CHEF CONCIERGE • July 2018
A notoriously tough cookie in the kitchen and the authority on authentic Emilia-Romagna cuisine, Michelin-starred Angela Hartnett is renowed for clever, comforting dishes inspired by her Italian heritage. Taking a moment from running her acclaimed Murano and Cafe Murano restaurants, she shares where to eat in beautiful Bologna
The space at Caminetto d’Oro (above) is stark and simple, and the menu traditional but with a modern twist. The food is lighter than traditional Bolognese cuisine but still incredibly tasty; you’ll find dishes such as pappardelle with a boar meat sauce and passatelli with Parmesan and marzuolo white truffle.
Trattoria Anna Maria has been around forever and a day and is the place for Bolognese classics such as tortellini in crema, baked lasagne and gnocchi with gorgonzola and pine nuts. It’s full of locals and you get the sense they’ve been coming here for decades. I like the fact that it feels a little old-fashioned.
Bologna’s markets are great for grazing. I like Mercato delle Erbe, a covered square market packed with stalls run by local producers. They all have something delicious to nibble on – panini, some prosciutto (local ham) or mortadella – anything with pig in is a good bet.
Le Stanze (below) is a bar with a difference, as it used to be a chapel. The walls and high ceilings are covered with intricate frescoes painted hundreds of years ago, and with its soft lighting it’s a good place for a traditional spritz in romantic surroundings.
Eataly started out in New York, but there is one in Bologna now – it’s a fantastic next-level supermarket experience where you can find all of Italy under one roof, with mozzarella-making demonstrations and tasting workshops. Another quirky trip is to visit the Gelato Museum. Set up by Carpigiani, the renowned Italian ice-cream machine maker, it covers the history of the sweet stuff, but you can also make (and taste) your own.
It has to be balsamic vinegar from nearby Modena, where it’s traditionally made, and exquisite. Choose the oldest you can afford and make sure it pours out thickly – the texture and flavour will be quite unlike the bottles you’ll find masquerading as balsamic vinegar in your supermarket back home.
Again, make for Modena, about half an hour away. For a once-in-a-lifetime meal, if you can get a table, Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana (above) is a must. The food respects the area’s heritage – there’s an amazing dish of Parmesan five ways where cheeses are crafted into hot, cold, soft, crunchy and creamy elements in one clever dish. Plus the famous Oops! I dropped the Lemon Tart – a deconstructed take on the classic dessert. Another Modena favourite is Hosteria Giusti a family-run affair in an old butcher’s shop. Tortellini en brudo, meat-filled pasta in a meat broth, is something I was raised on and this is the most delicious version of it I’ve found.