“Home” to Bologna


“Home” to Bologna

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

On Sunday we boarded a Frecciabianca (white arrow) train back to Bologna. There are the Frecciarossa, Frecciaargenta and Frecciabianca. The Red Arrow train is a “bullet train” in the Japanese parlance. They have such high speed trains in Europe but of course we don’t have them here. I took the Frecciarossa to Torino once from Bologna and loved the in-car display that informed you that you were were moving forward at 300 km/hr (185 mph). Well they don’t have the high speed rail infrastructure in the south so there it the Frecciabiana. It has the comfort of the high speed trains and stops at a lot fewer stops so shaves the time from Bari to Bologna from 7 hours to 5 ½. Karen convinced me that it was worth the extra fare and she was so right.

Once in Bologna we had to collect a smallish suitcase and some other stuff from Roberto’s place, bring it back to the waiting taxi and continue on to Cesarina’s place (my home away from home). All done and we went for aperitivo near porta Saragozza. We walked the half mile or so and found that a bar near the porta had an incredible buffet for aperitivo. There must have been at least 10 things to choose from, all of them tasty.

The next day was the last chance to see a couple of friends. We met Jessica and Gianluca in the center of town and went for coffee. Gianluca speaks excellent english but Jessica speaks almost none. Interestingly enough she claims to understand it very well which is quite the opposite from me. I speak Italian reasonably well but don’t understand the spoken word nearly as well. In any case we had a good time and then went on to our other meeting with Gaudio. Gaudio also speaks english well so we had another good conversation. All of my friends are different but all are interesting and I enjoy being with them.

Il Sangiovese interior

Il Sangiovese interior

Dinner was at a place that I (and Gaudio) had never heard of – a restaurant named Sangiovese, near Porta Castiglione and inside the walls. I had found it on the web and it was well reviewed. Gaudio was a bit skeptical but used his usual method for judging the validity of on-line reviews. If there are LOTs of yelp comments and the majority of positive it is usually pretty good. It weeds out the cranks and shills. It was indeed a great meal. The highlights for me were two. First, they offered a pasta with white truffles at a non-exorbitant price. Well, it was 20 euros when most of the pastas were less than 10 but white truffles are incredibly expensive and I had just about given up on ever tasting them so I went for it. They really have an almost hypnotic earthy aroma and are served one something very plain, in this case fresh pasta with little else on it – think just some butter and a little cheese. I don’t know that I’ll be so extravagant again but it was a sublime experience. Karen had the tortellini in brodo which was perfect since the weather was starting to get a little crisp. They did a very good rendition of it there and it is such a bolognese classic that I’m really glad that she was able to sample some when it was done really well.

Pasta with white truffles

Pasta with white truffles

totellini in brodo

totellini in brodo

The other high point was the bottle of a regional sangiovese riserva superiore (I think). Usually we just would get the house wine that comes in a decanter (which is usually pretty darned good) but we paid 18 euros for a terrific bottle of wine. I couldn’t help imagining what a restaurant bottle of such a wine would be here in the U.S. – probably triple the price as is the U.S.custom (unfortunately).

A grappa and coffee ended the very pleasant evening and we were ready, reluctantly to leave the next day.

 

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