I visited Emilia for the first time in 1988, while on my junior year abroad.
Like all college students, I was broke at the time and couldn’t afford to eat in restaurants. My best bet at the time was the university cafeteria.
But thanks to a friendship I had struck up with a fellow Californian student, whose mom happened to be from Bologna, I got to eat in the home of family friends of his in Bologna proper.
Homemade passatelli in brodo and tagliatelle al ragù (it’s not called bolognese in Bologna; it’s called simply ragù) were my introductions to the cuisine of this mecca among gastronomic destinations.
Ask anyone even mildly aware of what good Italian cookery is and she/he will tell you that Emilia — with its famous salumi, its legendary Parmigiano Reggiano, and its generous farmland and vineland — stands apart from the other regions. But the thing that some don’t tell you (or that some simply don’t know) is that the best cooking in Emilia is always home cooking.
Emilia is home, no doubt, to some of the best restaurants in the world (and even some of the most celebrated).
But I have never had a meal that even comes close to rivaling the meals I’ve had in Emilians’ homes.
I love working with the Ceci family: They are among the nicest, smartest, joyous, and funniest people I’ve ever known in this business. I love the wines, I love the packaging, I love the brand.
But what they don’t know is that the real reason is I love (and continue to dream of) Maria Teresa and Alessandro Ceci’s mom’s cooking, like those ravioli above, of which I inhaled three servings on my last visit.
I ravioli della mamma sono sempre i più buoni. Mom’s ravioli are always the best.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mrs. Ceci! Buona festa della mamma!
Ceci USA blogger