Hello curious readers! The last few weeks I’ve retracted and kept my head down with various commitments. Some of which include writing about the opening of FICO Eataly World for Eater and researching dining in Bologna for an essential restaurants list.
Article links here if you’d like to cut to the chase:
if you are a first time visitor of my blog, I’m an American food & drink writer in Florence since 2012 but spent a month in Bologna in 2017 to develop a gourmet tour plus subsequent frequent jaunts between Florence to research and keep a pulse on the food scene and continuously study its cuisine.
This Bologna food tour was my little passion project, and was added to my bespoke gamma of small-group, 3 hour tasting tours focused on Florence. I sweat over many bowls of tortellini and slices of mortadella to make it perfect!
The last days in my month stint in Bologna were solid, mostly because I finally figured out how to get around without looking at a map and ate some of the best food to date. But also I made some final assessments of this town and the culture of life in Florence. My palate changed, my attitude towards Florence’s dining scene even more critical.
My lasting impression is this- in Bologna you eat better than in Florence, period. The food in Florence can be extremely disappointing and there are only a handful of eateries left where you eat truly well. It’s not that Florence doesn’t have amazing food from it’s traditional culinary repertoire, the problem is that the city doesn’t showcase it. Read old Tuscan/Florentine cookbooks like “Il Libro Vero della Cucina Fiorentina” by Paolo Petroniand you’ll find delicious dishes, most of which are non-existent on the majority of menus around town. Florence overall has sold out its dining scene to mass tourism, instead of saying “hey- we are proud of our cuisine and people should eat it or leave it!” These Florentinerestaurateurs have underestimated the curiosity of foreign diners OR have surrendered to the incurious. Accept my apologies for constantly comparing Bologna and Florence, as it’s almost unfair, but allow me to indulge. Continue Reading →
Quick brief: I’m in Bologna for a month. So why you in Bologna? the food! change of scene! Putting my precious Italian degree into practice/remembering why I studied it in the first place- because I am fascinated by Italy! I wish I could immerse myself in ever major city/region like this for a month or 2!
Moving on…so part of the quest for this trip is to find the best tortellini in Bologna and to find someone willing to teach me how to make it. As in my last post, I’ve learned some clues as to what makes tortellini good, but wonder if I have a proper benchmark. In Florence, I’ve worked with cooking classes led by mammas and grandmas, some with Emilia-Romagna roots. Handmade pasta- down. But what about the broth or the filling? And even working with the culinary gatekeepers themselves, how does one really know a good tortellini? Is this truly a subjective quest? Continue Reading →
A week in a new place can feel like a month. Granted, I’m only here for a month. But as an American who has become acclimated to Florence, there are loads of differences to process. I’m so glad I decided to check this town out, now I have this idea to do this once a year. I.e. Spend time in a new city/region for about a month to really immerse myself in the culture and cuisine. Next year- Naples and Campania! What I’ve learned in this week of food hunting is that the Bolognesi are serious about their tortellini, the broth is almost as important as the pasta, the purest way to consume tortellini is in broth and adding panna to tortellini is heavily contested as a modern invention. In certain ways, they are more hard core about food than the Florentines! Continue Reading →