Borlenghi are a very thin bread, almost with the consistency of a crêpe. The dough is extremely simple, made of water, flour, 1 egg and salt. Served hot, folded in four the filled with the cunza, a sauce made with lard, garlic and rosemary.
You can only eat borlenghi in a limited area of the Apennines mountains, precisely between the valleys over Modena, from Vignola to Zocca, where it was born (some says in the Neolithic era).
Bolenghi, why a social food?
Borlenghi is a social food for 3 reasons:
Preparation of Borlenghi: cunza is put on borleghi with a brush
The origins of Borlenghi
Every small town in the region claims the authentic authorship of borlenghi. Many legends were born around the birth of this very original food.
It’s not clear where the name borlenghi comes from. The legend says that it would be the result of a joke to a housewife who, with flour and water, was preparing the dough for traditional tigelle. The woman, finding the dough for the daily food string out with water, didn’t think of throwing it away, but tried to obtain something edible - and she succeeded.
Pesto modenese and parmiggiano reggiano, the ingredients of "cunza"
How to make borlenghi
The base of the borlenghi is the colla (the glue).
It’s a liquid dough that has to be baked in the rola and seasoned with cunza, before being served.
Preparation of the Colla (for about 40 borlenghi)
1 kg of flour
4/5 liters of water
1 tablespoon salt
Put flour, eggs and salt in a bowl and there mix with a whisk or an electric mixer. As you proceed with the dough, add water until you get the mixture very smooth. Make the glue to rest for a few hours in the refrigerator.
Preparation of the Cunza
150 gr of bacon or lard
2 cloves of garlic
1 sprig of rosemary
Place bacon in a container and add crushed garlic and chopped rosemary in a generous dose .
Slightly heat the mixture to melt the bacon which will be flavored with garlic and rosemary.
Cooking the borlengo
Take a spoonful of colla and pour it on the rola (a special tinned copper pan about 45cm in diameter). The cooking takes a few minutes.
Once you have the desired consistency (better if borlenghi remains soft in the center), sprinkle them with cunza and grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
Fold into quarters and serve.
Old man at a Sagra (local party) holding a tool to prepare the borlenghi
Where to eat them
Like for most of the good foods, borlenghi need efforts to be found. You need to drive from Modena of a few km and then you will be surrounded by borlenghi. Try these good restaurants:
Via Cà de Barozzi, 41058 Vignola
Tel. 059 771032
Via Montalbano, 5500/B, 41059 Zocca
Tel. 059 985067
Have you tried borlenghi? Are you already addicted? Check out our Modena food tour to discover more hidden local specialties.