We were excited to visit this beautiful city, not only because we were looking forward to tasting its delicious food and exploring a new part of the country, but also because we were meeting my best bud, Sera and her new fiance Martin there. After a lunch filled with glorious truffles and ravioli, we wandered the streets of Bologna taking in sights like the Asinelli Tower, Piazza Maggiore, and the Neptune Fountain, as well as indulging in the wine and food from the Emilia Romagna region of Italy.
|Church in Bologna|
|A small waterway|
During our second day in Bologna we went on a private food and wine tour of the region. After our guide picked us up very early in the morning, we went to a Parmesan cheese factory out in the Reggio Emilia region. Here, we watched the daily process of making Parmesan cheese straight from the cows, along with a taste of the final product at the end (aged 15 months). Yum!
|From left to right: Morgan our tour guide, Sergio the cheese-maker, Jon, me, Martin, Sera.|
Next we went to the home of a traditional balsamic vinegar producer in the area. Traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena is made only from the Emilia Romagna region, is aged at least 12 years, and is different from the balsamic vinegar of Modena label that we often see. The two are distinct products in their manufacturing, composition, and price. After a tour of the facilities and an explanation of the process we tasted six different traditional balsamic vinegars. We could definitely tell the difference between the traditional and the other balsamic vinegars; they were thicker, creamier, richer, and much more expensive!
|A centuries old tree.|
|The attic of the traditional balsamic vinegar maker's house|
The final stop was our wine tasting at a vineyard in the region. The owner (whose real name we never found out, only that he wanted us to call him Jim because his favorite singer is Jim Morrison) showed us the vineyards. We tasted 8 (or 9?) wines and he did not skimp! He poured the wine so high in the glasses that it became more of a wine party than a tasting. Welcome to the wine tasting world in Italy!
|In the beginning, before the really full glasses of wine...|
|A little while later with Morgan, the driver, and Jim.|
|Wearing our free t-shirts! Things escalated pretty quickly!|
Jon and I definitely could have used another day in Bologna and we would love to go back again, which is highly doable since it is only a three hour high-speed train ride from Naples. We took advantage of the fantastic food opportunities in the region while being able to enjoy the city itself. The people are so friendly, they seem to enjoy life, and are respectful of things and people around them (the opposite of Naples). The weather is great, and the food is fabulous. It's one of those cities that we could see ourselves living in or around and it got us thinking yet again... can we please live here?