A Taste of Emilia-Romagna, Italy.

I am simply in love with  Italy and I believe I must have been an Italian nonna in an earlier life, even though all the gluten, cheese and wine really doesn’t agree with my body! But it is all about balance, and that is why I really wanted to share my food travels with you, as it is what inspires me to evolve and keeps me learning new things that I can share with you!

I travel as often as I can to Italy and I love both the North and the South. They are so different from each other, including the food and the local ingredients.  One of the places I love the most is the Emilia- Romagna district and the city of Bologna. I love it so much that I almost don’t want to share it with you and keep it all to myself! 😉

It is a district known for its wonderful food and local produce such as D.O.P. Balsamico de Modena and D.O.P. Reggiano Parmesan. I also have to say my love for lambrusco (sparkling red wine) has also really grown since my last trip. Of course I have to mention that the world famous restaurant Osteria Francescana is also located in the district (In Modena) so it is really a place to visit if you are a foodie like me!

 

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View from vinyard. Our last stop on the food tour.

 

One of the best kept secrets, that more and more people are discovering every day is Alessandro Martini and his company Italian Food Days Wine & Food Tours. Booking a full day food tour with this guy and his company is worth the trip to Bologna and the region on its own!

I have been on his food tour more than once and last time my husband and I brought our parents along. It was the highlight of our travel, and for me such a learning experience.

You can find his company here

One of the reasons I love to travel as much as I can is because I love to learn about different food cultures and new ingredients. Some of them are healthy as they are, other recipes need adapting to become healthier versions. This is what I have done with a lot of recipes you will find here on my blog and also in my latest book Carina’s Healthy Kitchen. (Only avaliable in Norwegian for now). You can purchase it here

One of the stops on the food tour is in Modena where authentic balsamico comes from.   D.O.P(Denominazione di Origine Protetta). There are no additives or caramel coloring here! Only fermented grape must made from the best grapes that are locally grown. This balsamico  is the inspiration behind my raw chocolate with balsamico and sea salt recipe that you can find here.

I hope you get the chance to travel to Italy and the Emilia- Romagna district to learn and taste food and wine from the best producers in the district. Just remember to book a food tour with Alessandro 🙂 Here are some pictures from my last food tour together with my family…

 

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Raw chocolate with balsamico and sea salt.

Chocolate can really be an immune boosting food if chosen wisley, especially raw chocolate. Raw means the cacao has not been heat treated therefore it contains all the nutrients. It really is a powerhouse full of antioxidants, magnesium and healthy, fat burning fats.

Perhaps best of all is that it is really easy to make. I developed this recipe after being inspired by my trip to Modena, Italy where real balsamico is made. You can read about my trip here.

The recipe is posted below but take a look at my video of me making the chocolate. I do speak Norwegian but it is subtitled in English:)

A real good quality balsamico is naturally sweet and goes great with Maldon sea salt which enhances the chocolates flavour. You will also find this recipe in my latest book Carina’s Healthy Kitchen. (Currently only in Norwegian). You can purchase it here.

Raw chocolate with balsamico and sea salt.

You will need…

  • 100 grams of cacao butter
  • 0,25 dl ( 2 tbs) maple sirup
  • 3 tbs. raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbs. good quality balsamico
  • Maldon sea salt or other unrefined sea salt flakes.
  • A  silicon chocolate mold

How to:

  1. Rouphly chop the cacao butter and add to a glass bowl.
  2. Melt the cacao butter in a water bath (slowly) making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the boiling water. This will scorch the butter.
  3. When melted remove from heat and add the rest of the ingredients except for the sea salt. Mix well.
  4. Pour into a silicon mold and sprinkle a little sea salt on top. Let cool before setting the fridge for 2- 3 hours.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

 

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Healthy chocolate! Food styling and photo: Carina Hultin Dahlmann/Carina’s Healthy Kitchen.