Espresso – it seems – is a classless beverage; everyone from business men to the homeless hunt out their fix. It’s not a difficult find given there’s a coffee shop on every corner. Those at work prop up the bars – coffee bars that is – clad in pristine suits with soft shiny shoes, downing shots before tackling their next feat. It seems this is how the Bolognese spend their days. On an average Thursday in mid February, I can only think this is what work means to them, but as an outsider I can only wonder. To me they seem to be working at looking beautiful and chatting vigorously over extended lunches. The Italians have a knack of making life seem
effortless. Coming out of the train station my first impression was similar to that of Naples many years ago – a bit run-down, poorer and less desirable than the guide books describe – but Bologna is a friendlier, softer place than I expected; even with random piles of snow on the ground, there is a warmth to the city. It’s not hard to see why it has been named the city of art 2015; the beauty is on every corner. From the ancient historic sites of the Bologna towers, to the rustic archways and numerous inviting book shops, the place is awash with intrigue.
Ragu is the dish we have been advised to eat and hitting the recommended Cinque 50 we are not disappointed. Al dente tagliatelle – the kind the English attempt to recreate but never quite manage, coupled with just the right amount of saltiness – provides the perfect bite.
Polished off with Mascarpone dessert, the Bolognese version of Tiramisu which is a slightly lighter and creamier form of the classic Italian dish. The warm welcome from the proprietors completes the experience and we realise why the place gets 5 stars.
I can’t help wonder what they think of us English; our harsh dulcet tones and high street dress sense. After a couple of glasses of Chianti I stop wondering and begin pondering what delights the evening will hold…