Hitting the ground running, so to speak, I was invited to visit a visiting friend in Bologna, whose hostess – doing some research for her property business – whisked us off into the Apennine countryside to see a few sights before hitting the main event, a truffle (tartufo) festival in Savigno.
Three days of truffles and mulled wine (vin brule/vino caldo) had obviously warmed everyone (and their dog) into a mellow crowd. We wandered around admiring used leather coats, antiques and knick-knacks, truffle spades; little moss thrones and glass domes holding nuggets of black and white truffles; truffle oil, truffle cheese/polenta/rice/you name it, vintage cars, cauldrons of hot wine, caldarroste – ovens of roasting chestnuts, and much else besides. The place was heaving with visitors. And the tables were still, late on the last day, still heaped with cheese, meats, vegetables…
As we wandered, I was introduced to a cook from Centro Natura, a vegetarian restaurant (and much else besides) in Bologna. Must make a visit there. She said they develop the menu each morning, based on the ingredients to hand, and accommodate both celiacs and more relaxed vegetarian diners alike each day.
And tonight I dined at La Filoma in Parma where as we considered the menu we were presented with a glass of prosecco and a plate of airy, crunchy, heavenly cheese fritters, before diving into a warm fish salad (fish, potatoes, courgettes/zucchini, tomatoes) and then (for me) a melting pair of beautifully seasoned pork medallions, and for my dining companion a tender leg of rabbit.