Bologna: restaurants, markets and caffe
Ciao tutti. I will be spending two and a half weeks in Bologna in early November. I have a few specific questions:
1. Are there any seasonal events or festivals with food in the first few weeks of November?
2. Where is the best caffe in town? I am a novice American barista and want to enjoy the coffee, observe technique and perhaps talk with the barista.
3. I will be doing a fair bit of eating on the go (e.g. making some food in my apt for a train ride). I need good markets for supplies, especially bread, cheese and dried meats.
4. Of course, what are the can't miss restaurants in town?
I was last there for a week in October 2004. I co-own a pretty well-respected indie coffeehouse (we use and were trained by Intelligentsia). The coffeehouse experience in Bologna is nothing like in the US. Nothing. Everyone drinks capps in the AM, espresso all day long. Nothing bigger than 6oz, except you might find a 10oz latte (possibly served as latte macchiato - a steamer with a ristretto shot poured into it). And even though they all use prepackaged Illy or Segafreddo and many have corndogs growing on their steam wands, it's still better than 98% of anything served in US shops.
Wish I could remember the names of any of the places we went to. We were staying about three blocks east of the main train station. We had capps and spros at perhaps 10 different places during our stay.
Far as eating, we do recall Trattoria Tony being very good - only because we stole a menu from there. Everything we ate everywhere we went was uniformly excellent. Only exception was a place right across the street from the train station - we ate there because it was open on Sunday afternoon. So stay away from that one building (it's like a mini mall inside).
Can't help you with food fests. But definitely buy as big a block of parma reggiano as you can afford and munch on that and a local salame with some prosecco.