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Oct 15, 2013 09:33 AM

Buying Cheese to take home in Bologna

I am in Italy now, traveling from Mantova to Alba to the Cinque Terre. Having a wonderful time and great food. I will be flying out of Bologna, and would like to bring some cheeses back with me. I will be in Bologna for a day before my flight. I do have access to a car and would like to know a good place to buy some hard cheeses. Things like Parmagiano Reggiano, Pecorino Romano and others. Any ideas?

Thanks in advance.



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  1. Are you bringing it back to the US? Are you sure you're allowed? Or are you going to take a chance?

    2 Replies
    1. re: ttoommyy

      You are allowed. Any cheese that is aged over 60 days can be brought in legally. So any hard aged cheese are permitted. No soft chesses like ricotta or fresh fruits, vegetables or meat are permitted.

      1. re: Scooter22

        That's good to know, as we are travelling in Italy right now. Thank you Scooter22!

    2. I expect you will need to purchase your cheese in a vacuum sealed package.

      Tamburini is certainly the best known deli in Bologna, although some say it has become overrun with tourists.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DavidT

        Small note..whether or not a cheese has been vacuumed packed has no bearing on whether ot not it can be legally brought into the US.

      2. DavidT mentions Tamburini, which is a wonderful deli. Across the street is Eataly, but I think their prices are very high. All along the same street are many wonderful shops where you can purchase cheese. Also, cross Via Rizzoli and walk down Via Oberdan. Shortly after the Hotel Corona D'Oro, is another wonderful deli, heavily patronized by locals. Ask that the cheese be vaccuum packed, they are accustomed to this and it is no problem at all.

        1. Can anyone tell me where to purchase cheese and have it vacuum packed in Parma or Reggio Emilia? I have the same question but may not be in Bologna.

          7 Replies
          1. re: JazzyK

            just to comment that if you are finishing your trip in Piemonte (I forget your itinerary) you might want to wait til the end of the trip to buy your cheese, if you are looking for a cut of high quality aged or red cow parmigiano, for example. You certainly will be able to find it at a shop in Alba, Asti etc for example. If emilia is the last area you are visiting, thats another story again.

            1. re: jen kalb

              That's a good point. Yes, we are finishing our trip in Piemonte, but I was thinking that Parma would be a great place to buy cheese, for obvious reasons. I am considering buy a small cooler (or bringing one) so that we can carry a few items with us. But then again, that might not happen, so buying cheese on one of our last days may be a better idea.

              1. re: JazzyK

                It may be enjoyable to shop in Parma - such a great food town, but parmigiano reggiano is an important food item all over northern italy - you really will be able to find good specimens as well as fine cheeses which are not as readily obtainable back home later in your trip. Im sure that seasoned visitors to Piemonte can suggest some reliable gastronomia or other cheese seller - surely you will want to try the local cheeses there

                1. re: jen kalb

                  For us, by far the best cheese store in Piemonte is Giolito in Bra. We've never seen anything close. He used to sell at the Saturday Alba market, but perhaps not anymore. In addition to his shop, he sells at the Friday market in Bra which IMO is much better than Saturday in Alba

                  1. re: allende

                    And bonus, if you make it to Bra and Giolito's and he's not super busy, you could ask to see his museum downstairs. A mix of an aging room and cheesemaking/selling memorabilia from the past 100 years or so, mostly from his family.

                    1. re: culinas

                      We will definitely check out Giolito's when we are in Bra. Thanks!

                2. re: JazzyK

                  looking forward to vicariously experiencing your trip- do enjoy the moscato grapes and abate pears that are now in season!