Food on the Move: A Bologna Street Food Festival

Parco della Montagnola, Charlie’s go-to dog park, is the home of Sapori in Movimento, the Bologna Street Food Festival taking place this weekend. This three-day feast has a fun mix of foods on offer from vegetarian to full-on carnivore. There are also events for the kids during the day and the park itself is just a great place to hang out and chat with friends.

bologna street food festival sapori in movimento

Friday, when the festival started, was unbelievably hot and I feel for everyone who had to be there, especially cooking! Saturday was considerably cooler, though we still waited to stop by in the evening. We’d already eaten, but we took a wander around the park, enjoyed a beer at Clandestino, the new seasonal beer garden, and then chatted with some dog-park acquaintances (their dog is our dog Charlie’s BFF). They also happen to be involved in the organization of the event and the promotion and betterment of the park in general. It was a nice evening out and despite having eaten, the smells permeating the park had me drooling. Charlie showed incredible restraint! He’s such a good boy.

Some of the food available to tempt an array of palates includes crepes, buffalo sausages, and zucchini flowers stuffed with mozzarella and truffle. The line for Porcobrado, which serves up a special type of pig from Tuscany with its own DOP (protected designation of origin) status, was one of the longest lines we saw, though everyone seemed to be doing brisk business. Every sign I saw sounded tempting and, as I said, the aromas filling the park were mouth watering.

porcobrado bologn street food festival

If you’re in town, you can still make it in time to enjoy the new Bologna street food festival. It runs until just before midnight tonight and is worth a visit. Go for an aperitivo, go for dinner, go for dessert, go for drinks. Go just to see the car converted into a grill. Just go!

bologna street food festival sapori in movimento bologna street food festival sapori in movimento

bologna street food festival sapori in movimento

Clandestino, the new beer garden that also serves food (and more than just beer). It remains through the summer.

bologna street food festival sapori in movimento clandestino beer garden

Our Dutch dog wanted a biertje of his own. Sorry, Charlie!

bologna street food festival sapori in movimento clandestino beer garden dog

bologna street food festival sapori in movimento

 

 

Birthday Dinner at Trattoria Serghei

My birthday was this week and that seemed as good an excuse as any to go to dinner at a traditional Bolognese restaurant. After all, la grassa is home to some of the best of Italian cuisine. I had bookmarked an article about some of the restaurants in Bologna that the blogger/professional foodie Curious Appetite had suggested, and G was busy doing his own research. In the end, we decided on Trattoria Serghei on Via Piella. I couldn’t be happier.

After a couple of pre-dinner drinks at Bella Vita near Piazza Maggiore, we took a leisurely walk to Trattoria Serghei and arrived just as they were opening the doors. We’d made a reservation, which I recommend as the restaurant is very small and has maybe 10 tables at best. The decor isn’t trendy, but it does feel a bit like a family dining room and that seems appropriate, as it is a family-run business.

trattoria serghei restaurants in bologna italy

trattoria serghei restaurants in bologna italy

[Speaking of which, despite the name, no, it’s not a Russian family. As I’ve mentioned before, Bologna has a history of communism, though far removed from Soviet communism and not as prevalent now. However, as a result, it’s not completely unheard of to find people with Russian first names or pro-worker ideological names. But anyway, back to the dinner …]

We had already looked at some of the menu options while deciding on which restaurant to try, so we had an idea of what we wanted to order. As we’d been walking over, we’d been debating whether to try the tortellini in brodo and the tagliatelle al ragú or whether to branch out and try something a little different for the first course. After all, those are two of the staples of Bolognese pasta dishes. Although tempted by quite a few other dishes, in the end, we did go with the classics, with G getting the tortellini while I got the tagliatelle. As it turned out, they were excellent choices.

trattoria serghei restaurants in bologna italy tagliatelle al ragu tortellini in brodo

My tagliatelle was much as G makes it — and his is excellent — but thanks to the quality of the ingredients, it was particularly tasty. Full of rich flavor! We’ve been noticing the difference in even the simplest of ingredients since moving here. Just about everything seems to have more flavor. It’s not just great recipes, it’s great ingredients that make many of Italy’s rather simple dishes taste so exceptional. It also means that things will never quite taste the same outside of Italy.

G’s tortellini were equally excellent. The broth had plenty of rich flavor without being overwhelming, and the tortellini were properly al dente and you could really taste the meat in the filling, despite the tiny size. The Bolognese take this dish seriously and G was suitably impressed.

The broth for the tortellini is made from a mix of cuts of meat, and those cuts of meat that have been boiled to make the broth are also eaten. They’re known as bollito misto and are typically served thinly sliced with a green sauce. G’s family does something similar for Christmas and that was the dish that we both wanted for our secondo or main dish. We were both set on that, despite some of the other great offerings. So when it came time to order it, you can imagine how disappointed we were when Serghei said they were out of it. They only make it a couple of times a week and it sells out quickly. *sigh*

Fortunately, they did have the stinco di maiale, essentially a pork shank. That had been my second choice anyway, so we both ended up ordering that. As we waited — though not for long — G was lamenting the lack of bollito misto. He was this close to wailing and gnashing of teeth! Before he started rending his garments, the stinco came and with the first bite, I was in heaven. So tender! So flavorful! Not at all dry. Perfection! My picture doesn’t do it justice, as I essentially got it from the wrong side, but by the end, I was wishing I could start gnawing on the bones to get any last little bits off and then lick the plate like my dog Charlie. I didn’t want to miss a single morsel or drop. As it is, the meat was so tender that it all came off pretty easily and I didn’t really miss anything.

trattoria serghei restaurants in bologna italy stinci di maiale pork shank

To go with dinner, we ordered a bottle of the Donati Teroldego Rotaliano, which is one of G’s favorites. His family has been buying from that maker for years and it went perfectly with all of our dishes.

trattoria serghei restaurants in bologna italy marco donati teroldego rotaliano

In the end, we decided to skip dessert, as we had a cake and some sparkling wine waiting for us at home, but the next time we go, we’ll try one of the desserts as well. We’ll also make sure they have the bollito misto and reserve two orders, just to be on the safe side. After all, if what we had is any indication, the bollito is sure to be fantstic.

If you’re visiting Bologna and want to try an authentic meal from the region, I highly recommend visiting Trattoria Serghei. It’s affordable, delicious, and the menu is in Italian and English (and at least some of the staff speaks English from what I heard).

And now I’m feeling really hungry …

Foto Friday: Cin Cin

drinks aperitivo fabrik bologna

Yay! It’s Friday! Though as a freelance writer, that doesn’t really mean much to me. I’ll be working part of the weekend, though I’m hoping to make it to The Garage Urban Market on Sunday. But still, it is Friday and it’s hard not to feel a little celebratory.

The other week, we stopped at Fabrik for an aperitivo before dinner. They had a decent prosecco and gratis olives and nibbles that were a nice accompaniment, particularly the olives. We sat outside, but the inside looks pretty stylish yet comfortable, and G has already been back to meetup with a friend. It’s also a fun spot for dog watching, although I think most of Bologna is good for dog watching. Dogs of all sizes and breeds are regularly out with their owners for a passeggiata or on their way somewhere. Dog lovers that we are, we can’t help but admire every one we see.

I think tonight we’ll be enjoying our aperitivo at home with our own adorable cane and gatti, but whatever your plans, I hope you enjoy your evening and weekend.

fabrik bologna aperitivo drinks

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Mardi Gras(sa)

Happy Mardi Gras, y’all! Today I find myself thinking a bit about New Orleans and Italy, as well as the nicknames of Bologna: la dotta, la grassa, e la rossa. La dotta, meaning learned one, stems from Bologna being the home of the oldest Western university. La grassa, or the fat one, is thanks to the city’s famously delicious cuisine. La rossa, the red, typically refers to the red roof tiles that cover so much of the city, though the city’s sometimes communist tendencies have occasionally tied in to la rossa, as well.

Lessons Learned

It may have been decades *ahem* years since I last lived in New Orleans, but I will never not love that city. After all, it is often referred to as the most European of all the American cities. I lived there while I was a student at Tulane University, getting my degree in the history of art and trying to become a bit more dotta. It was there that I particularly fell in love with the Italian Renaissance and its architecture.

Italy and New Orleans are all tied up together in my mind in some ways. Such as running under the live oaks on the way to my Renaissance Architecture course to turn in my big paper on rustication that my professor ended up liking so much he asked for a copy. Squeeeeeee! That same professor lived and worked here in Bologna off and on over the years.

Fat Tuesday

I may not be Catholic, or even religious, but between studying so much Italian Renaissance art, as well as living in New Orleans and having a lot of Catholic friends over the years, I’ve learned some of the Catholic traditions, and such. One of which, is Carnevale. It’s not a big deal here in Bologna, the way it is in Venice or New Orleans, but there are still some traditions. In New Orleans, you’ve got King Cake to turn you grassa, because it’s everywhere and absolutely delicious. Here in Bologna, there’s another sweet treat during the season: sfrappole. Sfrappole are thin bits of fried dough coated in powdered sugar and they’re pretty addictive. It’s a common treat during the period leading up to Lent. You’ll find piles of it everywhere from local cafés to the grocery store. Not that it’s purely Italian or even from this region. There are variations found in multiple countries and numerous names even within each country.

mardi gras bologna

Seeing Red

When I get to la rossa, that’s when the comparisons fall apart. The colors I associate with New Orleans, particularly during this time of year, are yellow/gold, green, and purple. Though I suppose there are quite a few red eyes the next morning during the season from staying up late and partying. But for what it’s worth, while writing all of this nostalgic meandering, I have been looking out onto some of the red roofs of Bologna. They’re a nice pop of color on what it turning out to be a grey day.

But returning to la grassa for a moment … I thought about making some gumbo today, but I really like okra in my gumbo and I haven’t found any yet. Does anyone know if there are any shops that sell it here in Bologna? I found it in Utrecht, so I hold out some hope of finding it here. A girl can dream …

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