If you’re a food traveler, or are just looking to experience some of Europe’s best food festivals, head to the region of Emilia Romagna in Italy during the fall. This region is blessed with some of Italy’s most treasured culinary riches. Rent a car and travel from the Apennine Mountains southeasterly to the Adriatic Sea, where you’ll encounter a bevy of unique and historical food-centric celebrations in September and October.
The Coppa, or cured pork neck, festival takes place in Carpaneto Piacentino, at the northern end of Emilia Romagna. The Coppa Festival has been taking place for over 50 years and is dedicated to the PDO (Protected Destination of Origin) salami that comes from Piacenza. Held in early September, it really signals the end of summer.
For the month of September, you’ll want to head to one of four historic villages in the west valley of Piacenza. Every Sunday in September, the villages of Borgonovo, Ziano, Nibbiano and Pianello showcase the region’s food and wine through tastings, shows, and cultural meetings.
Close to the Adriatic Sea, you’ll find the charming town of Cervia, known for its world-renowned sea salt. Once called "white gold," the salt that comes from Cervia is highly regarded and considered a culinary treasure of the Emilia Romagna region. Visit during the festival to see the celebration of "L’Armesa de Sel," or the collection of salt. Even today, workers carry the salt on small boats from the salt works to local storehouses.
The end of October and into early November is the beloved tartufesta, celebrating the start of the famous truffle season. The mountains around Bologna are home to some of Italy’s finest white truffles. The main event is the "Fine white truffle of the Colli Bolognesi," held in Savigno.
Also at the end of October and into early November is the annual fish festival in Cesanatico. This charming fishing village will serve special dishes along the gorgeous alleys of Cesenatico and along the harbor (Porto Canale). Don’t miss special events like a display on ancient icehouses where food was stored before refrigerators.
Every weekend in November, the towns of Sissa, Polesine, Zibello, Roccabianca, all near Parma, celebrate "the greediest salami competition of Italy." Each location sees competitors vying for a different title, which are:
Saturdays feature street markets and food stands offering natural products, fish, the best Italian cured meats, spices, herbal teas and spirits. There are various entertainment offerings, but one of the more unique ones you won’t want to miss is the traditional "salami throwing."
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Erin is a travel and food writer who currently splits her time between the Netherlands and Belize. She's traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents with a passion for culinary travel, luxury hotels, and all things Disney. Her writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Gadling, BootsnAll, CNN, Art of Backpacking, TravBuddy, CBS, and more. She was the major author of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize 2013; wrote the official AFAR Guide to Belize; and is also AFAR Magazine's local Belize expert.. In addition to writing for other publications, Erin maintains several blogs, Our Tasty Travels, No Checked Bags, Pooh's Travels, and the brand new Caye To Belize. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.
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