Located in the heart of Emilian Appennines, Trattoria da Amerigo was opened in 1934 in the fertile Samoggia Valley, perched in the middle of the Modena and Bologna hillsides. Half an hour’s drive from the center of Bologna, the restaurant serves dishes that remain rustic but are characterised by refined techniques and an elegant master of time. It has always respected tradition and has been one of the few members of the Premiate Trattorie Italiane.
I’ve visited many delicious restaurants with a Michelin recommendation, which is already a sign of quality and almost a guarantee for good food, but Amerigo is a true and veritable Michelin one star. Unlike many other trattorias, we started with a simple and tasty vegetable omelette, which instantly tamed my hungry stomach. Within just a few minutes after we sat down, the restaurant was already a full house.
We opted for a simple four-course menu with a few additions. The appetizer platter was a stunner, including the roasted polenta with local pork lard, tigelle flatbread served with parmigiano ice cream and traditional balsamic vinegar, together with some crisp, pickled fresh vegetables. There were cold plates as well as warm plates, all traditional flavours, deceptively simple but handled with great pace.
Next up was al dente tortelli filled with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese served with local Mora prosciutto cooked in wood oven, as aromatic as it was enticing.
Amerigo’s tagliatelle with meat ragu became my favourite version. On the menu “100% Bolognese” was highlighted, and because the pasta was freshly made, it takes a few short minutes to reach al dente and moist despite being relatively thin. It was the first time I tried the traditional way of eating it – dipping with salted onion and ragu sauce – kind of like when we eat grilled sausages with garlic. Refreshing and a perfect match! I have tried different versions of this dish at other famous restaurants but Amerigo’s version was the one I would miss the most. Let’s say it’s another kind of obsession.
For the main course we shared the fried squash blossoms with zucchini and pomodoro, a vegetable-based dish completement by a hint of meaty flavours and a succulent, savoury blast. Each dish here emphasises the authenticity of the recipe and is a tribute to the land where the ingredients are grown. Commitment to quality ingredients is a must – the cheese must have been aged for a minimum of 36 months to appear on Amerigo’s table.
Even the milk & cream gelato was topped with balsamic vinegar(Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena D.O.P.). My other half ordered the traditional egg gelato, so rich and creamy that he couldn’t stop raving about.
However, the town is super small and you can literally finish the tour in eight minutes, so come for lunch if you are not planning on staying the night. But if you do, Locanda Amerigo offers a convenient and elegant stay in its renovated rooms with unique retro touches – even if you don’t love it, you do not want to miss their famous breakfast the next day.
「Third-generation restaurant that honours time and tradition」
The cuisine champions tradition and is characterised by the simplicity and authenticity of its ingredients. In addition to using finest local produce, Amerigo adopts a menu that focuses on what various seasons have to offer – a good proportion of dishes change from season to season. Over the years, the restaurant has gained an international reputation for the flavours and aromas of its fresh mushroom and truffle dishes.
The third-generation owner Alberto Bettini carries on his philosophy with sustainable production and homegrown ingredients, together with truffles, mushrooms and game from the Apennine forests, constituting the backbone of the restaurant’s menu. Flavours are rediscovered in new “old recipes”, in a fine balance between rusticity and elegance.
Amerigo has, since 1934, been one of the most important gastronomic points of reference for the valley. With only a 20-minute drive from Bologna, Amerigo 1934 is well worth a visit if you are looking for Michelin-standard craftsmanship.
Article/Photo: Jocelyn 华姐