‘Enologica’ is a three-day event in the city of Bologna.

It has taken place for 16 years. Winemakers from Italy’s northern region of Emilia-Romagna come to share products inside a stately, ancient city palace named Palazzo Re Enzo. This year (this past weekend) the event included master classes focused on matching food and wines.

Tasting wines inside Palazzo Re Enzo in Bologna, Italy

Emilia-Romagna includes remnants of an ancient Roman road named Via Emilia. This ran from what is now RImini on the Adriatic coast inland and westward to Placentia. Some dishes that were prepared at Enologica highlighted rich and varied food types that are found along this route.

Looking out from Palazzo Re Enzo, Bologna

Each master class included three layers.

First, each participant sat before eight glasses of wine, selected according to a specific theme (rosé, or sparkling wines, for example). Second, a moderator led a three- to five-person panel of relative experts talking about wine types and local geography. Third, behind this panel a renowned regional chef prepared a dish that matched these wines. During the tasting, participants were then served portions of the chef’s completed dish.

Below are listed four chefs, four dishes, and dozens of selected matching Emilia-Romagna wines.

Palazzo Re Enzo Exterior



Chef Federico d’Amato, of ‘Caffè Arti e Mestieri’ in the Emilio Region

Federico learned much from his father—a Michelin starred chef in Emilia-Romagna. They work together now, after their family’s first restaurant—Rigoletto—was destroyed by an earthquake in 2012.

Chef Federico d’Amato


Iodized brackish oysters, feathered game and pork.

This dish is named Dal delta del Pò agli appennini attraverso la Via Emilia. Or, From the Po River delta to the Apennine Mountains by way of the Emilia Roman Road.

Chef d’Amato explained.

‘We decided to prepare territorial cuisine. This dish travels from the plains up to the Apennine mountains. The pork has filling of wild game and truffles—which are seasonal. The dark sauce is made from the pork.

From the river to the mountains


Selected matching wines were all sweet wines, because these match regional pork dishes well. These included Malvasia, sparkling Lambrusco and ‘passito’ wines made using grapes that are sun-dried on straw mats to intensify their sweetness.

(In the notes below, winery names are identified first.)

Presenting Fattoria Moretto wines



Chef Silvia Cottafavi, of ‘Restaurant Enoteca Ristretto’ in Modena.

Chef Silvia Cottafavi


Passatello with guinea fowl ragu.

Dry passatello pasta—which includes eggs, Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs—were crushed with potatoes to form bigoletti, which was then cooked in guinea-fowl broth. The broth was made from bones and portions of the bird, and cooked with carrots, onions, celery, salt, pepper and rosemary. Parmesan was added to the completed dish.

Chef Cottafavi explained.

‘My philosophy is to use traditional ingredients, not in a traditional way, but according to every specific situation. Pasta is made with eggs, and also lemon to add freshness and to leave the mouth cleaner. The pasta shells are boiled in the broth.’

Passatello with guinea fowl ragu  


Chef Cottafavi’s ragu dish was matched with Pignoletto wines. Pignoletto is a white Emilia-Romagna wine made from at least 95% Grechetto di Todi (aka Grechetto Gentile) grapes from the region of Bologna. This wine has big, sweet and floral aromas, and can have a herbaceous and citric taste.

Collection of Pignoletto wines



Chef Francesco Carboni of ‘Acqua Pazza’ Restaurant, Bologna.

Chef Carboni focuses on seafood—taken from the Adriatic Sea on the eastern border of Emilia-Romagna. He and wife Camilla opened their restaurant in 2008.

‘I’m a self-learner, cooking since I was a young boy. My family taught me to respect ingredients, including wine. Our restaurant name means ‘crazy water.’

Chef Francesco Carboni


Chef Carboni explained.

‘Via Emilia Statale 9 is the dish name, a tribute to the cuisine along the old Roman road Via Emilia. The seafood is from Rimini, pasta (narrow tagliatelle) from Bologna, balsamic vinegar from Modena, ham from Parma and pumpkin from Piacenza. The mackerel is marinated and then smoked, and balsamic penetrates the clams. I also prepare a ham broth with pumpkin sauce that is very aromatic.’

Seafood, pasta, ham, vinegar and pumpkin


The seafood dish was matched with rosé wines, including sparkling rosés.

Lusvardi wines in Emilia-Romagna



Chef Irina Steccanella of ‘Irina Trattoria’ in Savigno.

Irina runs a classical trattoria, and respects traditional restaurants. She believes that those who eat her food should consider it as good as that of their mother or grandmother. The small town of Savigno, where her restaurant is located, has four good butchers—each of them different in style. There are also local dairies, an abundance of truffles when in season and ready access to local Pignoletto, Sangiovese and Lambrusco wines.

Chef Irina Steccanella


Porcino mushroom with garlic, oil and chili. The mushrooms come from the Apennine mountains of Emilia-Romagna, and the oil and chili come from close to the Mediterranean Sea. Irina highlighted the timing of her dish.

‘The porcini mushroom is the king of this dish. It’s important to use it now because it’s in season.’

Porcino mushroom with garlic, oil and chili


Her dish is paired with bubbling and sparkling wines (bollicine e vini spumante).

Sparkling wines from Emilia-Romagna



Bologna, a historical university town, kicks with lively energy. There is late dining at small cafes and you can wander through arched and covered alleyways or view people from any plaza cafe table. In the heart of Emilia-Romagna, this is a culturally colorful and fun place to call a gathering point.

Midnight in Bologna
Mixed charcuterie and Lambrusco wine at La Prosciutteria in Bologna

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