10 Things to Eat in Bologna, Italy
The list of things to eat in Bologna is truly endless. Because of its position in the fertile region of Emilia Romagna and its history as the oldest university in the world, Bologna’s food culture is renowned in the whole country and in the whole world!
First staple of its food culture, the fresh egg pasta. From Lasagne, to Tagliatelle, but also Gramignia or Tortellini, there is a lot to taste and they’re incredibly tasty. They are sometimes dressed with meat sauce, the famous “Bolognese” called ragù, but also broth or cream. The bolognese cuisine also heavily relies on pork meat and cheeses coming from the whole region: ham (prosciutto) and Parmesan from the neighbour city of Parma, dried sausage (salumi), or the famous Mortadella, sometimes called Bologna in English. The nearby vineyards provide sparkling white wine such as Pignoletto but also sparkling red wine like the Lambrusco.
During your trip in the Italian city of food called La Grassa (the fat), here are what you should not miss!
#1 Tagliatelle al ragu
The original spaghetti alla bolognese are actually not spaghetti but tagliatelle, as Bologna is spezialised in fresh, egg pasta. The meat sauce is also a bit different than ours with more meat, and less tomatoes as in Bologna it was not fresh tomato sauce, but canned tomato sauce that was used in the past.
Not only this famous pasta dish comes from Bologna as, once again, it is fresh egg pasta, but you will also discover that the pasta is originally green thanks to spinach. That was generally the favorite pasta dish of the team!
#3 Tortellini al brodo
One of the most iconic pasta of Bologna, those little bags are stuffed with prosciutto and cheese and served in a broth. Some other recipes recommend to serve them with panna (cream) and the pasta is available in different size, the tortellone being bigger.
#4 Gramignia alla salsiccia
Those little spirals of pasta are not only a treat under the teeth, slithly resistant and elastic, but also served with an amazing italian sausage based sauce. The Italian sausage is generally flavored with fennel giving it a subtle anised taste – my ultimate favorite.
This famous and large Italian sausage is the one of the only one made of thinly grounded pork. Some Historians think that the recipe might have come from a Antic encounter between the Romans and the German way of doing sausages, as the Italian sausage is generally never made of ground pork but rather dried meat. The mortadella, sometimes seasoned with myrtle berries and pistaccios is the specialty of Bologna and is protected by a PGI.
#6 Cured Pork Platter
Pork is the king of the table in the region of Emilia Romagna, valley of the river Po. There are even some specific species only found there, such as a black pig (Mora Romagnola). The regional capital Bologna could not miss it. Produced from all around, the region supplies Bologna with delicious prosciutto such as Parma Ham but also dried salsiccia, grilled fat, lard and more. They are mainly produced in ethical, biological and natural conditions and for this reason taste absolutely amazing. To go with your cold cuts, you’ll also find Parmeggiano Reggiano from the next town of Parma, as well as fresh cheese or marmellata (marmelades).
This flat bread, made of lard, salt and flour, comes from the Emilia region and in the past, it was cooked in a terracotta pan. It is generally stuffed with ham, mortadella fresh cheese (stracchino), or vegetables, either folded in to or rolled as a wrap. This is the typical sandwich of Bologna and it costs almost nothing!
Also called Crescentina, those mini bread that look like pancakes come from the area of Modena, just one hour far in the north of Bologna. Stuffed with cheese, figs, or hams or whatever cold cuts you like, it’s the perfect staple of a long aperitivo during the whole night.
#9 Torta di riso
#10 Sparkling wine
Sure it’s not to eat, but wine definitely belongs to the Bolognese food culture, as vineyards surround the city. What is really special about them is the sparkling wine that exist in almost every colors: white, red and even rosé! Try out some of them such as Pignoletto, a sparkling white wine Prosecco-like produced in the hills around Bologna, or some more unusual sparkling red wine like Lambrusco!
Of course there are a lot more things to eat in Bologna : parmesan cheese, aperitivo where you pay for your drink and the food is free, etc. Even if it’s still a secret town as tourists prefer Firenze, Rome or Naples, it’s the Italian city of Food afterall… You went there and you have some more tipps? We missed a big big thing? Share yours in the comment!