Later that same afternoon...
We sampled all things grape: from jam to vinegar balsamico to wine to grappa. We zig-zagged our way up to Modena, Matthew drove and I manned the gps, that we named Regina (pronounced Ree-jine-ah). She often didn't know what the hell she was talking about. She missed a whole lot of roundabouts. Oy, the roundabouts. But her calm British accent kept us sane.
We pulled into the Osteria di Rubbiara, another Tony-stalking-recommendation, for our between-one-and-one-thirty (so italy!) lunch reservation. We sat on the patio, looking out on their vineyards, but before, we had to lock our cell phones in old wooden compartments and take the key. They say it is because this was an old church but that doesn't make sense. I think they want to keep a covert operation and not allow any of the balsamico secrets to escape. The Pedroni family has been making tradizionale balsamico since 1862.
We both ordered the family wine. M: lambrusco frizzante (red sparkling) and L: bianco frizzante (white) Apparently the owner saved this white grape from extinction in 1991. So now only this family makes this wine. The waiter brought over 2 whole bottles-already uncorked- and placed one in front of M and the other in front of L. We just kept helping ourselves...
Lunch was four courses. Tortelloni stuffed with ricotta cheese and sprinkled with balsamico italio, aged at least 12 years. Who would have thought of balsamic on pasta?! delicioso. kinda reminded me of maple syrup. Next was strachetti (a bigger, looser farfalle) with a mix of meats ragu with freshly grated parmeggiano reggiano. Third course was ridiculously good. An omelette sprinkled with balsamico aged at least 12 years, chicken marinated in lambrusco wine, and a pork somethin-delicious. Unbelievable. For dessert: vanilla ice cream sprinkled with - you guessed it - balsamico extravecchio. so good. so darn good. And the whole "lunch" only €32.50 each.
Then came the samplings of grappa...
We had espresso, knowing we had to interpret Regina on the way home. We were offered to join the tour of the Pedroni family production. While L thought, "wow! How lucky are we?!" M thought, "Oh no, gemstones...". It was interesting hearing about different barrels, and the patience it takes, and the smell... oh the smell. Yankee Candle should package it. We sampled their 5 types. We bought the Italio, aged 12 years, to impress our future dinner guests while serving pasta and 2 bottles of wine frizzante, one red, one white.
That night back at our agritourismo overlooking Emilia Romagna, we drank the bottle of white and ate Parmeggiano Reggiano cheese we bought from the market, and made in the town next door.
Italian term of the day: slip road - Regina's Cockneyed word for on-ramp.