The amber of Fossa cheese, the mora Romagnola, and the white truffle…three colours and three sensations. Gastronomic excellences tell about a territory in which enjoyable folk festivals, taverns, wine bars, and suggestive award-winning restaurants, meet up to tell local stories, offer unique flavours and make people appreciate the welcoming hospitality which distinguishes us.
Among Città del Vino and quality productions of extra virgin olive oil (D.O.P. ‘Colline di Romagna’), the meat of excellence (mora romagnola and white veal from the Central Appennines) and traditional local products (fossa cheese, high-quality truffles, honey, ancient flours, chestnuts, and mushrooms) the two valleys know how to amaze you even with food.
Traditional dishes like passatelli or cappelletti in broth, tagliatelle, and piadina, tell us the story of men and women who through agriculture and farming have modelled the landscape and passed on flavours and know-how.
These hills are rich in pastures ideal for herds, cattle-breeding, and farms dedicated to the production of fresh or mature cheese. From pecorino, some matured longer than others, to the ‘regal’ and intense fossa cheese, from Talamello(defined by Tonino Guerra as “Amber of Talamello’ due to its golden colour) or the one from Mondaino. From the beloved Romagna squaquerone cheese (fresh soft cheese, typical of the whole Romagna area, perfect in accompaniment to piada) to the characteristic ravviggiolo from Casteldelci. Dairy productions in these valleys are characterised by the variety and high quality of both sheep and bovine cheese.
Beekeeping is a widespread activity in particular in Valmarecchia, thanks to the cultivation of characteristic plants like alfalfa, the sainfoin and other spontaneous varieties. Typical of this area, where there are numerous chestnut groves, and it is chestnut honey with its bitter taste and dark colour that in a way represents the natural complement to fossa cheese: chestnut trees grow in the vicinity of pits dug into rocks. Among the single flower kinds of honey produced in these valleys honey dew deserves a mention, obtained from oak trees, it is amber coloured and rich in minerals like potassium. In Poggio Torriana an important thematic fair in the village of Montebello is held and a project for a museum dedicated to honey is under development.
The main local bakery product is Maiolo bread, produced with the characteristic local flour and traditional methods, without industrial production. Since 2005 a product made exclusively with local flour can be enjoyed, coming from the cultivation of an ancient variety of wheat, the ‘gentil rosso’, of which there are testimonies from the first half of the last century. In this regard, we would like to mention the Valmarecchia Terre Biologiche project, born from the desire to safeguard the quality of this land through the cultivation and selection of seeds of ancient grains, from the growth in fields to the harvesting and the transformation in organic flour using millstones. It consists of a short supply chain composed solely of local farmers, in total respect of organic farming practices.
The Mora romagnola is a fine native breed of pig from the land of Romagna. Characterised by thick dark hairs, long ears, and almond-shaped eyes, the Mora Romagnola distinguishes itself for its unmistakable taste–more wild and spicy compared to common pigs. It is a breed that constitutes an ideal link between the pig and wild boar. Particularly suitable for the production of quality cold cuts like culatello and spalla cruda, it is also ideal for roasts, grills, and chops, and the excellent ragout made with Mora, which enhance the aromas and taste of this rarity.
In autumn Valmarecchia and Valconca coat themselves with a Kaleidoscope of colours the protagonist of which is the chestnut tree. From Mount Faggeto to Montefiore, where an important fair is held, to Talamello on Mount Pincio until arriving at Sant’Agata Feltria in the Ca’ Francescone area, there is the opportunity to enjoy a walk in freedom in luxuriant undergrowth to pick these tasty fruits in the woods.
The white truffle, the king of tubers, in this territory has Sant’Agata Feltria as its capital. Here every year in October an important fair at a national level is held dedicated to the white truffle.
The Tuber Magnatum can be found from late summer to early winter, from the plain up to an altitude of 600 metres above sea level, on land with significant humidity like the land of these valleys, where other kinds such as the black truffle and the scorzone are also not lacking.
Three hundred thousand olive groves make the Valmarecchia and Valconca valleys an important heritage at production and environmental level. The production area of olives destinated to the creation of extra vergin olive oil with protected nomination of origin ‘Colline di Romagna’ are the municipalities of Coriano, Gemmano, Mondaino, Montescudo–Monte Colombo, Montefiore Conca, Montegridolfo, Morciano di Romagna, Poggio Torriana, Saludecio, San Giovanni in Marignano, San Clemente e Verucchio. The DOP olive oil from the Romagna Hills is a primacy in the agrifoods sector at regional level.
In these valleys, the blackthorn mushroom is the Lord and Master, especially in the Pennabilly area, where for over 35 years a traditional fair dedicated to the Tricholoma georgii and ‘fungo saetta’, another name for the blackthorn mushroom, is held. The innate habit of this mushroom of growing and dying in a very short time, is well-known, making it, therefore, rare and a real delicacy. The blackthorn mushroom can be found only in the months of April-may on high hill and mountain areas, mainly on pasture land kept clean by animals.
From crespigno to the wild asparagus, there are numerous herbs spread throughout the countryside in the Valconca and the Valmarecchia valleys. The crespigno (or ‘scarpegn’ in the local dialect) is a rosette of soft ashy-coloured leaves that can be consumed raw in salads or cooked as a vegetable. Wild asparagus is one of the most appreciated and gathered by lovers of spontaneous herbs, together with wild lettuce, particularly widespread on dry ground, on the sides of roads and railways. Its leaves can be consumed fresh in salads or cooked in soups and risotti. Then there is the borragine, with its oval leaves and blue-violet star-like flowers, excellent in omelets or boiled as a side dish like spinach. Chicory and wild red lettuce, the dandelion and elderberry flowers, can also be found – wonderful when fried. The tables of these valleys are rich in these spontaneous herbs.
From Sangiovese to Trebbiano, Pagadebit, and Albana, to Rebola, the crown jewel of the vineyards of these valleys. There is no shortage of quality productions in Valconca and Valmarecchia. The DOC Colli of Rimini and Romagna is the demonstration, so much so that an audacious reporter did not hesitate to define Coriano and its surroundings as the Montalcino of Romagna. In this luxuriant patch of land behind the Rimini Riviera, nearly all the wineries on the territory(more than thirty) have spaces dedicated to receiving visitors and the tasting of their products, and visits to wine cellars are particularly welcome.
In the land of Mora Romagnola, cold cuts are a fundamental component of the local gastronomy on offer. Above all, salami, but also ham, coppa, goletta and “Mandolino del Montefeltro”, a delicious ham typical of Novafeltria patented by the historic Celli butcher’s – the recipe foresees that the shoulder of pork follows a particular seasoning procedure and is salted with coarse salt from Cervia, black pepper and garlic.
Piada is the distinctive product of Romagna and also in these valleys represents an indispensable accompaniment to any moment of gastronomy. Also popular in the variant of cassone, which is a kind of filled, closed pizza, piada or piadina romagnola is a recognised IGP product, protected by a specific consortium and is an icon of Romagnola gastronomic tradition, perfect in accompaniment to the cold cuts and soft cheeses of these valleys.