Sunday, May 9, 2010

Whatever you do, make attention. and eat meat.

on wednesday, we had a free day. i wanted to take advantage and take a day trip somewhere - i thought it would be nice to have some alone time to explore the country. when i woke up though, it was rainy and catherine had sent me a message saying they were taking the 9:44 train to Bologna. so, with no other plans, off we, catherine, lauren, shannon and i, went on a culinary tour of bologna in the rain. our main mission was to find eataly, eat typical bolognese food (spaghetti bolognese does not exist in italy), and to have bologna's oldest (or best?) gelato.

we stumbled upon an indoor market with an overwhelming amount of fruit and vegetable stands - how are you supposed to choose which one to buy from?
what are these vegetables?

we walked by a pasticceria, gaberini, who's window of pastries and cakes enticed our eyes, stomachs, and hearts inside to an impressive display case with mini sandwiches, bite size snacks, little cakes...we were in love. of course, we treated ourselves.

a wonderful amount of flavor combinations in such a tiny little bite! 

we came upon an open piazza with huge buildings, an opera house, a cathedral...snapped some photographs...but we were on a culinary mission - these were for exploring during the next visit to bologna. the little cobblestone streets were packed with little shops with fruits and vegetables pouring out - other americans commented as they walked by, "see, i'm not the only one that likes to take pictures of food." i fell in love with a store called la baita. all the fresh cheese, homemade and dried pastas, cured meats, balsamic vinegars ranging in prices up to hundreds of euro's, truffles in all shapes, sizes, oils, jars, mixes, olives, extra virgin olive oils, wines, and ready to eat prepared food....all the typical foods of emilia romagna of the highest quality. yummmmm. i love living in this food valley.
if i had the wallet or the stomach for it, i would buy and eat everything there (the latter a very plausible possibility...) we eventually stumbled upon eataly..which i have heard a lot about but am still not quite sure what it is. it seemed to us like a book store that sold gourmet food and had a couple cafes and restaurants. i definitely would like to check out the original in turino.
even italy loves jamie oliver. <3

wandering around all the food definitely made us hungry so we went with samara's suggestion to drogeheria della rosa. it was a little place filled with antiques on the wall, old ceramic plates and empty vases lined up on the shelves, bookshelves filled with culinary books - just full of stories. we were greeted with glasses of prosecco and we knew this would be a rip-off place with hidden costs. however, when we turned away a plate of proscuitto, culatello, and mozzarella, the owner immediately came over and after explaining that catherine is a vegetarian and that we eat a ton of cured meats at the university, he understood and came to sit with us, and his own bottle or two of prosecco for the remainder of the meal. he was definitely a highlight of the trip - asking us about the university, his thoughts on slow food and gelato - well, lack of thoughts - his business, his daughter, typical foods and and restaurants in city.

we were recited the menu of the day - each of the pasta plates he described sounded incredible so we each ordered one to share: two cheese tortelli with zucchini flowers, eggplant rollatini topped with tomato and basil, tagliatelli with ragu (aka bolognese sauce), lasagne, and a tagliatelli with wild mushrooms. he actually recommended the lasagne since we definitely wanted the tagliatelli with mushrooms, but brought out the tagliatelli ragu anyways. they were unbelievable. he decided that catherine needed to eat more since she didn't taste the meaty lasagna or ragu so he brought out a zucchini flan smothered with cheese as well as his bistec balsamico - hoping that she would try it. cruncy-almost on the outside, succulently juicy on the inside. perfectly rare. amazing. then he brought out a plate of pickled ramps, wild asparagus, and green tomatoes which were all in his mother's-made extra virgin olive oil from basilicata. we were completely spoiled and stuffed until we couldn't possibly eat anymore, despite his persistent insistency.
my plate of 5 pastas.
i loved the fact that emanuele went shopping everyday and the chef compiled the dishes with those daily ingredients. he bought his meat and fish from two markets on the street we were on earlier, he bought his vegetables from a woman he knew. i loved the fact that he said he didn't care if his 15 year old daughter didn't want to take over his restaurant of 16 years, that he only hoped that she would do what she wanted to do as long as she was good at it and worked hard at it. if she cleaned the streets, and was good at it, she is in a way showing her care for keeping the city clean. he told lauren to "make attention" at what she was doing as to not trip again, and for all of us to make attention at what we do, to enjoy our year here and to take advantage of it. he told catherine to try meat, just once. because she can, because she doesn't have an allergy to it, she shouldn't not eat it. we got hugs and kisses, an extremely discounted bill, and promised a return.
after - maybe - 3 hours of lunch, we left the restaurant to find the sun shining and revealing the city in a different light. i knew i liked bologna in the rain, but the sun confirmed it. it's full of culture, the buildings are beautiful and allude to an enchanting history i would love to learn more about, the old yet preserved surroundings were filled with the energy of plenty of young people, the shopping was certainly tempting and i hope to go back - especially to eat some more. we fulfilled the last of our mission - gelato. the place was filled with slow food presidia sweets and it wasn't as good as other gelato's i've had, but i appreciated the fun in the obscure flavors (i had fennel seed, squash and cinnamon, and sicilian cannoli - just found this article and david lebovitz had the same flavors!). 

1 comment:

linds.eats said...

Eataly in Bologna does not even BEGIN to compare to the original one - it's worth the trip to Torino!!