May 13, 2017
Oh, Bologna! What have you done to me?
You had me the minute I stepped up to the counter at that busy neighborhood café and ordered an espresso - it was deep, deep brown with notes of bitter chocolate and had the perfect amount of chestnut colored crema on top.
I ordered a prosciutto panino alongside and once I took a sip and then a bite, I was hooked.
Then I asked for the bill. The total came to €2.30.
I had to look again.
Only €2.30? For a perfect espresso and a prosciutto di Parma sandwich?
How soon can I move?
Then of course, there is the gelato.
Have you ever tasted salted pistachio gelato? Not just pistachio, but salted pistachio?
It will change your life (kind of like Normandy salt butter, of which I'm sure Italy has its own version). But so will the fresh strawberry gelato (in season). The pine nut and mascarpone. The hazelnut. The sour cherry. The dark chocolate. The Sicilian lemon.
Basically, you just want give up every other kind of food and only eat gelato. Forever.
Until you have the pasta.
And the pizza.
I haven't even mentioned the gorgeous seasonal fruit and vegetables yet. Have you ever seen such beautiful tomatoes? Or wild asparagus at such a reasonable price?
And those little peppers pack some serious heat!
Let's not forget the cheese. This is Parmigiano-Reggiano country, after all.
But Italy has much, much more to offer when it comes to formaggio. They claim to produce over 450 varieties - my kind of place!
This list of deliciousness wouldn't be complete without mentioning proscuitto di Parma, cured sausages and mortadella, which originated in Bologna.
I savored all of it, maybe a little too much! My jeans were uncomfortably tight by the end of the trip.
Now that I'm back in France and diving into the seasonal chèvre, the brie - which is so perfect right now - and enjoying a daily baguette, I know that I would long for these delicious French foods if I lived in Italy.
So I'll try to visit as often as possible, leaving plenty of room in my luggage.
This time I brought home 2.5 kilos of Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of bottles of Balsamico di Modena and a ridiculous amount of Calabrian chiles.
That should hold us...for a while.