Certainly the awarding of a Michelin star is a very high accolade for the work of a restaurant. Hence the widespread belief that it is possible to find a more or less important density of award-winning culinary realities only in large cities.
Then comes the case of Rubiera, a small town of 14,000 souls in the province of Reggio Emilia, where we find two excellences of Emilian cuisine, both starred, not only in the same district, but above all… facing each other. Piazza Ventiquattro Maggio in Rubiera, in fact, has become the home of taste and the sign of an Emilian culinary excellence that never ceases to spread.
InItaly has immersed itself in this beautiful location, Rubiera, in the heart of the Padania region of Emilia, and is pleased to tell you about ‘Arnaldo, la clinica gastronomica’ and the ‘Osteria del viandante’.
Arnaldo, the gastronomic clinic in Rubiera
In 1936, Arnaldo bought an old inn that was particularly frequented by doctors from the Policlinico di Modena – hence the ironic name of the ‘gastronomic clinic’. What was then a simple diner has become a temple of traditional Emilian cuisine. If time usually stands still before realities of great taste and beauty, this is undoubtedly a striking case in point. The building, in fact, that houses the restaurant is a historic building dating back to 1400. It seems that, from its origin, it had always been a post inn, with a stable to house carriages and horses. To this was added the inn where pilgrims stopped to eat and sleep.
By virtue of this vigorous and imposing past, Arnaldo has never abandoned the ancient craft of making fresh handmade pasta, an emblem of communion with the most ancient Emilian cuisine.
Those who stay there for the night, in fact, will have the opportunity to have breakfast next to the sfogline energetically closing tortellini and cappelletti or will have the chance to taste, in abundant anticipation, the succulent and warm smell of the boiled meat trolley, still prepared according to tradition.
In spite of the star, however, even the time for prices seems to have stopped: it is possible to eat peacefully and excellently for under 100 euro.
Osteria del viandante
Just cross the street and there, in front of ‘Arnaldo’, be treated to the delicacies of chef Jacopo Malpeli (born in Parma in 1982), spearhead of the ‘Osteria del viandante’. The location, immersed in the small town of Rubiera, is extremely evocative: the restaurant is housed in an aristocratic palace, carved out of an ancient medieval fortress, and uses elegance and classic design to enchant those who decide to give themselves over to Emilian culinary treatments.
The backdrop is made special by timelessly fascinating frescoes, cascading chandeliers and flowering terraces on which to eat from the healthy Romagna breeze. That of the Osteria del Viandante is a baptism with a Michelin star: this year, in fact, it received this coveted award. However, the sense and formidable support of history has not faded.
The cuisine, in fact, has a vigorous traditional base, such as ‘Cappelletti del Forte di Maria Pia’ in beef sauce or passatelli. In detail, passatelli is a traditional soup from Romagna made with egg, breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese (or also fossa cheese), nutmeg, and lemon zest.
In this obvious propensity for eternity of Emilian cuisine, however, there is also the desire to write the present, innovating the past. Here, then, on this traditional register, the skilful inventiveness of the chef is inserted, through a more gourmet cuisine that, however, does not betray culinary historicity.
In short, Rubiera is the synthesis of an Italy, not only culinary, that we like: great experience behind it – experience never betrayed – and the will to write memorable pages even in a small town, even among only 14 thousand souls.