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Food of Bologna - The Bolognese Food Guide

Bologna is a first step to the remarkable cuisine of the Emilia Romagna. The assortment of cuisine in Emilia Romagna is so vast that we cannot cover all of them here. The enormous cuisine consists of fresh egg-based pasta such as tagliatelle, tortellini and authentic mortadella often served in a ragú which should be in your list of top 5 must tries. Bologna is also known for producing wonderful lasagnas and marvellous gelato. Food lovers from around the globe visit Bologna during their tour in Italy to experience first-hand unique Bolognese flavours.

Bologna has nearly the most fertile soil in Italy, in fact, in all of Europe that is brilliant for producing staple ingredients like potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, plums, red cherries, juicy apples, pears, sugar beets, soft peaches, apricots, a diversity of mushrooms known for their pleasing aroma and sweet-smelling flavours including the elusive white truffle from the Bolognese hills.

Likewise, Bologna is recognized to produce a wide array of honey, like acacia, chestnut, and millefiori, cereals, different types of wheat and oats, milk, corn, onions, plenty of chestnuts, stellar asparagus, and a variety of grapes for both grappas—like the Pignoletto—and wine—such as Lambrusco and the Saslá grape.

Some of the most favoured Bolognese dishes

o Tortellini

o Lasagna

o Mortadella di Bologna

o Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

The structure of a full Bolognese meal typically consists of:

Antipastocommonly an appetizer comprising of Mortadella, Proscuitto and cheeses, vegetables or cold seafood items

Primo – includes short curly pasta with sausage ragú

Secondo incorporates meatballs and vegetables and a range of meats simmered in a garlic sauce

Contorno – a platter of tasty seasonal vegetables

Dolci sweet ravioli stuffed with plum jam and dipped in red wine is a famous Bolognese dessert noticed in this course


Residents in Bologna usually enjoy a light cornet with their preference of coffee for breakfast, whilst standing at the bar of their neighbourhood café. Customarily, frothy/milky drinks like cappuccino or latte macchiatos are relished in the morning. The pastry is generally sweet to balance the slight bitterness from the coffee and is also the most typical breakfast in Bologna. Sometimes, all you need is a shot of espresso with crispy biscotti for a humble and satisfying combination.


For a very long time, an amusing agrarian custom of ‘pausa pranzo’ or lunch break prevailed which ensured the closing of businesses between 1 pm to 3 pm. Although it has changed as the office goers nowadays prefer quick meals rather than nourishing ones. Significant lunches comprise of first courses with a grain-like pasta or rice, and the second course contains protein like meat, fish, or poultry, and a side dish consisting of vegetables or fruits. In Bologna and across Italy, most of the school children have a break allowing them to go home for lunch.


Delicious snacking options in Bologna include pane con la mortadella—a classic small sandwich of paper-thin mortadella and wonderful tigelle—a typical flatbread around the Apennine Mountains and stuffed with pesto, marmalades, or chocolate spreads. Another favourite snack is Merenda which in Italian translates to mid-afternoon snack, an irresistible tradition in a country known for its culinary delights. The word comes from the Latin verb “merere,” meaning deserve, developing to indicate a meal for “those deserving of the food,” such as children home for school, hard workers, and those ready to take out a few minutes in a day to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.


Cotoletta petroniana is a typical breaded veal or chicken dish from Bologna baked in a meat broth and served with a slice of ham and topped with Grana cheese shavings.

Tagliatelle with ragú, traditional egg-based pasta topped with a rich stew of mixed ground beef and cooked for several hours with white wine, butter, carrots, celery, and onion, is also popular.


Bologna desserts concentrate on sweet treats like gelato, cake, and pastries often topped by seasonal, locally sourced fruits to please the taste buds. Coffee is taken with dessert to act as a digestive, but Bolognese, and Italians as a whole, generally avoid milk coffees during or after their meals. Apart from the globally renowned gelato, the list of beloved desserts in Bologna consists of the sweet rice cake made with caramelized sugar, vanilla, almonds, liquor, and lemon peel, as well as mostarda Bolognese, a prune jam mixed with quince often used as a filling or a spread.


Source(s): zicasso, foodfuntravel

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