"Must Haves" in Bologna/ Emilia- Romana
We have just booked a flight to Bologna at the end of October. We plan to spend 4 or 5 days in Bologna. Can I get some recommendations for:
1. Day trips- Modena, Parma etc...
2. Local mom and pop type place/hidden gems.
3. What might be in season then that is a "don't miss' and where to find it.
Any other info you care to share such as hotels, areas to stay etc...
This is our fourth trip to Italy in as many years but this is the first one that truly focuses on food.
I know there are some trip reports on here about Bologna and the region, I just have'nt read them yet. I wanted to get this out there while I was thinking about it.
One of our best meals on our last trip was il bitone. It's a slow-food place just outside of the main square but right on one of the main streets in Bologna. They treated us amazingly and the food was incredible. There was also a serious lack of tourists and alot of locals. Also, you have to go to the world famous italian market/deli Tamburini, which is right in the middle of it all. You'll see alot of info on it out there. It's glorious. We've been to Italy 5 times now and visit our cousins in both northern and southern italy, so know you're in good hands.
From Bologna you can certainly organise day trips either to Modena or to Parma. In Modena if you're interested in cars you can combine a visit to Ferrari/Lamborghini/Ducati etc with a Balsamic Vinegar of Modena - you need to contact www.levolpiciccione.it for this. If you're after a food tour around Parma where you can see the real Parmesan cheese being made, Parma ham, traditional balsamic vinegar and get a chance to taste the local products I would suggest you contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information on what sort of trips you can do. My friends have done both tours mentioned above - the Ferrari day was a delight for my cousin who dedicates most of his life to cars but the real highlight of their holiday here in Emilia Romagna was the food in Parma.
Local (superb) white truffles from the Appenines should be in season. Bologna restaurants will be serving them.
There are Parmigiano Reggiano cheese makers in Bologna province and Traditional Balsamic estates in Modena.
Consider spending some time in un -sung Reggio Emilia which not only has its own excellenyt Traditianal Balsamic, it also has the best Parmigiano Reggiano, made from the milk of the older and original breed of cow: the red coated Reggiana. Reggio Emilia accounts for the second part of the cheese's modern name. In Parma they have gone for black and white Friesan cow, selected for its higher milk yield but lower yield always equates with better quality.
Reggio has many excellent restaurants: mainly locals eat out there, and locals are much more more knowledgable and demanding than visitors!
In Bologna, I recommend the Hotel Porta San Mammolo or the Hotels run by the Bologna Arts Hotels group.
The Guisti food store/deli in Modena is another shrine to the foods of Emilai-Romagna. They are famous for their balsamic vinegars.
They also have a small private dining room (5-6 tables) there that I believe serves lunch only. The food is supposed to be VERY good and you must book in advance. Do a "Search this board" search, as there have been posts here about dining there.