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.
Coppa Festival – Carpaneto Piacentino
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.
Food and Wine Festival – Val Tidone
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.
Taste of Salt – Cervia
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.
Tartufesta – Bologna Apennines
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.
Fish Festival: Cesenatico
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.
November Porc: Sissa, Polesine Parmense, Zibello, Roccabianca
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:
- Biggest Mariolone (in Sissa)
- Heaviest Prete (in Polesine Parmense)
- Longest Strolghino (in Zibello)
- Biggest Chocolate (in Roccabianca)
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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