Many well known top quality Italian foods come from Emilia Romagna in Northern Italy; to name just a few think of prosciutto di Parma, mortadella, balsamic vinegar from Modena and Parmigiano Reggiano.
This is also the place where you can find an incredible variety of fresh delicious pasta. Think of tortellini, cappellacci, lasagne or tagliatelle and also of the classic “Ragu’ alla Bolognese” or “Bolognese sauce” as it is known in the UK.
Although I have visited parts of Emilia I have not yet had a proper culinary tour of the region; This is something I have been longing to do for a long time.
Until that happens I have visited a newly opened restaurant in Shoredich, London named “Via Emilia”, an ancient Roman road which still crosses the region connecting the main cities.
This restaurant specializes in fresh pasta and every single product including beer and wines come from the region of Emilia Romagna.
It was a pleasure to see Jessica, the chef making fresh pasta with so much passion and expertise.
She made tagliatelle, tagliolini, spaghetti, ravioli, tortellacci and tortellini. A delicious distintive smell was spreading throughout the kitchen and when I turned around I saw just what I was expecting: a large pot of brodo (broth) bubbling away, it reminded me of my mamma’s cooking. Jessica was making brodo for her tortellini.
I was really surprised that she made all her pasta by hand. In England you don’t see it in restaurants so much these days and of course it is a sign that these people take their food seriously and care about taste and quality.
This is just like a proper Italian trattoria where you can pop in at lunch and have a bowl of pasta. Prices are reasonable: their starters and nibbles cost from £2.50 to £11 and their bowl of pastas from £ 5.50 to £ 11.
At Via Emilia you can also try the famous “Gnocco Fritto”: little rectangles of dough made with flour and lard and then fried making it dangerously addictive and ideal to be served with the finest Italian cold cuts and cheeses.
In fact I was served gnocco fritto with a selection of cured meats from Emilia Romagna of course, precisely Parma ham, coppa and salame felino all washed down with Lambrusco wine. God it was good, so good.
This was followed by a selection of fresh pasta: pisarei (little gnocchi with beans typical of the region), ravioli with ricotta and spinach, butternut squash capellacci and tortellini in brodo with a filling of pork and parmesan.
To finish off a light version of tiramisu’ made without egg yolks was the perfect finishing touch.
If I am in London again and feeling hungry I would definitely come back here for a spot of lunch.
Many thanks to all the team at Via Emilia restaurant.
Via Emilia by FOOD ROOTS
37A Hoxton Square, London N1 6NN
I was invited to Via Emilia to review their restaurant.