Tuesday is the local market day in the small town near the farm where we are staying—Borgo San Lorenzo—so we decided that we would start with the local market in town, then drive to Bologna for lunch and then come back and cook at the farm house. Unlike in the cities where the markets are open every day, in the small towns in Italy, there is usually only one market day and all the vendors come in to display their wares. There are vendors for everything—shoes, clothes, house wares, vegetables, fruits, a butcher, a fish monger, the cheese guy, and lots of others. I made a beeline for the Porchetta Vendor. Usually a whole hog is boned and rolled and roasted in anticipation of selling it all by the slice or the sandwich during the 6 or so hours of the market.
This is what it looked like. Now, how can you resist that? We bought several slices that we would warm and have for dinner tonight. The booths are small and specialized. This is the booth with the porchetta.
Some are like catering trucks, like this cheese vendor.
We spent a lot of time at the local market just looking at all of the great things that were available. We bought what we needed for dinner and then set out for Bologna—about an hour’s drive from Borgo San Lorenzo. It is a good thing that we also rented a GPS—it directs us right to where we need to go. In Italy, the streets signage and directions are not as pronounced as in the US and you can really get lost (now that would be an understatement). I programmed the GPS to take us the tourist information office in Bologna, and about an hour later we had arrived in the city and were winding our way through the narrow streets of the old part of city. We were just going by what the GPS was telling us turning
down one street, then baring left into another, trusting that the device would get us there. All of a sudden we found ourselves on Piazza Maggiore—Bologna’s major square, about the size of 3 football fields. Now this would not have been so bad, except for the fact that it is a pedestrian square. There we were among all of the tourists winding our way around the square, trying to find an exit for the car. At some point I do recall passing the tourist information office on the square. For about a nano second there was not a cop around–usually the carabinieri (the cops) are parked in the square just watching for any trouble—or idiots trying to drive on a pedestrian square. It was around lunch time, so maybe they were on their lunch break. Nevertheless, it felt like we were in the middle of a Fellini film-one of the crowd scenes with 3 or 4,000 people. We finally drove off the curb to the blaring of taxi cab horns, and the gesturing of the drivers. By a small miracle, we found a parking garage.
I knew that there was a tangled net of old streets just adjacent to the Piazza Maggiore that are food shopping streets. First we were gonna eat. We found an enoteca (Wine bar, just on the edge of the market. Since we were in Bologna, we began with Culatello di Zibello. Culatello is the heart of of the prosciutto, and before it is cured, it is soaked in white wine for a week. Check out the marbling.
Of course, because we were in Bologna, we had to eat Lasagna Bolognese…
This really is melt in your mouth good. And typical of Bologna, they use spinach flavored pasta. With this, I had a great Rose from Emilia Romana. You will also notice that the lasagna is not as tall as what you find in the states and a much bigger slice. This is probably the best way to serve the lasagna, because it does not dry out. It was only about an inch thick, by about 4 or 5 inches square. Maybe 3 layers total. Coupla coffees and we were on our way to check out the markets.
One thing is certain, the Bolognese know how to eat. Everywhere we turned was a fabulous food shop. You cannot swing a stale baguette without hitting something good to eat. The shopkeepers are very proud of their wares, and the stores are spotless.
Bologna is famous for food, most especially the filled pastas— tortellinis, tortellonis, raviolis, you name it. Many of the gourmet shops have them in many flavors and you buy them by the kilo.
I was getting giddy just looking at the choices!
These shops are just amazing. This photo below is of large slabs of lardo. They cure it lashed to tree branches—one to keep the whole lardo straight, and the other reason is to give it some other flavor.
Of course, you will find the best prosciutto in Bologna, because prosciutto was born in Parma, not far away. And they take their pork very seriously here.
Salamis are everywhere, every differ size and shape and flavor:
The butcher shops are immaculate, they will even tell you how to cook something and what to go with it!
These are skewers, ready for the BBQ:
The fruits and vegetable stands are also amazing:
Check out these basket tomatoes:
We got everything that we needed for a feast and set out for home to have dinner. All in all a pretty good day, if you forget about the part where we found ourselves in a car on Piazza Maggiore.