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Emilia-Romagna Wines Make a Splash in Boston and Providence

Filippo Mazzanti of Consorzio Vini di Romagna shows off a map of Emilia-Romagna’s wine producers.

Over the past week, several representatives of Emilia-Romagna’s wine and food sectors visited Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, in an effort to establish partnerships and raise awareness of the Italian region’s quality products.

“We are here to promote the wines of our region and lift them from anonymity,” says Filiberto Mazzanti, director of the Consorzio Vini di Romagna. “We also want to create a stronger territorial identity.”

Mazzanti took part in a promotional tour focusing on establishing business realtionships between local distributors and wine producers in Emilia-Romagna, a region with a growing number of quality wines that are still somewhat obscure outside Italian borders.

A series of dinners with local restaurants were organized by the visiting group, including dinners at Filippo’s Ristorante and Dante in Boston, and Al Forno and the Hyatt in Providence. The tour will end with a dinner on Saturday, October 6, at the Top of the Hub Restaurant in Boston’s Prudential Center.

Chef Filippo Atrioli (left) and sous-chef Angela Saraniti.

To promote the various Emilia-Romagna wines brought across the ocean, the dinners were prepared by Italian chef Filippo Atrioli, who owns the restaurant La Trattoria di Oscar in Umbria, alongside sous-chef Angela Saraniti, owner of Trattoria La Pulce in Bologna.

“We’ve devised a menu that recalls the traditions of Emilia-Romagna,” says Atrioli. “Some ingredients weren’t so easy to find — like the strutto — but the restaurants we partnered with were very helpful and managed to get what we needed.”

For the final event in Boston, Atrioli has come up with a mouthwatering series of dishes to accompany the 60 different types of wines brought from Emilia-Romagna.

For antipasti, the traditional piadina romagnola filled with strutto will be accompanied by salumi (cold cuts) and cheeses brought by the group.

After that, Atrioli proposes not one, but three pasta dishes: Tortelloni filled with ricotta and served with fresh tomato sauce; passatelli with Parmigiano Reggiano, bread crumbs and nutmeg, served with homemade sausage; and lasagne alla romagnola — the yellow kind — with ragù.

The meat dish consists in spezzatino cooked with sangiovese wine. “We combine an older wine for cooking with a younger sangiovese served on the table,” says Atrioli.

While in New England, Atrioli and Saraniti managed to establish friendships with local chefs, inviting them to participate with their own creations in the dinner events. “We met so many great people, it’s been great,” says Atrioli, who also shared recipes with chefs at Al Forno and Dante.

“Some culinary students from Providence will also come and intern at my restaurant in Italy,” says Atrioli.

The series of events were made possible thanks to a recent approval from Italy’s Ministry of Agriculture to promote wines from Emilia-Romagna, increasing the budget available to the region’s Wine Consortium.

“It’s a two way approach,” says Mazzanti of the Consortium. “On one hand we need to define the territorial brand, while on the other we are constantly working on improving the quality of our wines.”

Of 102 members, the Consortium only counts eight producers currently being distributed in the United States. “We hope our visit will help increase this number,” says Mazzanti.

Accompanying Mazzanti, Atrioli and Saraniti were Barbara D’Agapiti of WineLinkItaly and musician/composer Emanuele Tozzi, who currently resides in New York.

From left: Emanuele Tozzi, Katia Di Felice, Barbara D’Agapiti, Filippo Atrioli, Angela Saraniti, Filiberto Mazzanti.

About Nicola Orichuia

Nicola is an Italian journalist and media enthusiast living in the United States. He keeps an eye on the Italian-American communities across the country and is always looking for positive stories to highlight.