Pizza (4 / 5)
Value (4.5 / 5)
Quality (4.5 / 5)
If you HAD to live off it forever, how happy would you be? (4.5 / 5)
I’m going to say this upfront. The pizza, and actually all the food I ate throughout my travels in Emilia Romagna was up there in the best I’ve eaten in Italy. Starting in Rimini, I sampled three different pizzerias and some of the local ‘piada’ (almost like a tortilla wrap, with filling inside) and every single piece was at the very least above average. Despite there not being a great deal of pizzerias, the take-away pizza that I did find was all served by the slice, around the £2 mark. It had a spongier, thicker base and always tasted perfectly seasoned. The toppings were among the best I’d encountered too – my personal favourite being the mushroom and truffle oil. But others included seasonal ingredients like radicio and artichokes.
Next on my Emilia Romagnan adventure took me to Parma. Again, there didn’t seem to be an overwhelming amount of pizzerias but there were a lot of bakeries with pizza and focaccia on offer. And similarly to Rimini, the pizza took on a thicker, spongier base and was priced by weight. Despite the first, rushed piece I ate (I was so hungry), the rest of what I tried was delicious. One was topped with Parma ham, artichokes and mushrooms and tasted so fresh and a little salty (which I always enjoy). What I found interesting in Parma was that a lot of bakeries gave you the option of focaccia type pizza, or the normal pizza – although both looked pretty similar to me! Another speciality which you’d find in most pizzerias/bakeries was ‘gnocho fritto’ which was essentially deep fried bread, either plain or filled with saucy fillings. I tried a couple while in Parma, and I think my ‘nice’ conclusion is that I’ll be sticking with the pizza!
Bologna, one of Italy’s food havens had to deliver good pizza, surely?! On first impressions, I found it near impossible to find. However, after a bit of searching I came across a few pizzerias including a chain called L’Altro Pizza (Other Pizza) serving generous squares of stringy, cheesy deep pan pizza by the slice for £1.30 – £1.80. I opted for the sausage one and was immediately surprised at how hot it was as take-away pizza never seems to be served hot in Italy! It tasted more similar to the type of pizza you’d find at Pizza Hut or Dominos to that I’ve tried in Italy and I think because I’d eaten so much thin, Italian pizza, this American inspired pizza was a joy to me. Funnily enough, the other pizzas I tried in both Bologna and Modena were presented and tasted very similar.
In terms of eating out, as expected, every regional pizza I tried offered the Neapolitan version, using wood fired ovens. All were served on large circular china plates and had thin, crispy bases – again, nowhere near as what I tasted in Naples but a nice change to the stodgy, doughy ones I’d eat during the day. This continues to prove, alongside asking the locals, that no matter how proud Italians seem to be about their regional food, they all seem to agree that the Neapolitan pizza is the best. I even have the evidence here when I asked two guys from different areas in Italy.
I gained a lot of inspiration from my travels around Emilia Romagna, mainly that you can get tasty pre-cooked pizza by the slice and for a very reasonable price. It also gave me a lot of food for thought for MYO, both in terms of recipes and presentation ideas. So, it’s pretty safe to say – Emilia Romagna more than delivered on the pizza front and I’ll be trialling their recipes ASAP.