People of Romagna have the sense of the past times! Generation to generation, children learn their first things from grandparents. The wrinkles that open in a smile on their faces tell that they lived a tough life, but still they want to transfer this storybook to their children. Still nowadays, grannies are the center piece of our life. I didn’t have the luck to have one until I met Nonna Violante.
My first blog tour: from a food experience to a life emotion
Monica Cesarato and I have been in contact since a long time. Facebook was our virtual meeting place to talk, have fun, comment, exchange new ideas. No surprised I was thrilled when she told me she has been invited in September to stay at Bellaria-Igea Marina. “Great, let’s met face to face, finally”. However, she had a surprise for me! “Hey, I’m organizing a food blog tour there, why don’t you jump in?” LOL, I’m a local blogger, quite weird to be invited for a tour in the area, but also a wonderful chance to spend some time with her and see Romagna with the eyes of other bloggers. Nonna Violante is the head of a women hotel owners. She inherited the Hotel Eliseo (one of the first hotels in town) from her father and her grandmother. Bernardetta and her lovely daughter Maria Regina (who organised LovingRomagna) are now following the same path, from woman to woman. This little hotel is like a nice and warm home, where everyone is welcomed as an old friend (try and then let me know!)
Since she was a young girl, she spent her time in the kitchen, her true passion, cooking the dishes of the local tradition respecting the original recipes but also adding some of her creativity. Some of the recipes she shared with us are totally her creation, not just to invent something new but to enjoy and offer something good to her children and nephews. The result? The real taste of Romagna!
Bellaria and Igea Marina: the real Riviera Adriatica
Far away from the glamour, the crowd and the noise of other towns in the area, Bellaria is an elegant and style full little town. Arriving in town by car or by train, you will notice a very well kept “passeggiata” with little nice hotels along the way until the harbor. No notice of wasted buildings (quite a common thing in other seaside towns) or bad situations. A niche that both the tourism operators and the Municipality want to keep well alive.
Since the Hotel Eliseo is one of the first built here (the building is still the original one), Nonna Violante is the local VIP! Her kitchen is famous all over the area and customers keep on coming here just to have a few days tasty experience before going home. During LovingRomagna we had the chance to stay behind and cooking, learning, hearing, directly the secrets of her dishes. A way to understand Romagna through the food and also a way to learn what’s behind the dishes that come on our table.
Tasting the Romagna of Nonna Violante
She’s a passionate of food, she’s a passionate of kitchen but before all she a true Romagna woman: enthusiastic, smiling, brave, warm.
This photo tells her first meeting with the group of bloggers. No fear (even if she doesn’t speak a word of English) but simply the pleasure to share her life. Cooking may be fun but it is also a hard work. Hands are still very important notwithstanding the automatic devices that man has invented to better women’s work.
And handmade past, the Real One, is still made completely by hand.I want to underline this concept: the Real Italian Handmade pasta is made BY HAND and not with a machine!
Nonna Violante, as many girls of her age, learned to roll the dough with the typical “mattarello”, a wooden stick, since she was a child. Lesson number one: the traditional technique of rolling passes from mother to children. Even nowadays, a lot of Romagna girls can do that. It’s a sort of DNA information that flows in our blood.
Which is what she is passing to Bernardetta and Maria Regina, daughter and granddaughter and to all those, like us, that have the chance to meet her.
A step into the Kitchen
Three days of cooking lesson! Great I thought, I love cooking, sometime more than eating. As you can read, the menu was tough enough to do.
But first, we have tasted Romagna at the harbor, where we have been welcomed by the Municipality of the town. Local wine and piadina with “sardoncini”, a special local fish similar to anchovies and mussels, taken by the sea farm in front of us by fisherman that still works in the area.
Time to start cooking! Stay tuned!
Bellaria Igea marina is on the cost. Take the A14 highway from Bologna and exit at Rimini Nord, than follow the indications for Bellaria. If you are landing at Bologna Airport, you can also reach the place by train, stopping at Bellaria railway station. Consider the idea to rent a car, just because the town is on the line of Valle del Rubicone and Val Marecchia, two wonderful areas to discover in a summer day, enjoying the hills of Romagna.