Raffaella and her husband have renovated an old country house. They welcome us into a striking atmosphere, in the heart of Romagna, to have us savor the dishes of the local tradition. The house is located in a marvelous "middle ground" between Ravenna, historic city of art, and Forlimpopoli, a town famous for being the birthplace of Pellegrino Artusi.
Immersed in Byzantine mosaics and Artusian lands, Raffaella and her husband have rediscovered a profound relationship with nature; they cultivate an organic garden, from which some of the vegetables the Cesarina offers in its dishes come, and organize seasonal events characteristic of the countryside, from the harvest to fruit-picking.
Despite her young age, Raffaella love to assume the role of the "Azdòra," the queen of the Romagna hearth and home. Her passion for cooking and love for tradition were inherited from her mother, who taught her, from a young age, how to move in the kitchen.
The secret of the Cesarina
My husband and I cultivate with love an organic vegetable garden from which the vegetables I choose for my dishes come.
Raffaella offers us a Taste Experience based on organic produce that she lovingly cultivates in her garden. We start with an appetizer of summer garden salad and bruciatini, diced fried pancetta alla saba, with homemade bread. The saba, also called "the honey of Romagna," is a dark syrup obtained by boiling grape must for many hours, and is used to add flavour. The first course is Strozzapreti with Romagnol shallots. Strozzapreti came about as a poor, homemade pasta, which is made with simple ingredients but requiring real dexterity in its making.
For the second course, Raffaella serves the Tulir dl'Azdóra, a rich platter of romagnol piadina, ciccioli, cold cuts, squacquerone, pickles, and homemade jams. Squacquerone, a traditional product of Romagna, is a soft, fresh, and creamy cheese that takes its name from its watery consistency; the pickles and jams are skillfully handmade by Raffaella herself. To end on a sweet note, our Cesarina offers a very delicate squacquerone semifreddo, magnified with a hot wild plum or strawberry sauce, depending on the season, from the fragrant fruit trees surrounding her house.