I’ve just got back from an amazing holiday in Italy, and if you followed me on any social media you would have seen me post daily pictures of all the beautiful places and delicious food I encountered. My trip was essentially a food pilgrimage to a country that I have always loved visiting. It’s the first time I have been back since I started DrizzleandDip.com and since I started building my dream life around food creativity a decade ago. Italian food is right up there amongst the best you will find anywhere so I wanted to celebrate these last 10 years there. I couldn’t have imagined my life evolving into what it is and getting to work for myself doing exactly what I love. Bologna – the capital of Emilia Romagna, a region with a rich culinary heritage, had to be added to the list.
This medieval city with endless porticoes is home to a huge university and is very charming and full of vibrancy. It had fewer tourists than any of the places I visited on the trip, which definitely added to the charm. I also did a delightful 4 – 5 hour walking tour with Mattia from Delicious Bologna and I can highly recommend doing this if you visit. He is a local food expert that takes you on a walk around the city center stopping at 6 different places to sample food that the area is famous for. You also get to visit a small pasta factory that wouldn’t be open to visitors otherwise. It’s a brilliant way to sample so much in such a short space of time especially if you are traveling on your own.
The tour included a stop to try Bologna’s best cappuccino and brioches (which are essentially croissants filled with a creamy custard), a brief visit to the cutest pasta factory where you see a group of mainly women making tortellini (and other pasta dishes) by hand. It was then onto a well-known salumeria to try cured meat, Parmigiano and balsamic vinegar with a glass of red prosecco. Lunch followed at a family owned trattoria where we sampled three famous Bolognese pasta dishes including tortellini in brodo (broth), lasagna and fettuccini with meat ragu (aka Bolognese sauce). The tour ended with stop for a slice of Roman pizza and artisanal gelato and includes a walk around the city center with Mattia telling us a few of the legends and stories of Bologna. I loved it all.
To discover the places I visited on the food tour you will need to book one of your own when you visit the city.
My advice if you go to Bologna is to book this walking tour on your first day. Mattia will also share a list of his recommended places to eat. They also offer cooking classes so if you have time that will be amazing to do.
If you are serious food geek book the next tour I did which includes a trip to a cheese factory where they make Parmigiano-Reggiano, a farm where they make balsamic vinegar in Modena and a Parma ham facility with a tasting. I’ll be writing about his next so keep an eye out.
Be sure to watch Rick Stein’s episode on Bologna in his ‘Long Week Ends’ BBC series because this will definitely get your appetite going for the place.
A couple of the other foodie places I enjoyed during my stay in Bologna were the Mercato Delle Erbe which is less touristy than the Old Market area with a few fabulous little ‘food court’ style eateries. I ate at Banco 32, which is adjacent to the fishmonger one evening, and it comes highly recommended as the place to eat seafood in the city. The main eatery at the market called ‘Cucina’ looked wonderful but was always full when I went there so I would give that a try but make sure to book ahead. There is a pizza stand called ‘Forno’ that churns out delicious slices if you are looking for a quick snack. The market is open from Monday to Saturday, 8am-midnight. I bought some of my fresh produce from the produce stands to snack on at my air bnb.
A little research for the best gelato in the city led me to discover Il Gelatauro via David Liebovitz and it was exceptional. I visited twice.
San Vitale, 98/b
Tel: 051 230049
Here are a few of my picture from in and around Bologna and on the walking tour with Mattia.
More stories and loads of images from my recent trip to Italy:
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