“When you hear talk of Bolognese cuisine, give it the reverence it’s due” Pellegrino Artusi – 1891
For centuries, Bologna has been renowned for good culinary taste and gastronomic excellence! It’s no accident that the first “mention” of Mortadella was in Bologna, and harked back to Roman times no less! Indeed, Mortadella was the first food product in history ever to be granted a kind of protected status, with Cardinal Farnese’s ahead-of–its-time DOP/IGP decree of 1661!
And in a city so profoundly immersed in academic spirit, how could there not be The Learned Brotherhood of the Tortellino? Since the 1960s, the Brotherhood protects and promotes the most import traditional recipes, which are officially preserved in statute at the Bologna Chamber of Commerce, inside the splendid neogothic Palazzo della Mercanzia (external visit).
If the passion for good food runs deep throughout the city, it’s in the so-called Quadrilatero area that this passion is really on full display. With its labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys, and surrounded by medieval buildings housing (and sometimes hiding!) artisan food shops, historic shops and centuries-old taverns, this corner of the city is always heaving with people.
Along these streets, whose charming names hark back to their trading origins, the delicacies of Bolognese cuisine (and not only) are revealed in all their lavish abundance.
It’s impossible not to be won over by the vivid colours of the fruit and vegetables on display, and by the golden colours of all the fresh pasta on view, such as Tortellini, Tortelloni, Passatelli and Tagliatelle. And in the same vein, the heady mix of the multitude of aromas will leave you feeling just a little woozy: the charcuterie hanging in the shop windows; the ever-present Parmiggiano Reggiano accompanied by a few drops of balsamic vinegar; the fresh fish from the Adriatic.