria Madonnina. This restaurant opened in 1974, but is installed in a house from 1800. Pasta stuffed with ricotta and spinach is also a star dish in Modena, particularly tortellini and tortelloni. The first, which are smaller, are eaten in soup. Another popular stuffing is pesto modense, a cream made using pork lard, rosemary and garlic, mixed with Parmesan. Pasta is also used as a filling, in Parmesan cheese tartlets. Antica Moka is another traditional establishment. This restaurant is run by Anna Maria Barbieri, and uses natural products, including home-grown vegetables and milk from the family dairy.
But, it is not all pasta; bollito misto (mixed-meat stew) and filetto all’aceto balsámico (steak in vinegar sauce) are other alternatives. Danilo, near the Duomo, is a good choice. Founded in 1934—14-year-old Danilo joined as a waiter in 1960—, it is defined by “the balance between the quality of its dishes, cordiality, simple service and end price”.
The final touch to a weekend of fine aromas and flavours can be found in your dessert. Two possibilities: zuppa inglese, custard and cake soaked in liqueur, and crostata di amarene, cherry tart. A culinary dream, as Massimo Bottura might say.

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