13 Tasty Bologna Food You Need to Try

bologna food

While not as popular as other Italian cities, Bologna’s cuisine is unrivaled in terms of quality and variety. What kind of meals can you expect to find on the menu? In Bologna, cured meats, salty cheeses, handmade pastas, hearty meat sauces, and, of course, gelato are all quite popular. Even better, there is a “food theme park” where you can sample and savor all of Italy’s cuisines if that wasn’t enough. In terms of gastronomic travel, this region’s cuisine is unequaled anywhere else in the world. It should come as no surprise that most Italians refer to Bologna as “the fat one.”

Bologna’s well-known delicacies are the consequence of a rich culinary tradition that has had a significant impact on the entire country’s cuisine. During your vacation, you should try a range of different Bologna food. Historical records of the city’s culinary achievements date back to at least the Middle Ages, with manuscript records dating back to the 16th century recounting the astounding creations of innovative cooks. The origins of this long-lasting product history can be traced back to a nomadic lifestyle in the mountains. A growing number of food enthusiasts from around the world are flocking to Bologna to sample the unique specialties and rich flavors offered on your Italy tour. Here are some of the best types of Bologna food to try!

Parmigiano Reggiano

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Image credits: La Cucina Italiana

Parmigiano Reggiano is a famous cheese that is made solely of milk, salt, and rennet, with no other ingredients. Due to its nutritious content and long history, which dates back to Benedictine monks in the 12th century, Italians call it the king of Italian cheeses. People often leave it to age for about 36 months and they regard it as the best cheese in the world. It goes well with vegetables, fruits, honey, meats, seafood, nuts, and balsamic vinegar since the flavors of the cheese completely depend on the age period that the cheese.

You can only produce Parmigiano Reggiano in the Italian regions of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Bologna (west of the river Reno), Modena, and Mantua (areas south of the river Po). In Italy, people often eat the rich, salty flavor as a snack or as part of a bigger meal.

Bolognese Sauce

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Image credits: The Socialiga

In Bologna, the thick and hearty Bolognese sauce, which is people also know as ragù, is iconic. The meal originated in France, where it was served with sauces made from animal broth rather than actual meat. Some Italians served this first meat sauce over pasta in Imola, near Bologna, in the 18th century. Italians use sweating, sautéing, and braising to create traditional rag alla Bolognese, which is consist of beef, pork, or veal, wine, tomato, and stock. With a dash of milk, the aromas in the sauce simmer for hours, resulting in authentic odors, a delicate flavor, and a creamy texture.

Prosciutto di Parma

Prosciuto di Parma
Image credits: Smart Travel to Italy

Parma ham is a salt-cured raw ham that is aged for at least 12 months before being sold. It is a well-known international export from the region. According to historical records, this method of preserving ham has been in use in Italy for at least 2000 years. You can only make Prosciutto di Parma DOP in Parma, despite the fact that you can make the cured ham everywhere. The ham’s aging process and development of tastes are depends on the environment that exists in the location.

Each manufacturer has some control over the amount of salt utilized throughout the salting process. By using less salt, it is possible to obtain a sweeter ham flavor. Ruliano uses less salt and features a computer-controlled drying room with ventilation that opens and closes based on the optimal weather conditions outside, according to the company’s website.

Tortellini in Brodo

Image credits: The Skinny Fork

Bologna’s packed fresh pasta varieties are probably the most well-known of the city’s offerings. Tortellini comes from the Italian word “torta,” which means “pie.” Tortellini is a small pasta pie since the letters “ini” signify “tiny.”

Italians mostly serve Tortellini “in brodo,” which translates to “in broth.” This leaves you with delicious little porky salt bombs, saturated in umami-rich liquids and nourishing the soul with each spoonful.

According to legend, Tortellini’s oblong shape is said to have been inspired by the goddess Venus’s naval. During her stay in Bologna, Italy, the innkeeper allegedly kept an eye on her through the room’s keyhole. Afterwards, he ran to the kitchen and made a batch of pasta in the shape of her gorgeous belly button.


Image credits: Desert Carts

Culatello is one of the most expensive hams available anywhere in the world. Italians solely produce it in the area surrounding the Po River in the northern region of the province of Parma. The fog rising from the river produces a ham unlike any other on the market.

Piadina Romagnola FlatBread

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Image credits: Stephanias Kitchenette

Although Emilia Romagna is popular for its fresh pasta varieties, did you know that the region also has an ancient flatbread that the European Union granted IGP certification? If you haven’t heard of it, it’s called a sourdough flatbread.

According to archeological finds, the Etruscans began manufacturing piadina bread in the region as early as 1,200 BC. The classic recipe would have consist of ground grain, water, salt, and sometimes oil. Back in 1371, they made it using wheat, salt, water, and chunks of milk or fatty fat, among other things.

Squacquerone di Romagna

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Image credits: Formaggiastic

The “Squacquerone” cheese, which is nearly impossible to pronounce, is a great addition to your piadina bread. Squacquerone with cabbages and piadina was, in fact, a traditional regional meal that dates back centuries.

Basically, it’s like a cream cheese-y yogurt-creaminess without the acidity and with a wonderful salty creaminess in its place. Italians can only make this product, another DOP, using whole milk from the region, including the provinces of Ravenna, Forl-Cesena, Rimini, Bologna, and a portion of the province Ferrara.


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Image credits: Vecchia Malga

Tortellini’s older sister, tortelloni, is another excellent type of fresh pasta to try out this season. Tortelloni are not only larger, but their stuffing consist of cheese rather than pork, making them a healthier option. Egg, parsley, and nutmeg are among the other ingredients that make up this dish. The main ingredients are ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses. Some chefs make use of lemon juice. In addition to a butter and sage dressing, most Italian chefs top-up the tortelloni with plenty of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Salad and burro: A buttery sofrito filled with tomato and sage is a popular Bologna food (onion, celery, carrot).


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Image credits: Bologna Tour

Passatelli, on the other hand, is a pasta that is completely different from the others. Instead of flour, Italians use breadcrumbs as the foundation of the recipe. They mixed eggs, nutmeg, parmesan cheese, and lemon zest with breadcrumbs to make a delicious sauce.

Passatelli is a typical winter meal from Emilia Romagna that Italians serve with a tomato sauce. Some chefs sometimes serve it with a butter and sage dressing in the summer rather than in broth, which is more appropriate for the warmer months. Many restaurants, on the other hand, do not serve it during the summer months.

Gramigna alla Salsiccia

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Image credits: Il Giornale del Cibo

It is the least well-known of the Bologna pastas in terms of global recognition, but it is extremely prevalent on Bologna menus — and for a good reason. Gramigna is a short, thin tube of pasta that originates in Emilia Romagna. The word “salsiccia” literally translates as “sausage.” The Bolognese salsiccia serves as a reminder of Bologna’s long-standing affection for pigs. This isn’t mortadella, but rather a typical pork sausage made with ground pork. The sausage, however, is anything but ordinary in terms of flavor, and I can assure you that. When paired with a thick Bolognese sauce, it creates a mind-blowing Bologna food for this meal.

Zuppa Imperiale

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Image credits: Il Romagnolo

Italian chefs add a baked semolina dough with parmigiano reggiano cheese and butter to the conventional version, which they then cook in broth with cubed mortadella until the dough is golden brown. Another approach is to incorporate minced mortadella into the semolina mixture before baking it.

Tagliata di Manzo

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Image credits: Sale & Pepe

Tagliata is an Italian phrase that refers to excellent cutting. Manzo beef is the name most Italian call this type of beef. It is possible that this Bologna food originated in Florence, according to several internet sources. In Bologna, on the other hand, it can be found on many different menus.

Despite the fact that it is available with a variety of toppings, the version with balsamic vinegar, shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, cherry tomatoes, and arugula makes the most of the two most well-known local ingredients: balsamic vinegar and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano The combination of premium balsamic vinegar and cheese, as well as meat, is a smashing success!

Lasagna Verdi Alla Bolognese

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Image credits: Splendid Table

Lasagna is one of those traditional Italian dishes for which every Italian family has its own unique recipe, which can be prepared in advance for special events to wow family and friends. It’s made with a creamy white besciamella sauce and a robust Bolognese ragù sauce, which you probably remember from Tagliatelle alla Bolognese, among other things.

The Lasagna Verdi Alla Bolognese, which is served in Bologna, is a popular dish. Because of the green spinach pasta, this Lasagna is a little more bright than other Lasagna recipes. Consider this: all of that meat and cheese, plus a vividly colored pasta that is actually a vegetable! What a combination!

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