Mercato delle Erbe


Mercato delle Erbe

Friday, April 15th, 2016

This the largest covered market in Bologna. You can find just about anything that you’d like to eat here at good prices and good quality. I didn’t count the number of vendors but there must be at last 25 or 30. Vegetable, fruits, meats, cheeses, fish, bread, spices are all available from friendly vendors. There are also two areas that serve food for lunch pizza, panini, pastries and of course a coffee bar. There’s an additional area with fish that also is a fish restaurant. I have my favorite vendors. The herb (and lots of other stuff) guy is the only place I’ve found where you can buy bulk products; rice for risotto, polenta and even herbs (minimum quantity 10 grams – for about 50 cents).

The herb guy and I think that's his father.

The herb guy and I think that’s his father.

Bulk rice, polenta, beans etc.

 Bulk rice, polenta, beans etc.

Next on the agenda pork chops for guests this weekend. So now I stop at the butcher shop where I bought a lamb roast for Easter and a chicken to make broth for tortellini in brodo (fantastic dish here). They seem to have good prices and always give advice about how to cook things.

The butcher

     The butcher

The next stop was for tarallini. I always buy a couple of packages. I joke with the guy that I’m addicted to tarallini – and it’s true. Great with beer! So what are tarallini? They are these little thingies that are first boiled and then baked. They come usually in 3 flavors; olive oil, onion and peperoncini.

 tarallini

     tarallini

 

My tarallini guy.

              My tarallini guy.

Now on to my favorite salumi person – Francesca who operated this little space with her husband. She says “Ciao Caro” or “Cara” depending on whether a man or woman. Kind of like a waitress in a small town that calls everyone “Hon”. She has good products and sucks everyone in with her friendly personality a lot of taste samples that she offers. So this time I was buying some of her mortadella, a Bologna specialty.

Francesca in action

          Francesca in action

Her husband took a photo of the two of us,

         Her husband took a photo of the two of us

On to my favorite cheese guy. He introduced Karen and I to quartirolo, a cheese similar to feta but not salted and made in Lombardia. Another time I heard him telling a woman about how to make simple pasta dish with ricotta so I bought some and gave it a try. One note: ricotta does not keep well so use it you’ll have to toss it after just a few days. Of course here you can buy only as much as you need. The last time I bought some of the fantastic, creamy gorgonzola that they have here. I’ll surely miss that when I return to California.

Mr Cheese

                    Mr Cheese 

The last stop was for some veggies. Today that included blood oranges, fennel, eggplant and tomatoes. I admit to not being quite as loyal regarding vegetables and fruit because sometimes a different vendor has better products of on type or another that I’m searching for but most of the time I buy them here.

My preferred veggie stand

          My preferred veggie stand

I must show at least one photo of the fantastic strawberries that they have here now. Mostly they are coming from the south – often advertised as from Sicily or Basilicata which must be a sign of quality. I’ve eaten them earlier during this trip but they were not as good. Now they are really in season and are just incredible. Don’t miss the change to eat a bunch of these if you are here in April of May.

STRAWBERRIES!!

        STRAWBERRIES!! – they deserve capital letters.

Now just a few photos of other locations in the market……………..

Mostly fruit and vegetable vendors in the center of the hall - I think 4 rows of them if you count these as two.

     Mostly fruit and vegetable vendors in the center of the hall – I think 4 rows of them if you count these as two.

The lunch area was mostly closed but you can see the longish pizzas prepped to the right

Pizza crusts awaiting for action

         Pizza crusts awaiting for action

The fish market

       The fish market

The other side of the room. I've yet to arrive here for a seafood lunch but hope to do so before I leave.

            The other side of the room. I’ve yet to arrive here for a seafood lunch but hope to do so before I leave.

Well, that’s it. Definitely worth a stroll if you’re ever in Bologna. If in the spring, buy a little basket of strawberries, find a place to sit and eat the whole thing.

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4 Responses to “Mercato delle Erbe”

  1. Ellie Says:

    I did shopping there always and I miss there very much.

  2. Joe Says:

    Yes, it’s great. I’ve also recently discovered a permanent street market on Piazza Aldrovandi. I don’t know why it’s named a Piazza since it seems like a street to me. It’s pretty good and closer to where I live but nothing I’ve found compares to Mercato delle Erbe.

    So when are you coming back to Bologna?

    Joe

  3. Ellie Says:

    I have been back to BO last October and visited the teachers in ALCE. Hope I can stay longer this year.

  4. Joe Says:

    I was here! Sorry that I missed you. Let me know if you plan to return and maybe I’ll be here at the same time.

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