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19 Dishes you Must Strive

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flat lay of a blue and white bowl on a circular seagrass placemat. The bowl is full of flat tagliatelle pasta and ground beef in a red ragu sauce. A fork is lifting some of the pasta up from the bowl towards the camera. Bologna Italy Food Guide.

In the case of Bologna, the query isn’t a lot what to do there as what to EAT! So this Bologna Italy meals information ought to are available in fairly useful for visiting town!

Together with the encircling Emilia-Romagna area, Bologna is taken into account to be the culinary capital of Italy.

That is the house of a few of Italy’s most well-known meals, together with town’s namesake, bolognese – which locals merely name ragu, and eat with tagliatelle somewhat than spaghetti.

Italian meals could be very regional: every space of the nation has its personal distinctive delicacies, influenced by its historical past, tradition, and by the sorts of components it produces. The meals in Rome could be very completely different to the meals in Bologna or Naples, for instance.

A few of the meals you would possibly affiliate most with Italy really comes from Bologna and the Emilia Romagna area. Meals resembling balsamic di Modena, Parmigiano Reggiano, parma ham all originate from right here – to call just some!

So Bologna is the proper metropolis break for foodies!

It is a metropolis the place it’s genuinely arduous to discover a dangerous meal. The place the meals is so good you would possibly simply make lunch final all afternoon and neglect to go sightseeing. And the place you’ll end up wishing you had extra room in your baggage for all of the meals souvenirs you’ll need to take dwelling!

Learn on for the highest meals and drinks you must attempt in Bologna, plus strategies for the place to attempt them…

Finest Bologna Meals Tour

In the event you actually need to uncover the Bologna meals scene, your finest guess is to take a tour with an area.

We did the 4-hour Traditional Meals tour from Style Bologna on our first morning within the metropolis. It was SUCH a great way to immerse ourselves within the native delicacies, with a number of stops at completely different markets, cafes, and eating places to find a few of the must-try dishes in Bologna.

close up of three women's hands making pasta in a shop in bologna italy - the one in the foreground is rolling a large ball of dough while the two behind are filling a large board of pasta with ground meat
Visiting a conventional pasta store with Style Bologna

A meals tour is at all times my favorite approach to discover a brand new metropolis, because it provides an opportunity to see it by an area’s eyes. Not solely did we go to some locations I’d in all probability by no means have skilled in any other case – just like the historic Osteria del Sole – however our information was additionally stuffed with suggestions for locations to eat and meals to attempt all through the remainder of our go to.

I extremely advocate reserving a meals tour with Style Bologna on your journey. Ideally as near the beginning of your journey as potential, as a result of it is a nice approach to begin exploring! Click on right here to take a look at extra evaluations and test availability.

ALTERNATIVE TOUR: You can additionally take a cooking class, just like the Palms On Dwelling Cooking Class, to be taught extra about native delicacies. Click on right here to test costs and availability.

What to Eat in Bologna: High 7 Dishes

Bologna is the house of a few of the most well-known meals in Italy, together with numerous unbelievable pasta dishes. After all, bolognese might be probably the most well-known – however that’s simply the tip of the iceberg.

I’m kicking off my information to what to eat in Bologna with the highest 7 dishes you have to attempt once you’re within the metropolis. Then, within the subsequent part, I’ll delve into a few of the prime regional meals that you just additionally must attempt!

1. Tagliatelle al Ragù Bolognese (NOT spaghetti bolognese)

close up of a white paper plate with thick tagliatelle topped with ground meat in a dark red sauce and yellow parmesan shavings served at a food court in bologna italy

Probably the most well-known dishes in Italy comes from Bologna: the meals we name “bolognese” was named after town, in any case!

However don’t search around the restaurant menus for “spaghetti bolognese”, since you received’t discover it! The dish you’re searching for is tagliatelle al ragù or ragù alla Bolognese.

Again dwelling, our model of spaghetti bolognese is normally a fairly heavy, moist dish with numerous tomato sauce. That is really nothing in any respect like the standard ragù in Italy.

Ragù alla Bolognese is a thick, meat-based sauce. A mix of beef and pork are slow-cooked in white wine, milk, and a really small quantity of tomato paste. It’s very wealthy and fairly dry in comparison with the “bolognese sauce” you may need tried outdoors of Italy.

Historically, ragù alla Bolognese is served with a large, flat pasta like tagliatelle – not spaghetti – and topped with loads of native parmigiano (parmesan) cheese.

The place to attempt it: I get the sensation that it’s arduous to discover a dangerous Tagliatelle al Ragù in Bologna. I feel the perfect one I had got here from Mercato di Mezzo – a coated market with a renovated meals court docket within the Quadrilatero space.

2. Stuffed Pastas: Tortellini and Tortelloni

close up of a wooden board with lots of small filled pasta dumblings lightly dusted in flour. In the background a man's hands are shaping one of the pastas.

Alongside its namesake ragù, the opposite factor Bologna is known for is its stuffed pasta dishes – particularly tortellini and tortelloni.

Each of those stuffed pastas are related shapes. The primary distinction is that tortellini is smaller and extra delicate than tortelloni. These scrumptious crammed pastas are made by hand at pasta retailers all through town.

Tortellini is historically full of floor meat and parmesan cheese, and is mostly served in a broth (see beneath) – though it will probably additionally come served with ragù or different sauces.

close up of a white plate with large filled pastas and pieces of light brown truffle shavings
Tortelloni with truffles
close up of a white plate with small stuffed pasta dumplings in a white sauce topped with a tiny amount of ground meat in a red rag sauce and lots of grated parmesan
Tortellini Montegrappa

The bigger tortelloni is normally full of a vegetarian filling – ricotta and parsley or pumpkin are the commonest – and could be served with quite a lot of sauces. It’s usually served merely with sage-infused butter, or with a creamy parmesan sauce.

The place to attempt: the truffle tortelloni at Ristorante Da Cesari is a should, or head to the ultra-trendy Oltre for his or her unbelievable meat tortellini in parmesan sauce. Additionally, don’t miss the Tortellini Montegrappa, served with cream and ragù, at Ristorante da Nello.

3. Tortellini en Brodo

close up of a white bowl filled with thin brown broth and stuffed pasta shapes

Tortellini en Brodo (tortellini in broth) is without doubt one of the most conventional dishes in Bologna. The mini crammed pastas are boiled and served in a bowl of wealthy, meat-based broth – normally topped with a little bit of parmesan.

This super-simple dish doesn’t look nice in photographs, however I can guarantee you its completely scrumptious. A must-try in relation to what to eat in Bologna.

The place to attempt it: I had mine at Ristorante Da Cesari – a historic restaurant generally known as top-of-the-line locations to attempt conventional meals in Bologna. It was scrumptious!

4. Balanzoni 

close up of many green coloured stuffed pasta shapes with some metal tongs and a paper sign which says balanzoni with the price obscured underneath. balanzoni pasta are a traditional food from bologna  italy

As if that wasn’t sufficient crammed pasta for one metropolis, Bologna has one other basic dish up its sleeve! Balanzoni are one other sort of stuffed pasta, however these ones are a placing inexperienced color, as a result of the dough has been flavoured with spinach.

Balanzoni are a bit greater than tortelloni. The filling is generally ricotta, parmesan, eggs, spinach, and both mortadella or chopped pork loin. Sage butter is without doubt one of the hottest sauces – however we tried our balanzoni with ragù, which was additionally scrumptious.

5. Lasagne al forno

close up of a lasagna on a white plate, with layers of pasta and creamy sauce topped with ground meat in a dark red sauce

Lasagne has many kinds throughout Italy – however the one from the Emilia Romagna area, Lasagna al forno, most carefully resembles the dish you’ve in all probability tried at dwelling.

In Bologna and the encircling area, Lasagna al forno is historically made with layers of thick ragù alla Bolognese, lasagne, bechamel sauce, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

One native distinction is that the sheets of lasagne pasta are normally inexperienced. The color comes from spinach combined into the dough.

6. Cotoletta alla Bolognese (Veal Cutlet)

Cotoletta alla Bolognese, often known as Petroniana, is a really conventional dish from Bologna. Nevertheless, for the reason that primary ingredient is veal, this one won’t be to everybody’s style.

It’s a really skinny veal cutlet, coated in breadcrumbs and fried in butter. That is topped with a slice of prosciutto and grated parmesan. It’s fairly wealthy, and the model I attempted was a tad on the salty facet, however it’s definitely probably the most conventional dishes to attempt in Bologna.

7. Gramigna alla salsiccia

a white plate with small curled pasta shapes in a white sauce topped with pieces of ground sausage meat and sliced mushrooms and parmesan with a white tablecloth in the background and a silver dish containing pieces of bread at a restaurant in bologna italy

There’s one final pasta dish so that you can attempt in Bologna: gramigna alla salsiccia (gramgina with sausage).

Gramigna is a slim, hole pasta tube which appears to be like a bit like a mini model of macaroni. It’s normally served with chopped sausage meat, both in cream or a thick, tomato-based sauce.

The place to Strive: we tried the gramigna with cream, sausage and mushrooms at Ristorante Da Nello and beloved it.

Regional Meals in Bologna and Emilia Romagna

close up of a grey rectangular platter loaded with multiple pieces of ham and a small pot of soft white cheese
Native hams and cheeses in Bologna

Bologna is the capital of the Emilia Romagna area in northern Italy – a area identified for its wealthy conventional food and drinks. This area’s gastronomy has the best variety of DOP merchandise in Italy – together with Balsamic di Modena and Parmigiano Reggiano.

What’s DOP?

DOP stands for Denominazione d’Origine Protetta (Protected Designation of Origin). It’s a authorized certification from the European Union that ensures a meals product is produced in a selected geographical zone and within the conventional means.

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Emilia Excellence Meals Tour (7 hours). Uncover all the perfect DOP produce within the Emilia Romagna area on this full-day meals tour. Click on right here to test the newest costs and availability.

1. Mortadella

close up of a slice of pale pink ham on a white plate

Mortadella is without doubt one of the hottest cured meats in Bologna. It’s a big sausage or luncheon meat, normally served in skinny slices as charcuterie or in a sandwich.

It appears to be like a bit bit just like the ham they name baloney within the USA – and likewise jogs my memory of the “teddy bear” ham we had within the UK again within the 90s – however it’s a lot, a lot nicer!

You must also attempt Salami Rosa, which is similar to mortadella however is a extra historic recipe. It has a barely completely different flavour as a result of it’s sliced by hand somewhat than utilizing a machine.

2. Prosciutto di Parma

close up of several thin slices of pale pink parma ham

Parma ham, aka Prosciutto di Parma, might be probably the most well-known DOP meals to come back out of the Emilia Romagna area in Italy.

Prosciutto is a cured, unsmoked ham – salty-sweet and completely scrumptious. “Di Parma” merely implies that it comes from the city of Parma, about 1.5 hours from Bologna. Right here, the standard methodology of curing ham dates proper again to 100BC!

RECOMENDED TOUR: Parmesan, Parma Ham & Balsamic Vinegar Tour from Parma (6 hours, from £91.15pp)

3. Parmigiano Reggiano

close up of a large triangular chunk of crumbly pale yellow parmesan cheese with a metal grater and wooden chopping board behind it - bologna food guide

One other well-known DOP meals from Emilia Romagna is Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan). Typically referred to as the “king of cheese”, that is a tough, granular cow’s milk cheese. It’s aged for at the least 12 months – generally as much as 48 months!

And if it doesn’t say DOP, it’s not true Parmigiano Reggiano.

The cheese is mostly served on prime of pasta dishes. In Emilia Romagna, in addition they eat parmesan by itself, drizzled in a bit balsamic. You should definitely attempt it this fashion, too!

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese Tour (2 hours, from £57.18pp)

4. Balsamic di Modena

Modena is a small city simply west of Bologna, well-known because the “dwelling” of balsamic vinegar.

There are two “ranges”. Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena DOP is taken into account the “finest”, protected by its DOP standing, whereas Aceto Balsamico di Modena IGP is inexpensive.

Each are scrumptious, and one thing you have to attempt once you go to Bologna. You can even make a journey to Modena to see the place the well-known condiment comes from!

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Balsamic Vinegar “Aceto” Tasting Expertise in Modena (1 hour, from £20.63pp)

5. Tigelle

close up of a small round flat bread with a flower designed burned into it held by a thumb and forefinger in front of a brown paper bag

Often known as crescentina modenese, tigelle are small, spherical flatbreads which remind me a bit of English breakfast muffins.

They originated within the Modena area and are a preferred road meals all through Emilia Romagna. They’re usually full of cured meats and cheese to create a mini sandwich.

Different Cured Meats and Cheeses to attempt in Bologna

  • Squacquerone – a tender cow’s milk cheese which seems like a form of spreadable mozzerella. Unfold it on some bread and prime with prosciutto. Scrumptious.
  • Formaggio di Fossa – “cheese of the pit”, a form of cheese ripened in particular pits dug in tuff rock. Particularly, search for Pecorino di Fossa di Sogliano DOP, cave-aged sheep’s cheese.
  • Copa Di testa – a form of salami constructed from pig’s head. Seems to be a bit gross – tastes wonderful.
  • Salami Rosa – just like mortadella (see above).

Should-Strive Desserts and Candy Meals in Bologna

1. Tenerina

close up of a white plate with a slim triangular slice of chocolate cake next to a large pool of chocolate sauce, all dusted with white powdered sugar - a traditional dessert food in bolgona italy

Torta Tenerina is a conventional dessert from town of Ferrara in Emilia Romagna – and one among my private favorite meals in Bologna!

It’s a slim, moist chocolate cake just like a brownie, with a barely crisp crust and a decadent, intensley chcoolatey inside.

The place to attempt: mine got here from Ristorante Da Cesari and I beloved it.

2. Zuppa Inglese

a large rectangular trifle with pink sponge and yellow custard lagers topped with a criss cross pattern of thick yellow custard and brown chcolate sauce stripes. the trifle is on a silver platter on a wooden table surrounded by various ingredients including nuts, sponge pieces, and a jug of milk. This is a traditional essert food in bologna italy.

Zuppa Inglese, aka “English Soup”, is a bit bit like an Italian model of an English trifle. It’s made utilizing sponge dipped in Alchermes (an Italian herb liquor) layered with a thick egg custard. There’s additionally generally a layer of chocolate custard.

3. Fiordilatte Bolognese 

close up of two white plates with a circular dessert that looks like a cream coloured pannacotta topped with a golden brown caramel sauce

Plenty of meals guides for Bologna neglect to say Fiordilatte Bolognese, a dessert that’s little-known outdoors of Italy. It’s a easy dessert constructed from eggs, sugar and milk – similar to a crème caramel.

4. Torta di Riso

Torta di Riso, rice cake, is a conventional cake from Bologna which is fashionable throughout Italy. It’s made by boiling rice in milk with lemon peel and vanilla sugar, which is then used to make a cake dough flavoured with almonds, almond liqueur, and candied citron.

5. Gelato

close up of an ice cream cone with a big swirl of yellow custard flavour and brown chocolate flavour gelato in front of a narrow cobbled street in bologna with orange painted walls

You possibly can’t go to Italy with out attempting gelato! And Bologna would possibly simply be top-of-the-line cities in Italy to attempt it.

There’s a Gelato College right here which trains college students from around the globe. In actual fact, there’s even a gelato museum in Bologna!

For a Bolognese twist, look out for native flavours like fiordilatte or zupa inglese. Cremeria Santo Stefano is a good store for that, or for a really decadent deal with attempt the Cremino (an area triple layer chocolate) gelato at La Torinese 1888.

The place to attempt: my favorite meals bloggers have a devoted submit itemizing the 7 finest gelato retailers in Bologna, so test that out for suggestions.

6. Chocolate Tortelloni

One final candy meals in Bologna that makes an excellent memento out of your Italy journey: chocolate tortelloni!

These are tasty little sweets within the form of town’s well-known crammed pasta. Inside is a tender, creamy chocolate filling. Chocolate Tortelloni are made by Majani, one of many oldest Italian chocolate factories in Bologna.

The place to purchase: decide some up on the Drogheria Gilberto within the Quadrilatero district, a historic family-run store which opened in 1905!

Drinks in Bologna

Decadent Coffees

close up of a shot glass containing a swirled mix of yellow custrd with dark brown espresso at a coffee shop in bologna italy
Espresso with Zabaione

Top-of-the-line issues about Italian delicacies is the espresso, and Bologna isn’t any exception! You possibly can’t miss the classics, in fact, from a cappuccino with breakfast to an after-dinner espresso.

However for one thing a bit completely different, attempt one among these distinctive native twists which flip the basic espresso right into a candy deal with!

Zabaione – espresso combined with a wealthy egg custard.
Torinese – espresso combined with chocolate and cream.
Fior de latte – espresso combined with a form of artisan pannacotta.

The place to attempt: You possibly can attempt all three at Aroma Specialty Coffees, a brief stroll from the Piazza Maggiore.


close up of a bright red wine being poured into a wine glass on a white tablecloth

Lambrusco might be probably the most well-known wine from the Emilia Romagna area of Italy. It’s a glowing purple wine, which sounds a bit uncommon, however its fruity and candy style make it interesting on heat days in Bologna!


white paper plate with several pieces of crusty bread with a small wine glass behind it filled with an almost clear sparkling wine next to a dark green glass wine bottle with the label reading osteria del sole

The a lot much less well-known pignoletto is a white glowing wine, softer and a bit drier than the extra well-known prosecco.

The grapes for pignoletto are grown within the vineyards between Modena and Bologna, so it’s very a lot town’s signature drink. And it goes down very nicely with a platter of native cured meats and cheeses!

The place to Strive: Head to the historic Osteria del Sole, the oldest osteria in Bologna which has been within the metropolis centre since 1465! They don’t serve meals, however clients are allowed to convey their very own – so long as they purchase the wine!

RECOMMENDED TOUR: Wine Tasting in Certainly one of Bologna’s Oldest Inns (2.5 hours, from £45.58pp)

Aperitivo in Bologna

Talking of drink, one factor you have to do once you go to Bologna – or any Italian metropolis, for that matter – is expertise aperitivo.

An aperitivo is a pre-dinner drink, normally alocholic, which is supposed to stimulate the urge for food. These cocktails are usually on the extra dry and bitter facet, resembling the enduring Aperol spritz. Apparently, the concept is to cleanse the palette and get up your digestive system, able to eat!

Listed here are a few of the finest locations to move for aperitivo in Bologna:

Excessive Finish

Café Marinetti at Grand Lodge Majestic. In the event you’re searching for one thing particular, the attractive Café Marinetti at Bologna’s historic Grand Lodge Majestic is the place for you.

It is a really elegant area embellished with marble columns, glittering chandeliers, and framed photographs of royalty and political figures who’ve visited the attractive lodge over time. And the cocktail menu is totally fabulous – you’ll wrestle to decide on only one!

Price range

Digital camera a Sud. We occurred to be staying proper across the nook from this vigorous, cosy bar – which was at all times stuffed with locals each inside and outside. This is without doubt one of the hottest spots in Bologna for an aperitivo, with boho, shabby-chic decor and an excellent vibe.

Bologna Welcome Card

Wish to squeeze a little bit of sightseeing in between all that scrumptious meals in Bologna?! The Bologna Welcome Card is an effective way to save lots of a bit of cash.

The cardboard begins from €25 per individual and provides you entry to most of Bologna’s prime sights. Together with the well-known Asinelli tower (the 498 steps are an effective way to burn off all that previous), and a number of other museums.

It additionally features a guided strolling tour of town centre, and reductions for a number of different sights.

We had the Bologna Welcome PLUS card (€40pp) for our go to and it proved invaluable. The PLUS possibility features a few extras, such because the Metropolis Pink Bus (an open-top vacationer bus) which made for an excellent lazy afternoon of sightseeing when our tummies have been too stuffed with bolognese and gelato to stroll!

Last Ideas

Bologna actually is without doubt one of the finest cities in Italy for food and drinks! With so many unbelievable “DOP” merchandise within the surrounding area, and a few nice signature dishes, you’re sure to be well-fed daily of your journey!

I hope this information to what to eat in Bologna has given you loads of inspiration. Simply ensure you convey your urge for food!

Learn Extra

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The place to Discover the Finest Gelato in Rome

Trentino Italy Journey Information

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Is there something lacking from my Bologna Italy meals information? Scroll all the way down to share within the feedback!

Bologna Italy Food Guide
Bologna Italy Food Guide

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