|Our first meal in Bologna|
After all of the excitement of Rome and Venice, Bologna was an excellent change of pace. Where Venice was breathtakingly beautiful in an obvious way and the scenery was the big draw, Bologna was more rustic and the allure of the city lied exactly where we wanted it to be, in the food.
When we first arrived in Bologna in late afternoon, we were starving. We had just checked into our hotel (which, to our surprise, ended up being a one bedroom apartment, complete with a full kitchen!) we stopped at the very first place that looked like it could be good. Lucky for us, it was incredible - two simple plates. One, a tomato-basil risotto, ripe with bright tomato flavor and vibrant peppery basil it was surprisingly light and delicate while maintaining intense flavors. The second dish was a classic Bolognese with a hearty sauce of meat lightly coating wide and flat noodles. We felt instantly at home.
|Bologna's famous leaning towers |
Our days in Bologna were spent much differently than in our other cities that we visited. Because the city isn't very large, once we felt that we had walked its streets enough and explored it thoroughly, we found intimate spots to relax with a book and just take in the atmosphere of the city. Later on in the afternoon, we'd return to our hotel and freshen up before heading out for the night where we'd drink carafes of house wine and enjoy classic Italian dishes. One of our favorite meals was at a quaint little family run restaurant tucked away down a quiet side street. There, we feasted on a multi-course meal of various pastas, rabbit, veal and finished with a square of creamy, coffee spiked tiramisu. It was so prefect, it almost seemed surreal.
|Tucked away and taking it all in|
|Applying cheese, naturally|
Because we had a kitchen all to ourselves, we couldn't help but use it. We also couldn't stop ourselves from regularly visiting the many produce markets, cheese shops, butchers and bakeries so, we frequently found ourselves cooking. The quality of the ingredients that we picked up were just so stunning. Richard made steak with Italian Peach and Basil Salsa and I used some fresh San Marzano tomatoes, garlic and olive oil to make a sauce that would coat handmade ravioli. I finished with a healthy scoop of Stracciatella Cheese, an extra soft and very decadent version of Mozzarella cheese.
|Our apartment kitchen with fresh San Marzano tomatoes simmering away|
|Richard's Steak Dish - Garlic and Olive Oil Seared Steak with Italian Basil-Peach Salsa|
|My dish - Fresh Ravioli with Homemade Basil San Marzano tomato sauce and Stracciatella Cheese|
Bologna is where we also discovered Limoncello. We each ordered a shot priced at 4 euros after dinner one night and, to our surprise, a full bottle arrived at our table. We weren't sure what to do so we promised ourselves one shot each because we assumed that they were going to charge us by the shot. Instantly upon tasting it in its ice cold, citrusy-sweet glory, we were hooked and before we knew it, three quarters of the bottle was gone. It took all of our strength not to finish the bottle and we assumed our bill would be hefty but it turns out, we didn't get charged at all. An oversight or a Limoncello miracle, we'll never know but we've started making our own at home and we can't stop!
|Classic Bolognese |
|Salumi Plate |
|Tortellini en Brodo |
Food aside, one of the best parts about Bologna were the streets. We loved just walking along them, popping into shops and restaurants but the best part was the music. It seemed almost on every corner there was a small band and the music just carried through the streets and because people passing by would get so into it, dancing and singing, it made it seem like a party on every corner. One band played all classic American movie theme songs (think Indiana Jones) while another a couple blocks down was blasting Beatles hits. We were sad to leave Bologna because we had enjoyed ourselves so much and it also meant that our honeymoon was coming to a close. We were headed back to Rome before our trip back across the ocean, but not before a quick stop in Naples...
|Bologna City Center at Night|