What do you know about Bologna food? I’ve just been to the city and here’s what I’ve discovered.
1. Sauce Bolognese doesn’t exist
The first thing that comes to mind when connecting Bologna and food is the world’s favorite spaghetti sauce: sauce bolognese. Just don’t try ordering this in Bologna (or anywhere in Italy for that matter), if you don’t want to be taken for a tourist.
The real Italian meat sauce is called ragú.
In Bologna (and the Emilia region) ragú is traditionally served either as part of a lasagna or with tagliatelle, spaghetti’s flat cousin.
There are many legends surrounding the invention of tortellini, the navel-shaped, filled pasta. I like the one I read in one of the store windows because it is beautifully simple: it was invented so the poor Bolognese could eat the remaining meat from their masters’ tables. Regardless of its filling, tortellini are traditionally not served with a sauce but in a broth.
3. Mamma Mortadella
The quintessential Italian salume (cold cut) was invented right here in Bologna. The way to eat it would be on a sandwich, a focaccia (as served at ‘O Fiore Mio in Piazza Malpighi) or…
4. Pick the Piadina
…in a piadina (or piada), the traditional Romana flatbread, basically their version of chapati. Other typical fillings are bresaola, ham, salami and/or cheeses like parmegiano or brie (yes, brie).
5. Sweet Cookie
I must say, that the typical Bolognese sweets weren’t outstanding for me: there are different almond based and shortcrust biscuits, some with jam filling and colorful decorations. But since this is still Italy you can always stick to ice cream…