Modena, home of the balsamic vinegar…we really wanted to tour one of the vinegar properties but everything in the area seemed to be by appointment only and we didn’t plan ahead…we’ll have to learn from this mistake! We drove from Bologna to Modena which was about a 30 minute day trip. The countryside had vines and pear trees. We found the center and parked. We heard the best restaurant in all of Italy is in this town…we wanted to at least peek at the menu.
The town was very quiet and much smaller than Bologna. The restaurant was off the beaten path. We walked into La Francescana and saw the person who greeted us was in a full bow-tie suit and it was only lunch time. We asked to see the menu feeling very under-dressed in our hiking shorts. There were three tasting menus ranging from about 100-175 euros (gulp)! Needless to say, we thanked them for their time and left to find something a little more budget friendly. The food on the menu for the record…looked amazing (as it should for that price).
After some searching through Modena, we found our lunch at Hosteria Giusti (www.hosteriagiusti.it). There were only four tables in the whole restaurant and there was only one other couple in the room. We ordered a bottle of the local specialty, Lambrusco. Lambrusco is a sparkling red wine that has a lot of fruit, is priced very well and is cooling on hot summer days. This particular bottle was going down much too easy. For our antipasti, we started with what looked like puffed pastry pillows with a thin slice of local salami on top. The puffs were airy and the meat melted in our mouths…
For our main course, Giff had a homemade tagliatelle pasta with pork cheek and tomato sauce. I ordered maccheroni al pettine con sugo d’anatra (yes I wrote it down because it was so freaking’ good). It was slow cooked rabbit shredded into a homemade tube pasta and tossed in a butter cream sauce. We closed out the meal with homemade vanilla ice-cream drizzled oh so softly with Modena balsamic vinegar…the ice-cream was…well, it made you want to just roll around naked in it!
We spent about three hours eating our food slowly, sipping our Lambrusco and chatting with the other couple about food and wine. When we were finished, the restaurant lead us out of their front door which was their store…where they sell all kinds of meats and local goods.
Now that we had full tummies, we enjoyed meandering through the town taking pictures and admiring the colored houses and detailed architecture. We also noted there were porticoes in some parts of the town, just like Bologna.
We stopped for a quick espresso at a coffee bar before getting back in the car to drive to our hotel and have a relaxing evening.
Tomorrow we will check into our Parma hotel.