Wednesday, August 17

Apparently Italy's Food Capital...

It’s what they say about it, this place of towers and seven churches all in a row, that this is the city embodying the title; Italy’s food capital. And so of course it required a visit. However, august pilfers the evidence for this confident claim. Because here in this hot summer month, corrugated iron doors hide these restaurants, cafes and markets as all the pure breed-Bolognians desert the city for a more noble summer spent by the seaside. And we, stomachs half empty, step out off our Ryanair flight, exclusive of everything between take off and landing, and into a food starved and culinary desolate concrete maze of solace and quiet after a hectic holiday in Morocco.

We managed to catch a glimpse to what this town looked like in January and February and so on. It’s their thing here; like the baguette walk and nibble is to France, the hanging dried meat on the bone is to Italy, from the ceilings and walls and staircases, anything with height. And we’re ok with this, you would be too as long as you could gladly endure the intoxicating smell of proschuitto in every deli.

We asked for a restaurant, one that was open, that they would recommend, and they sent us to Ristorante Cesarina. Why? On looking back we’re not entirely sure, except that they kick it old school there, with male servers in penguin suits who bring your meals out on a table-clothe-lined trolley and add the final touches in front of you.

Mother ordered risotto ai funghi porcini (porcini mushroom risotto).

And myself; tortellini di saggina e ricotta (tortellini stuffed with ricotta in a burnt butter sage sauce).

It wasn’t everything you would want it to be. However, when you ask for just one glass of wine they certainly do you justice by filling your already over sized bulbous bowl right to the top.

Bologna’s medieval canal

In Italy’s capital of food it is only appropriate to create your own gastronomic tour, even with the very little ‘open’ opportunities considering the season. Walking shoes were tied and maps pulled out and we found more hanging meat…

and more cheese than you could throw a stick at (that was for you Jo), including this incredibly large but appropriate bowl of mozzarella.

And in between the in-and-outs of delis and cheese chops, and after last night’s heavy pasta meal, we sat down to a picnic under the arches of Piazza San Stefano, the most beautiful piazza in Bologna, with a couple of our finds from our gastronomic adventure. Goats cheese, ewes cheese and cows cheese, avocado, cherry tomatoes and Italian bread that was almost worth justifying, as it is difficult to find quality Italian bread.

All was followed by a Mai Thai and an antipasti platter of mini brushetta and sticks of halloumi, cherry tomatoes and cured ham whilst sitting outside seven churches all in a row.

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