Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Modena - pizza for health

Modena is a city and commune on the south side of the Po valley, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. This was the last overnight stop of our Christmas Vacation before returning to our Italian home, Milan.

It is an ancient town, and the seat of an archbishop; but is now best known as "the capital of engines". Factories of the famous Italian sports car makers Ferrari, De Tomaso, Lamborghini, Pagani and Maserati are, or were, located here and all, except Lamborghini, have headquarters in the city or nearby. As we are driving into town we spot a white Lamborghini being towed on a truck. I instantly predicted our next destination to be filled with sports cars, turtle neck sweaters and botoxed passengers holding fluffy white dogs. Askew prediction. Modena greeted me with old Fiats, woolen vests and double chins. (Not entirely true, but I was definitely off the mark.) It was not what I was expecting from a town that prided itself on fast cars. In fact everything seemed a little slow...

We did manage to see and have some interesting moments:

  • sighting an old man selling lottery tickets with cardboard posters stapled to his head

  • spotting a 'gym restaurant' that was a pizzeria (not sure if this is the healthiest food?)

  • having our breakfast waiter speak to my husband in French, children in Italian, and myself in English, (we must be looking like quite the international family at present), for some reason he was certain soul mate was French?

Modena is well known in culinary circles for its production of balsamic vinegar. Aceto balsamico tradizionale, is aged for 12 to 25 years, more effort than a good wine, and a lot cheaper too. Due to the city's reputation as 'Balsamic King', I presumed that there would be deli's and specialty stores on every corner. Surely they should be capitalising on their reputation; like Rome selling Rosemary beads, French selling champagne, or Australia selling a shrimp on the barbie. Where was my man standing on the corner dressed as a foam balsamic vinegar bottle? We searched, and searched, and eventually ended ten minutes walk out of town to the local grocery store. This was the reason I picked Modena in the first place; I must have my vinegar! In conclusion; the bottles look no different than than the ones purchased in the shop under my apartment at home, I did however buy a balsamic caramelised vinegar, 1.70€, never would of got it if I did not come to Modena. (Actually it was a product of La Loggia, 3 hours away from Modena, and half the distance to home Milan. Oops.)

IF Interesting Fact

Residents of Modena obviously do not get a discount on the price of sports cars otherwise everyone would be driving them.

You can buy delicious balsamic vinegar anywhere, no need to travel too far.

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