1. So there we were in the heart of Emilia Romagna, one of the regions with the best food in all of Italy waking up next to a balsamic farm.  If you havent read about how we found ourselves here in the heart of nonantola, check out our post on arriving to La Selvatica. Enrico had breakfast ready to go set up for us the next morning spread out on the table and had spoken to his friend, Guido, and prepared a tour for us [for free!] that day whenever we were ready to head over there.

IMG_2496the walk from La Selvatica to Acetaia Malagoli Guido

IMG_2522one of the farm houses across the street from La Selvatica

After breakfast we quickly walked to the farm next door to meet Guido.

Guido owns Acetaia Malagoli Guido. It’s been in his family for generations. They grow the grapes, harvest them, and age them all there on the property. He showed us the different stages of the vinegar, the barrels used to age them, and even let us taste each stage of the vinegar as well as the finished products aged 26 and 13 years. When your father does this for a living they start a set of barrels for you – usually about six that you let age throughout your life. I even got to try one of the 40+ aged vinegar from his personal collection! I work in a bar as I have mentioned before and while learning all about the procedure, it occurred to me the similarities in bourbon whiskey aging – with the barrel technique and all. When I said this to Guido, he exclaimed yes! and asked if food and drink was something I was passionate about. We talked a bit about passions and he asked if we had plans for the rest of the day and maybe we could visit his friend in town. I quickly agreed, we had made the decision to stay extra time and had no specific plans. On the way to meet Guido’s friend he explained where we were going as he drove. His friend owned the fifth largest collection of whiskey, scotch, bourbon, etc in the entire world.  Over 18,000 untouched, unopened bottles of any and every brand of spirit, some dating back to literally hundreds off years earlier. I cannot put into words the sheer size of the mans wine cellar that housed all of these priceless collections. There were things I had never even heard of or seen before! The man spoke very little english and me very little Italian (aka none) but we still found a way to communicate and learn. After awhile, we thanked him and Guido drove us back to La Selvatica – but not without us purchasing some of the amazing balsamic vinegar he produces. Here is a link to his Facebook page where you can contact him about purchasing some as well! One of the things we learned about was the difference between true balsamic and the type that is basically made for mass production – the kind you can find in any grocery store. He has both available for purchase but trust me, go with the pure kind, it completely kicks the other one into the dirt.

IMG_2521the vinegar aging barrels at Acetaia Malagoli Guido

IMG_2527local houses in Modena 

IMG_2592part of the wine cellar that houses the fifth largest collection of whiskys in the world! 18,000 bottles!

Once we returned we borrowed some bicycles from La Selvatica and head down the road a bit further to find a parmesean cheese shop inside of a local farm. Plenty of different types of cheese were available, but we chose only a parmesean and a pecorino to return home with. The customs laws in the US are very much a pain in the ass and only allow you to return back with hard cheeses.

After returning we headed to the local grocery store with Enrico to pick up a few things for dinner. Breads, Cheeses, Tomatoes, and of course more wine. We made a quick snack from fresh tomatoes, arugula and stracciatella, topped with some of the balsamic from Guido, local olive oil, and salt and pepper. If you’re unfamiliar with Stracciatella, its basically the heart of burrata cheese. It’s ooey and stringy and stretchy and delicious. Enrico loved it so much he added all of the ingrediants to his shopping list. Some other guests had arrived to La Selvatica that day so we all sat down to dinner together with plenty of wine to learn more about each other and the worlds we come from.  One of the other Italian men staying on the property taught us ‘fare la scarpetta‘  – which translates directly to make the little shoe, but means to use the small piece of bread on your plate to soak and mop all all the remaining sauce. I always love learning little bits of other languages which this kind of meaning. Yeah great, I can conjucate a verb but teach me something I would learn in the heart of Italy rather than at a desk.

IMG_2555Lambrusco wine bottled at La Selvatica

IMG_2469Stracciatella, Arugula, Fresh Tomatoes, Balsamic from Acetaia Malagoli Guido, Olive Oil. Barbera, and Parmesean from the cheese shop at the farm down the street.

IMG_2564The Cheese Shop at the Serafina Farm just meters away from La Selvatica


We spent a majorty of the rest of the night chatting and Guido offered us a ride to the train station in the morning since he had to pick up his son around the time we were to depart anyway. Ten out of Ten for a host truly, I am heading directly back to La Selvetica the next time I am in the area, and recommend to anyone who is even remotely thinking of traveling to Italy to make a stop off here because the hospitality is beyond, the countryside is unmatchable, its just truly a magical place in the wild.


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