Love, Italian Style

 One year ago as I sipped Nocino and Marasca after lunch at Trattoria Amerigo 1934 in Savigno, Italy. I had no idea how much I would grow to love Italy, it's people, traditions and food.

My story and photographs were featured in Singapore Tatler.

"I’ve been to this region of northern Italy, Emilia-Romagna, many times in the past year, a period when I was very much in love with someone. But that ended peaceably, and I’m now returning alone. What is becoming clear to me is that it wasn’t just my personal relationship that rendered this place so magical. I’m drawn to the food of this place, to the people—to the Emilia-Romagna region itself—with an intensity that surprises me. And I love this sumptuous tortellini en brodo."

"Like most tourists, I had visited Tuscany, Capri, the Amalfi Coast, Florence and Milan, and while all are lovely, I was left with a standard boilerplate impression of Italy. Beautiful? Absolutely. Love? Sumptuous? No, not so much. It wasn’t until I visited Emilia-Romagna that I fell for Italy hard. Mostly, it was about the food—and the people who make it."

"Emilia-Romagna is the birthplace of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and, by law, the only place in the world allowed to make and sell it under that name. Hombre has been making one of the best organic Parmesan cheeses for more than 50 years. When I turn up uninvited, the owners wave me in. Genuinely pleased by my interest in their work, they allow me to peek in at the cows being milked, classical music crooning to them in the background. Thirty-six-kilo wheels of cheese sit ageing in rows like imperious nonnas presiding over the factory."

"When Massimo dashes back to the kitchen, I’m left alone, surrounded by eight chairs and 10,000 bottles of wine. Here I am, in Emilia-Romagna, by myself. As I take bite after simply perfect bite, I realise that I’m still very much in love—this time with the place, the people and the sumptuous food."

Click here to read the whole story in Singapore Tatler.

Melanie Dunea