My experience of eating in Bologna

published: 6/8/2023 | June 8, 2023

Bologna is one of the food capitals of Italy. And that’s saying something, because, well, Italy It is a food capital in its own right. The city has some of the most protected designations in the country and is quickly becoming a hub for culinary tourism.

And the food is what drew me to Bologna. I went there to eat. Over the years, I’d heard about it from all my friends, so, on my way from Prague to Rome, I decided to stop by and be seen eat for myself.

But where do you start?

As a fan of food tours, I decided to sign up for one via Get Your Guide. These tours help you learn about the area’s unique cuisine and history, all from a local who can tell you about the best places to eat.

Get Your Guide is an activity and experience booking site. Name an experience and have. Think of it like Expedia but for tours and activities.

There are plenty of food tours at Get Your Guide. I went with the 3 hour secret food tour as it had a lot of positive reviews, was served during lunch (at the height of hunger), and seemed to last a long time (value for your money).

What did it look like? Was it worth? I will tell you.

It started in Piazza di Porta Ravegnana, where we were given traditional pastries and an introduction to the tour. Next up was a stroll through the markets just off Via degli Orefici, an area that, despite being in a touristy part of town (next to the main square), is still frequented by locals.

Small pastries on the streets of Bologna, Italy

There we stopped at Osteria del Sole. This affordable wine bar is actually a bar recommended by one of our readers, famous for being around for hundreds of years and allowing people to bring in food from outside. Very popular among the locals. I actually stopped by the night before so it was interesting to go back and find out more about it. (Actually, a lot of food tours stop there, so it’s not exactly a secret.)

Our guide walked across the street to get us a ton of meats and cheeses from the store across the street (the wine bar doesn’t have food). We tried some mortadella, which is the most popular type of sausage in the area, as well as parmesan ham, mild cheese, parmigiana, and another type that I can’t remember. We were off to a good start!

Afterwards, we walked down the back streets to a restaurant, where we had more wine and traditional tortelloni. There we learned the difference between tortellini and tortellini – I honestly had no idea there was a difference. It turns out that the former is made primarily of cheese, herbs, and vegetables, while the latter is packed with meat.

A delicious pasta dish in Bologna, Italy

We also learned that this area serves their own pasta al dent (cooked just enough to retain a somewhat firm texture). I’m not a huge fan of this method, but that’s because I grew up in the middle-class suburbs and got used to overcooked pasta, but nonetheless, it was amazing. We tried some more red wine, and since some on the tour didn’t drink, I happily finished their glasses.

This was also where we really got to sit and chat with our super knowledgeable guide. He moved to Bologna over ten years ago and was really passionate about the city’s culinary scene. It was also good to talk to him about life in Bologna and the rise in tourism (he wasn’t a fan of Airbnb).

Visiting a convenience store as part of a tour of Bologna, Italy

Then we went back to the market from the beginning of the tour to taste the balsamic vinegar. Modena nearby the Spot balsamic vinegar, and no food tour would be complete without some. We’ve tried three: 5 years, 15 years, and 25 years. As balsamic ages, it becomes thicker and more flavorful. Personally, I liked the best 15 years. It just had a better consistency and taste. I found 25 years old very rich.

After that it was gelato time and goodbye. (Honestly, I think all farewells should include gelato.)

Was this the best food tour you’ve been on? No, it was very standard. And I felt like there was a lot of walking between the stations – maybe if they were closer together we could have gone more places. We also finished where we started so it was like going in a circle.

But she gave me everything I wanted, even if it didn’t blow me away.

I left full, which is always the most important aspect of a food tour. In addition, our guide really knew what he was talking about and was extremely passionate about food. He wasn’t going through the motions. He loved to eat!

So, if you are looking to book this food tour, click the link here.

And if you want to know what other tours and activities you can book in Italy, this page has everything you need!

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