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A tasty slice of Bologna

by Michael on April 29, 2012

In our humble opinion Italy serves up the best food in the world, a belief that is shared by millions. Since the northern Italian city of Bologna is the food capital of Italy it is a must-visit spot for any foodie. While we were enticed by the Bologna food we also fell in love with the rhythms of the city displayed on the streets and sidewalks. Here are some photos from a day walking, and eating, around Bologna.

Bologna Italy

The Atti market on the Via Drapperie, which as been in the same family for five generations, was closed when we showed up. Not to worry, we’d come back.

Bologna food shop

Here’s the same market a few hours later bristling with local Bolognese-made products.

Bologna Italy food market

Can you spot any similarities between the customer peering in the shop window and the figure on the left? Besides the blue jacket of course.

Bologna man eating gelato

A man enjoys his gelato in front of a plaque dedicated to Father Marella, unaware of the imploring gesture from the priest who dedicated his life to raising money for the poor.

Bologna pappardelle

A local specialty of Pappardelle with Ragu Bianco, a meat sauce without tomatoes, served up at the Taverna dei Lords.

Bologna Italy tomatoes

It didn’t occur to us until we put this post together that the above sign was in English, not Italian. There’s a reason for that.We learned the hard way a few years back that in Italy, as in much of Europe, the customer doesn’t squeeze the produce for ripeness. Instead they rely on the vendor to give them the best product available.

Bologna tortelloni

One of the local culinary treats is tortelloni, served with a variety of fillings.

Bologna butcher pigs head

The butcher shops are a bit more graphic than we see at home but they certainly show that the meat is fresh.

Bologna food produce market

Working your way through the narrow streets of the medieval-era market just east of the Piazza Maggiore is part of the fun of food shopping in Bologna.

Bologna mushrooms

When your favorite mushrooms are in season, grab ’em!

Bologna meat cheese store

Bologna is the capital of the Emilia Romagna region, a culinary smorgasbord famous for being the birthplace of Parmigianno Reggiano cheese, prosciutto de Parma, ragu Bolognese, tortellini, balsamic vinegar de Modena, mortadella and Lambrusco sparkling wine. No wonder shopping at the markets is a head-spinning experience.

Bologna stuffed zucchini flowers

Larissa was so inspired by the markets that she whipped up a serving of roasted stuffed zucchini flowers. They were delicious. Read about her learning how to make pasta in Italy.

Bologna mortadella

No food tour of Bologna would be complete without trying mortadella, the meat that is the godfather of baloney.

28581550060_131210d7e7_mLarissa and Michael are your typical middle-aged couple from Philadelphia who’ve been traveling the world full-time since 2011, seeking off-beat, historic and tasty sights. To receive quarterly updates and valuable travel tips subscribe here.

Vago Damitio April 29, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Hey, that looks almost as delicious as being there! It was great meeting with you guys and cooking with you Larissa – I’ll roll the pasta and you can shape it! Hope to see you on the road in the future!


Barbara April 30, 2012 at 2:32 am

My God, this post is chock full of all sorts of goodies!
I love a good gelato! I have eaten the real thing in a region of Italy called Aosta(on the border next to France).
Otherwise, I am pretty partial to most Italian favorites.

Have a good week.

Us April 30, 2012 at 4:48 am

Yep, it was pretty fantastic. The trick is to get enough exercise so we can keep eating!

Doz & Amanda April 30, 2012 at 6:17 am

With all these wonderful ingredients, the Italians have an uncanny ability to create fantastic dishes with only the most basic of them.
Our favourite in Bologna was spaghetti with chilli, garlic and olive oil. Simple and delicious!

MissElaineous April 30, 2012 at 7:41 am

My eyes have rolled back into my head. WOW!!! And YUM!!!

Us April 30, 2012 at 10:01 am

Stop, you’re making us hungry!

Larissa April 30, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Yep, it was THAT good! 🙂

Jim @NeverStopTraveling May 4, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Good post. And you’re right — Italy does serve up the best food in the world. I have been going to Italy for 40 years now and have always told people that when I die my idea of heaven is eating my way through Italy!

Michael May 4, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Hi Jim,

It was difficult to leave but we’ll be back.

wandering educators April 1, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Oh my. I need to go. ASAP.

D.J. - The World of Deej April 1, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Yum! Cool stuff on the tomatoes. Had never heard that about not touching the food in the market before. Now I know!…

Cat of Sunshine and Siestas April 2, 2013 at 5:28 am

Mmmmm Bologna. I am lucky enough to have Italian family who own a food important company, so this kind of food has been on my plate for ages. I took my boyfriend to Bologna a few months ago, and I think we gained a collective five pounds in two days!!

And agreed on the produce – I always get scolded in my nearby supermarket for testing and tapping!

Kate April 3, 2013 at 4:37 am

I love those super red tomatoes but I can’t cope with the pig head!

Michael April 3, 2013 at 8:33 am

That is pretty intense.

Michael April 3, 2013 at 8:37 am

We first got in trouble a few years back in Paris for touching the fruit. It does make sense because it is cleaner not to let people touch but sometimes as obvious tourists we feel we are not given the best stuff.

Terry at Overnight New York April 4, 2013 at 10:26 pm

What gorgeous — if graphic — images of food! I could almost smell it from looking at it.

Micki April 5, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Oh my goodness, I love the stuffed zucchini flowers. I grew up on a farm in Canada, and every year we had a profusion of zucchini, but I’ve never heard of eating the flowers. Larissa, I may be writing to ask for your recipe in a few weeks 🙂

Linda @EcoTraveller April 6, 2013 at 8:26 am

All that pasta in one place would make me go crazy… love the stuff!

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