On Saturday we went on a 1/2 day food tour of Bologna which was a gift from my work colleagues when I left home. Thanks team. This has been a highlight of my travels to date. There were seven of us on the tour so it was a friendly group just strolling and chatting and eating delicious food. We started the morning in a pasta laboratorio. This is not a laboratory as we might think of it where chemical mysteries are concocted but rather a workshop where the sfoglines weave their pasta magic. We saw them rolling out the freshly made dough, cutting it into squares, dropping pea sized portions of seasoned pork onto the pasta and deftly twisting them into the tortellini shape. They also made the larger tortelloni filled with pumpkin. I hope to take a class here and master these skills myself. First consumption stop was a welcome espresso and a sweet filled croissant. In Italy they seem to favour sweet pastry for breakfast which they confusingly call pasta. The next stop was a bakery where we tasted a torta de riso. I had just read about this in the Guardian and wanted to know where to find it. Now I know. It is like a rice pudding cake. If you love rice pudding, which I do, you will love this. It is traditionally eaten at Christmas so my family can expect this to be produced for our family Christmas this year.
The next eating stop was La Salumeria which was somewhere I had stumbled upon a few weeks back and couldn’t recall where it was or what it was called. Here we had a selection of Bologna meats and aged Parmigiano Reggiano drizzled with Balsamic condimento, served with chilled Lambrusco. I knew Lambrusco was red sparkling wine and I thought I didn’t like it. I did not know that it should be served chilled and it pairs well with a meat and cheese platter. This was an entirely different experience. Do try this at home. At La Salumeria we also tasted a few drops of extra vecchio Aceto Balsamico, aged for 25 years. 100 ml of this elixir will set you back € 99,00. Don’t drop the bottle. Here you can also buy the pasta made in the laboratorio, cured meats, cheeses and a variety of other deli delights. I suspect that I might visit here to buy good quality prepared food for weekday suppers when I don’t feel up to the task of cooking in my Italian kitchen. Having walked off a little of the salami and cheese, we wandered by a pizza bar where we sampled a small portion of Roman style pizza. The pizza was sold by weight and was delicious. Similar to focaccia with a light crisp crust. More topping than Neapolitan pizza. Do they do my favourite potato and rosemary? I’ll have to find out.
After some meandering around the city we visited Trattoria Tony where we enjoyed a plate of tortellini in brodo. I have talked about this dish but I hadn’t tried it and was not really convinced. Tiny rings of meat filled pasta in clear broth? Yes! This dish delivers so much more than it promises. This is the dish Bologna is most proud of and rightly so. I will buy this from La Salumeria when I want to eat it in our Italian kitchen but I will also learn to make it so I can prepare it for you at home. Then we ate more pasta. We had a small portion each of lasagne and tagliatelle al ragù. I learned that lasagne is traditionally made with green pasta. In the past, it would have been coloured with nettle leaves but these days spinach is usually used. We drank Sangiovese wine, the blood of Jupiter, with our pasta. When we’d finished lunch we wandered around the corner for gelato. I’ll write more about this later but for now you only need to know that Italian gelato is the best in the world. Having consumed two scoops of gelato, one black sesame and one stracciatella, we waddled home and went to bed without any supper. If you visit Bologna, do take a tour with Delicious Bologna. Remember not to have breakfast. Thanks again KIMD.