NEW YORK Emilia-Romagna and Sicily are two favorite Italian regions for food, according to a recent poll of Nation’s Restaurant News food blog readers.
Among those who participated in the Food Writer’s Diary  poll this month, 18 percent of the respondents voted for Emilia-Romagna, a region in Northern Italy that is the birthplace of Parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar, spaghetti Bolognese and prosciutto di Parma, as well as mortadella, the sausage upon which American-style bologna is based.
Many Italians and Italian food specialist regard Emilia-Romagna as the region with the finest and most complex cuisine.
The island of Sicily in southern Italy received an equal number of votes for the top spot, and is the birthplace of Italian-American classics such as veal marsala and the stuffed pastry, cannoli. It is also known for excellent seafood.
Food Writer’s Diary readers are mostly chefs and others involved in the foodservice industry, as well as food writers, food-studies scholars and amateur food enthusiasts. About 20 percent are based in the metropolitan New York City area and most of the rest are from elsewhere in North America.
The poll was conducted for the first two weeks of February and had a total of 54 participants.
Earlier this year, the menu trends research firm Mintel said the prevalence of regional ethnic cuisines are among five dining trends for 2010 , as broader ethnic cuisine types like Chinese, Mexican or Italian have already grown mainstream.
In the Food Writer’s Diary poll, Tuscany came in third place with 11 percent of the vote, followed by Puglia, with 9 percent of the vote. Campania, where Naples is located, was in a three-way tie with Liguria and Sardinia for a ninth place finish among Italy’s 20 regions.
Piedmont, the region on the border of France and Switzerland that is lauded for its white truffles and Italy’s most highly-rated wines, tied for 5th place with Abruzzo, on the central Adriatic coast.
Favorite Italian regions for food, based on percentage vote for the top spot:
- 1. Emilia-Romagna (18%)
- 1. Sicily (18%)
- 3. Tuscany (11%)
- 4. Puglia (9%)
- 5. Abruzzo (7%)
- 5. Piedmont (7%)
- 7. Umbria (5%)
- 7. Veneto (5%)
- 9. Campania (3%)
- 9. Liguria (3%)
- 9. Sardinia (3%)
- 12. Basilicata (1%)
- 12. Friuli-Venezia Giulia (1%)
- 12. Lazio (1%)
- 15. Calabria (0%)
- 15. Lombardy (0%)
- 15. Le Marche (0%)
- 15. Molise (0%)
- 15. Trentino-Alto Adige (0%)
- 15. Valle d’Aosta (0%)