When you first visit Italy, it's hard to imagine just how good the Italian food is going to be. No matter what part of the country you visit, even the worst food is generally really good.
But if you’re looking for some of the best Italian food in Italy, Bologna and the rest of Emilia Romagna are certainly the right place to be.
Experiencing the food and wine of Bologna and Emilia Romagna is a fun and enjoyable experience.
I have asked my friend Ilaria de Fidio owner of Bologna Gourmet (http://www.bolognagourmet.it/en/), a professional pasta-maker and food connoisseur from Bologna to create some food experiences for us.
Each of these experience can be added for an extra-fee to your week in Bologna!
You can choose the experience(s) you like the most and we can fit it (them) in your calendar. Your teacher will always be there with you and you will continue learning Italian even when you eat, drink and (why not) cook!!!
Make fresh pasta the real Italian way
Enjoy a cookery class at a very experienced Bolognese chef‘s house and learn how to create very famous local dishes and taste everything you make with some nice local wine
You will make fresh pasta with the rolling pin, the famous bolognese sauce and a dessert at your choice, like tiramisù, panna cotta, chocolate cake or chocolate salami.
Alternatively to the dessert, you could make a second course, such as “cotoletta alla bolognese” or meat filled zucchini or meatballs with peas.
You could even make a second kind of pasta, like tortelloni or ravioli. Or you could make lasagne and a dessert.
The class takes about 3 hours and will be followed by the lunch. You will eat what you have cooked!
PRICES (INCLUDING THE LUNCH)
1 Person: 160€
2 people: 100€ per person
3-4 people: 80€ per person
More than 4 people: 70€ per person
Payment: cash on site
Parmesan cheese, Parma ham (or culatello) and balsamic vinegar tour
For this private gourmet tour we will leave very early in the morning to go to a Parmigiano factory in Modena where we will be able to see how they make the cheese from scratch.
We will also visit their warehouse (with dozens of big “wheels” of cheese) and will have a tasting.
The tour will continue with a visit to a Parma ham producer (Prosciutto di Parma is considered the best in the world!) where we will see the complete process that a pork leg undergoes from its arrival through all the various stages of maturation and will have a tasting.
Then we will head to a nearby winery, where we can learn everything about their way of making wine and we can taste 3 of their best products together with a hearty, traditional lunch, with homemade pasta specialities from Parma, typical products and cakes.
Later we will go to Modena to visit a balsamic vinegar production site where we will see how it is made. It’s then aged for 25 years and then ready to be tasted! We will of course taste it and we will be able to understand the astonishing difference with the industrial one.
We will be back around 5pm.
PRICE: AT LEAST 2 PEOPLE: 190€ per person, including transportation, lunch and tastings.
Ilaria will take you to the most iconic cafes and restaurants in the centre of Bologna. She is extremely knowledgeable about Bologna, its food and its places and you will be able to find out a lot about our city and our traditions.
You will start with an Italian breakfast in a typical Italian cafeteria, you will carry on with a first course in a typical trattoria and after you will head to a second trattoria for your second course: cured meat with “crescentine”, a fantastic local fried bread. You will conclude your walking lunch with a fantastic gelato.
The duration is about 4 hours, price is 100€ per head (at least 2 people) and that includes the guided tour and all the food you will have!
Walking under the two great arches of the spectacular facade of Palazzo dei Banchi designed by the celebrated architect Giacomo Barozzi (il Vignola), we enter a fascinating area known as the “Mercato di mezzo”, a network of narrow streets that almost all bear the names of the type of craftsmen or shopkeepers that can be found there (Drapperie (drapers’ shops), Degli Orefici (goldsmiths), Clavature (locksmiths), Pescherie Vecchie (fishmongers in the old fish market).
These narrow streets are a wonderful sight and a joy to the palate: an array of brightly coloured vegetables, fresh fruit and even unique, rarely seen and long forgotten fruit.The shop windows boast a fantastic display of our local gastronomic specialties: from pasta (tortellini, lasagne, tagliatelle, tortelloni with ricotta and vegetables), to every imaginable type of salami and sausage (especially mortadella) and different prime cuts which compose our traditionally delicious dish of boiled meats.
Our tour will take us to various different shops where we’ll become familiar with the best quality products and fresh hand made pasta. For an extra charge we’ll also be able to try some local specialities, such as parmesan cheese or balsamic vinegar. Upon request we can finish off the morning with lunch at one of Bologna’s typical restaurants.
30€ per person (Food not included)
Looking for the perfect gelato
Bologna is also the city of gelato: it is home to one of the most important companies producing machines for ice cream, Carpigiani, and for few years now has housed the Gelato Museum, located right inside the company factory, which is situated just outside Bologna.
During our tour in the city we will go in search of the best gelaterie in the city center and we will talk about quality, ingredients and technique. On each stop we will have a small tasting of the most famous flavor offered by that manufacturer, or you can ask for whichever flavor you like, or we can decide to try the same flavour everywhere.
PRICES (INCLUDING THE TASTINGS)
50€ per person
Are you a cheese lover? Would you like to know more about our regional dairy products, but you never had the chance? Then you can’t miss this 2 hours walking and tasting tour through the Emilia Romagna cheeses.
Starting from the Medieval Market, where you can find all the typical products of Bologna, Ilaria will introduce you to all the traditional cheeses that our beautiful region could offer, beginning with the king, his majesty Parmigiano Reggiano. You can learn how it's made and how many different kinds you can find, depending on the cow breeds.
We will talk about Grana Padano and why it's so different from Parmigiano, we will discover Pecorino di fossa and squacquerone, typical cheeses of Romagna. At the end of the tour we will head to Ilaria's house to taste them all and catch the differences among them, adding some jams, honey, wine jelly, caramelized figs and some drops of the real traditional balsamic vinegar.
The highlight of the tasting is the the Traditional Balsamic vinegar from Modena, aged for 12 years, completely different from what you can buy at the supermarket! Is your mouth already watering? If you die for cheese and want to learn more about the typical ones of Emilia Romagna, this is the experience for you!
We can have the tour at any time, when it's more convenient for you.
PRICES (INCLUDING THE TASTINGS)
50€ per person
Olive oil and wine hiking
We will leave in the morning toward Brisighella, a little suggestive town on Romagna hills, about 50km far from Bologna, famous for its olive oil “Brisighello”. Here, we can hike on a trail dedicated to Brisighella secular olive trees among the medieval fortress “Rocca Manfrediana” and ancient parish churches.
We have the possibility to visit a crypt where are guarded the archaeological finds of an old Roman crusher dating 2nd century A.C. After our pleasant trail, we will reach the olive oil consortium to visit the production and to have a tasting of their local specialties. Then we head to the medieval village of Brisighella where we can visit the town and have lunch with olive oil and typical products in a traditional restaurant.
In the afternoon we will reach a nearby winery where we can have a tasting of the famous Sangiovese, typical of this area, and other wines they make. We will be back around 5pm.
PRICE: AT LEAST 2 PEOPLE: 160€ per person, including transportation, lunch and tastings.
The province of Bologna: Dozza, the Regional Wine Cellar and other cellars
In the morning we leave for Dozza, a small hill town characterized by a fascinating ancient fortress, about 30 minutes far from Bologna.
The town’s most outstanding feature are the walls of the houses, which are decorated with paintings by artists from all over the world.
After a short visit to this small town we’ll make a stop at the Emilia Romagna Regional Wine Cellars, housed right inside this fortress, which can be visited. The Enoteca brings together all the wines of our region and upon request we can taste some of them, accompanied by some typical food products.
The morning ends with a visit to a renowned local producer, where we will discover their great wines and we can have a light lunch during the tasting.
PRICE: AT LEAST 2 PEOPLE: 120€ per person, including the visit to the fortress transportation, lunch and tastings.
Winery tours: Pignoletto or Lambrusco
The typical local wine in Bologna Hills is Pignoletto, a white wine that can be still or sparkling, perfect to drink with appetizers.
The area of Colli Bolognesi has plenty of producers we can visit and have a satisfying tasting of their excellent wines and typical food.
Our tour begins at 10, departing from Bologna city center, to reach the wine-growing district of Colli Bolognesi, where the Pignoletto is the main vine.
We will visit two companies, where you can have a little wine tasting at each stage, to finish the morning in a third cellar where, in addition to the tasting of their wines, we will have a great lunch with our world famous local products.
The tour is led by an AIS sommelier and with private shuttles.
In the area of Modena, instead, we are in the realm of Lambrusco, with its three traditional varieties Sorbara, Grasparossa and Salamino. We can even find some cellars that make a local version of champagne.
As for Pignoletto, we will visit two companies, where you can have a little wine tasting at each stage, to finish the morning in a third cellar where, in addition to the tasting of their wines, we will have a great lunch with our world famous local products.
Even in this case, the tour is guided by a professional sommelier that will lead you to the best cellars of the area.
PRICE: AT LEAST 2 PEOPLE: 150€ per person, including the transportation, lunch and tastings
Emilia, Land of Motors
For history and motor sport enthusiasts, we have a tour to the Motor Valley that shouldn’t be missed, where both high-powered cars and motor cycles are manufactured.
There is a long tradition of motor sports In Emilia Romagna. We will visit the production site of Ferrari (where we will visit both the Museum and Enzo Ferrari’s house) and Lamborghini.
Of course these visits can also be accompanied by different types of tastings, especially balsamic vinegar, Lambrusco or Parmigiano, according to the area. Upon request we can finish off the morning with lunch at one typical restaurants close to the factories.
PRICE: AT LEAST 2 PEOPLE: 140€ per person, including the transportation and the visit to the museums. Food is not included