Bologna 101; Italian food + Tours

{ Fresh Egg Pasta freshly made }

Not being ready just yet to let go of travel inspired posts I have an extra special post for you today my gorgeous readers! Do you remember the time in Italy that Morgs & I did our very own food tour of Bologna? I had shared our take on this gorgeous Italian town and the fact that the best food Morgs & I tasted in Italy came from Bologna. There was some big non negotiable’s for us both when travelling and eating & drinking our way around Italy was high on that list. We were so lucky to end up following our noses and stomachs to Bologna as it turned in to our yummiest and one of the most random/adventure packed days from our 3 weeks in Italy. It was such a lovely surprise when Gabriele from the website Emilia Delizia contacted me after reading my post on our food tour in Bologna! I asked her to do a special post for you guys on her personal take on ‘What to eat & drink in Bologna’ which I am sharing with you today…

If we had of found this website when we were in Italy there is no doubt we would have been one happy traveler – I can’t encourage a bookmark of this website if you are ever heading to Italy as it will make tour booking so much easier. Hopefully you guys enjoy learning about traditional Italian food as much as I did from her piece.

So Gabriele take it away!

“What to eat & drink in Bologna”
This short guide provided by emiliadelizia.com about eating out in Bologna will help your readers to choose food and drink while they are in Bologna. This town is called the fat because of its opulence in the cooking department. Dishes tend to be quite elaborate, rich and decadent. In Bologna you will drink red sparkling wines and you will eat “English soup” as dessert!
Fresh Egg Pasta
Bologna has no durum semolina pasta in its tradition, all the pasta you will find here is made fresh from soft from wheat and eggs as a protein binder. The results come in many shapes from the simple Tagliatelle, to more elaborate Lasagne, Tortelloni and tortellini. Tagliatelle are served with ragu’ which is a meaty sauce resembling more to a stew than a pasta sauce. Certainly you can also find the famous pasta strips topped with porcini mushrooms or a Parmesan cream with truffles, possibly from the nearby town of Savigno. 

On the other hand Tortelloni have a more elaborate hat shape and they are stuffed with ricotta and herbs, the condiment could be just tomato sauce and basil or butter and sage. The king of the Winter months is the Tortellino. These smaller versions of the hat shape are best served in their capon broth with a rich sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. You should look for restaurants or delis which serve hand made Tortellini to really fulfill this experience.

Bread, bread and more bread.

Italy probably will make you forget about your carb free diet for awhile, as you might know it is all about eating wheat products such as bread, pasta, foccacia, pizza and so on. Bologna is no different but there are some special breads that are worth a mention (and for you to try!)

For example, Crescentine are small round breads that in the good old days were cooked between clay disks (tigelle) near an open fire. These small breads were originally the staple of the poor farmers on the Bologna hills. They are still very popular today and they are cut in 2 halves and served like a modern sandwich with cured meats like; Prosciutto di parma, Mortadella di Bologna, Coppa, Salami, Culatello and the list goes on!

{Crescentine bread}

Piadina is another example local bread and it is a street food and you can easily sample in Bologna. Originally from the Eastern part of the region namely Romagna. Piadina is a flat bread traditionally prepared with pork clarified lard and cooked on a cast iron pan. The lard will give a nice fragrance to the bread that it is going to be served with squaquerone cheese and cabbage if you follow the farmer tradition, but today you can top it with anything you like. 
Wine drinking in Bologna

Bologna when it comes to wine is very eclectic. On the Eastern hills we have Sangiovese wines which are made with homonymous grapes. Sangiovese is a full bodied red wine and when aged it has a lot of pleasant structure with hints of rustic charm. On the Western part of Bologna you will find Pignoletto, a white and sparkling wine which is served young, soon after the harvest. We also find Lambrusco, a unique red sparkling wine which is also served young and in Summer is best served chilled. All of these wines are just perfect with the local cuisine. 

Dessert

No meal is complete without a dessert! In Bologna you will have plenty of choices but one stands out more than the other; Zuppa Inglese, which translates in to English Soup. It is in fact a trifle mimicking the famous English trifles but with local Bolognese ingedients. It has a base of savoiardi biscuits soaked in liqueur and topped off with egg and chocolate custards.
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If your headed to Italy soon or know of any family that are send them to emiliadelizia.com – Morgs & I looked in to a lot of food and wine tours when we were over there but didn’t find any that were perfectly suited to us, but if we had of found emiliadelizia it would have been a different story.
Now…who feels like some pasta?
Yours with dreams of red wine & pasta in Italy,
Anna xx

Our personal food tour of Bologna, Italy

Sometimes when you’re travelling, not everything always works out perfectly .. surprising I know. Morgs & I when planning our big adventure had written a few things down one night with a bottle of red of non negotiable’s we wanted to do when over here and things like watch flamenco in Spain, Sky Dive in Switzerland, and Sail Croatia were some examples that made the list. A big one for us as well was eat & drink our way around Italy….one that up until Florence we felt we had and have very very successfully done (just ask our growing but happy belly’s!) Our last little ‘thing’ we thought we’d love to do however is take a day trip out to Tuscany from Florence and go on a wine tour… the plan was set and the preliminary googling of options had been done one lazy afternoon on the Amalfi, but clearly in our insanely relaxed state, we weren’t paying enough attention. The one day we planned on doing it, Sunday, was the one day almost NO wine tours operate in Tuscany, and when I say almost none, I mean N.O.N.E. Morgans comments when finding this out after another quick google session late on the Saturday afternoon a mere 16 hours from said Sunday was “don’t get upset hunny, clearly the Italians need their sabboth to get straight with the lord, let’s find our own fun” …

Firstly, everybody needs a Morgan to travel with. He is quite honestly the most relaxed, calming, PATIENT person on holidays and Secondly…he was right. We initially looked in to some wine and/or cheese and/or food and/or all of the above tours to do locally in Florence but there was nothing that really tickled our fancy. So there we were, on Saturday afternoon, with our Tuscany wine tour plan smashed to pieces trying to come up with our own fun for the Sunday….When you are constantly striving for adventure, a huge foodie & have one Mr M aka Morgs with you it didn’t take long until we had our own fun & exciting plan set….

Do our own food tour in Bologna .. more specifically, eat Spaghetti Bolognese in Bologna – only the birth place of Bolognase!

I was at this stage beside myself with excitement & actually glad Tuscany didn’t work out – p.s pre packaged wine tours from Florence to Tuscany for a wine tour are around $140 aussie each and when it comes downs to the nuts & bolts every package tour you only got about 6-8 tastings at most….which in our eyes didn’t even become worth it! 

We took an early train out to Bologna – which is only about 25-30 minutes and arrived ready to over indulge ourselves. Like with every town/city/country we go to, first things first always, always involves finding a groovy little cafe for our beloved cappuchinos.

Before I go on, can I also make two very important comments about Bologna itself as a town.
1. It dished us up by far the BEST coffee, ice cream, chocolate, pizza AND pasta we had on our whole Italian 3 week crusade….and that says something (everything) for this gorgeous city.
2. If you are going to Italy yourself, consider putting Bologna on your ‘sleep over’ list. I.e. Not JUST a day trip town, a ‘let’s stay two or more nights here town’. Truth be told Morgs & I weren’t the hugest fans of Florence…it was amazing and had some fantastic ice cream – see what I mean when I say we’re eating our way around Italy? – BUT when we landed in Bologna with it’s g.o.r.g.e.o.u.s cobblestoned ally ways, a.m.a.z.i.n.g shopping, f.a.n.t.a.s.t.i.c restaurants & equally f.a.b.u.l.o.u.s bars, we were wondering why on earth we’d not stayed two nights there say instead of Florence. It is a SERIOUSLY great city that not only is pretty central to do day trips still to Tuscany/Florence/Pisa … but would be just as wonderful to stay in & explore the whole time ou were there…& like I said – the BEST italian food we’d had the whole trip.

Now where was I?

Right. Food.

We thought we would venture a little more ‘in to town’ i.e. away from the train station to find a buzzing cafe worthy of our cappuchino order…and we found said buzzing cafe just off the main street in town by the name of “Eataly” .. Morgs & I both took our first sip of our coffee, looked at each eyes wide – the two of us don’t even need words we’ve been travelling so long – & almost skulled the rest of the coffee back. By the time we’d gotten to the bottom of the cup we already had another 2 cups on the way. When I say it was the best coffee we’ve had in Italy, I mean it’s the best cup of coffee we’ve had the whole trip – the joke was that cappuchino alone was worth the trip to Bologna.

Ice cream (& by way of association) chocolate were next on our hit list and we didn’t have to go very far to find it – Venchi happened to be right next door to Eataly & we had been told by some Italians we HAD to have their ice cream & home made chocolate. Luckily we took them up on the offer as it was the best ice cream..& chocolate…we’ve ever consumed. I went next level & even said “yes” (probably a little to hastily) when the lovely lady asked if I’d like whipped cream on top of my ice cream. Venchi is the one place you too have to visit if ever in Italy (you can find them all over Italy apparently!)

Our last, & possibly most important stop on our food tour – we stopped for countless wines & coffees in between our walking & touring but we don’t need to bore you with the details of those – was to find the perfect Spaghetti Bolognase in Bologna. The restaurant that we finally ended up at was by accident after having trip advised the sh*t out of “best spaghetti in Bologna” and venturing to every single referred restaurant to find it closed, gross, or just not up to our expectations. We were walking back to the twin towers – which we climbed for a view of all Bologna, also reccommended – when we saw it. It was a large alfresco dining area packed with Italians ALL eating Spaghetti – honest to God. We ran over and knew we’d found the place. Unfortunatley for you, in our haste to sit & drink more Red Wine & Eat our spag bog, I didn’t even look for the name of the place….but it truthfully was….the best Spag Bog I’ve ever eaten.

Bologna provided us with one of our most fun, relaxing, indulgent days in Italy & I can’t reccommend the city highly enough.

On the way back to the Train we followed our noses – oh shoosh it was dinner time don’t judge – & found a tiny hole in the wall take away pizza joint where we ordered a take meat pizza for a wholeee $6 euros. With absolutely no expectations considering it was so cheap, found on a whim, and a hole in the wall – we literally laughed from ‘we can’t believe this’ at first bites when yet again Bologna delivered the yummiest pizza we’d had all trip – although Naples was a very very close 2nd.

The biggest lesson I took away from the day though was to never get upset over things that don’t always go to plan….My initial disappointment at not being able to wine tour in Tuscany turned in to the most fun & yum day in Bologna that we wouldn’t have changed for the world.

I suppose the biggest lesson was & will remain to be that I have adored learning on the trip is…

Tread your own path – you never know the adventures waiting for you around the corner!

Love & Light xx