There is no doubt, the Italian cuisine is one of the best in the world.
(it’s not an opinion, but a fact ;P )

But how?
What is Italians’ secret ingredient?

I like to travel because I always learn something new that can change my way of living, improving it and understanding how to make me happy.
I’ve always opted to travel away from my country, Italy. You know how it is. When you live in a place it is hard to see it from a touristic point of view.

Recently I’ve hosted one of my dearest friends from Belgium. I must thank her because she made me open my eyes for my own country, Italy.

I’ve realized that I live in one of the most beautiful regions of Italy, Emilia-Romagna.

It is a region full of beautiful old monuments and cities however this is not why it is famous. Emilia Romagna is the gastronomic beating heart of the Italian Cuisine. Tortellini, tortelloni, piadine, tigelle, lasagne, tagliatelle al ragù( ragù is the meat s sauce that is called “Bolognese sauce” outside of Italy) all of these are just a few examples of the famous food that comes from Emilia Romagna.

Parmigiano Reggano cheese and the Aceto Balsamico are two of the best thing that you will ever taste.

The Italians are people who incarnates the value of family and tradition. I think that sometimes these two values are keeping them back from evolving, because, in order to evolve, there must be changes and the majority of Italians are really reluctant to do that.
These two values; family and tradition, mixed up with passion, are the reason that today we have the possibility to eat the delicious Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese and the Aceto Balsamico(balsamic vinegar) from Modena.

These two products are only made in the province of Modena by local families that are keeping up, patiently, the tradition. Why patiently?
Well I found out that Parmigiano cheese has to rest from a minimum of 18 months till 50 months.

The Aceto Balsamico D.O.C. in due to be approved to be bottled as the real traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena takes from a minimum of 12 years or 25 years to get the label of Aceto Balcamico DOC of Modena.  In the store I’ve also seen a bottle of balsamic vinegar that had rested for 80 years!!

These are the barrels where the Aceto Balsamico is kept for all these years

You can understand that because of the long time that it takes for making to selling these two good traditional Italian products the activity and all the secrets of making Parmigiano or the balsamic vinegar will pass from father to son or daughter.

So because it takes years before they can actually have a profit and be able to sell their product it becomes a family business. This heritage will pass from generation to generation. Every new generation will become responsible to keep this traditional business alive.

The awesome thing that I’ve found out going on these two tours is that this are products without any added chemical preservative! The quality standards of this two product are extremely high and the Italians are proud of their traditional food. You’ll find on the market only the products that had passed exams and exams. Only excellence is allowed to get in your fridge!

Now that I know how much time, work, passion and patience it takes to produce the Parmigiano and the Aceto Balsamico from Modena the value of these products improved. Now, when I grate my Parmigiano on my risotto or when I add my Aceto Balsamico to my salad, I’m enjoying it more. It’s absolutely true that understanding how the product is made and understanding how much work it takes to make it, you appreciate them more. Suddenly they become more tasty and yummy!

This is why you should come to visit Bologna and Modena. Tasting and getting the knowledge of how the best traditional Italian products are made, makes the difference and will improve your life. For example knowing how old the Parmigiano must be to have the best taste, or knowing which vinegar and when to add it to your dish will actually change your life.
A small piece of your favorite Parmigiano can become a little daily pleasure. It can become the cherry on top of your cake, or it can comfort you during a bad day. Plus it is healthier than chocolate or ice cream 😉
but if you really feel like chocolate I recommend you this one.

It is chocolate filled up with Aceto Balsamico. Yes, I know, it sounds terrible but trust me and my Belgium friend, it is really delicious!

You can find the chocolate on the Acetaia Malpighi web site. They ship their products all over the world!
If you are curious about all the process of making Parmigiano Reggiano, check out the videos here.

So… what is Italians’ secret ingredient?