Have you ever asked yourself what you are really eating and what is behind the food that is in your dish? You might find it interesting especially when you have the chance to experience it directly with people working on that.
Romagna has a very long coast: sandy beaches full of “ombrelloni” and children playgrounds in the summer, low sea, and a very romantic atmosphere in winter. It’s a very common habit for local people who are not living in any city of the coast, to go on Sunday and eat fish in one of the many restaurants in the area.
Fish and Buonvivere in Romagna
Fish is a very important food here and workers as fish men gather in cooperatives to work in a better way and have their rights represented in political and economic caucuses or lobbies. It’s a very hard job: wake up early in the morning, no matter what the weather is, a pray to the Lord and the Virgin Mary before going out and hope to catch something and then go back to the harbor to sell fish.
Every night, around midnight, is different: fish man launch their nets and hope for the best. For the second part of Romagna Buonvivere blog tour we stayed in Riccione, the so called “Perla Verde”. In the 60’s this little town was the capital of jet set. Vips came here to spend their holidays in a foolish carnival of parties, discos and shopping. The most extravagant fashion trends were born here, even before Milan.
And still now that glamourous flair is in the air. So no surprise we were treated as the Vip of Buonvivere, staying in the brand new Four Star Hotel San Giorgio. I will write later on about it.
The adventurous Stefano Cecchini: the king of fish men
Our program, defined months ago, was to sail on a real fishing boat and help the fish men in their work. The only sine qua non condition: having a nice weather. Well, we almost had it, but instead of fishing whatever, we caught mussels. Do you remember the boat of Forrest Gump for shrimps? Ours was quite similar.
Before going out we were offered a traditional lunch on a big boat (they told us it was once a military one). Fresh, very fresh fish, good company and laughs. That’s Buonvivere here! Typical cannocchias (mantis shrimp), mussels and “bizulat”, the rounded dry bread that fishmen used to hang in the ship kitchen and still made by only one place in Cattolica.
Mussels are not normal fish, they are not caught in nets, rather they are raised in farms in the middles of the sea, some kilometers far away from the beach. Fields studded with black buoys that indicates the place of the mussels rows, floating horizontally.
Every field has a different owner, who check if mussels are ready to be harvested. Fisher men prepare long plastic tubes with a white plastic net, so that they can grab and grow. This breeding system was invented here and produces the best mussels of Italy, even exported in other Italian regions. So, now that you know!
Returning to the harbor, with the wind on our face and the awareness that we lived a great adventure, we just enjoyed some chats with the fishermen that guided us and than had the time to enjoy the sunset of Romagna.
Tips and info
Cattolica is the last town of Emilia Romagna, at the border with Le Marche, and has a special landscape: on the left the long beaches of Adriatic coast and on the right the natural reserve of Monte San Bartolo.
Cattolica has a railwaystation, so you can take the train and then rent a car there, I you want to visit the surroundings (quite advisable).
In the morning, you will find some fisherman boats that cook directly on the boat and offer fresh fish dishes to the people. In the harbor there are some nice restaurants to enjoy nice food at sunset.
Read more here on Janicke Hansen’s blog!