Bologna home sweet home, a dish of Tagliatelle
Food is always deeply connected to our memories: from dinner with family to the first eating out when teenagers, from travels around the world discovering diverse food cultures to the first cooking experiments when you move for the college. The taste seems to lead the way to our brain... and our heart. It may sound very common, but if we stop for a while thinking about it, we actually realize that the skies of our lives are dotted with a constellation of food memories. We could say that our experiences in life go through our taste buds before being archived into the drawers of memory. As a matter of fact, good smells and flavours colour our best memories, which make our sensory heritage throughout our lives.
A traveller is pretty aware that a journey in a new place shall include a taste stop. Perhaps, that’s the reason why Bologna is recognized as the “fatty” before noticing the red colour of the historical architectures and spotting the several towers hidden in the city center. Bologna, “the fat lady lying on the hills”, welcomes everyone with a warm hug and a typical Italian grandma’s question: “Have you eaten?”. For Italians, that’s feeling at home!
That’s what I also felt when I arrived in Bologna for the first time as a student at the oldest university in Europe. I brought that feeling of “home” in my luggage, that memory of waking up on Sunday morning with the smell of ragu and grandma making pasta in the kitchen. Bologna immediately unveiled its mother-side with its kind invitation to enjoy food as part of experiencing the city itself: I had my first dish of tagliatelle al ragu and… I just fell in love with it! Tagliatelle al ragu is just the perfect blending of Italian flavours you could imagine! A smooth, hand-made dough seasoned with a rich meat sauce… literally divine! Besides, each dish of tagliatelle is still a kind of time machine that, on the one hand, brings me back to the past where I meet my grandma hunched over the cutting board while rolling out the dough for our Sunday’s pasta and, on the other hand, that time machine rootes me to the present where I can experience the same home-taste, although with different ingredients. This makes me feel I can shape my future in this fatty Bologna keeping my home-tradition of Sundays’ home-made food while blending it with the traditional recipes of this cosy city.
By the way, Bologna is in fact named the “fatty” because of its cheerful attitude to fully savour food as sacred shared moments among friends and relatives, rather than because of the rich and fat flavours only. At the end, when travelling never forget to experience with your taste the place where you are and if you are in Bologna, don’t miss its motherly invitation to take a seat, relax and enjoy food. You will have plenty of delicious options that will water you mouth in the red, wise, towered, fatty city, but if you are looking for an Italian-style homely moment in your journey, you shall definitely opt for a dish of tagliatelle al ragu.
Bonus tip: make sure the tagliatella you are eating is the 12,270th part of Torre degli Asinelli as stated by the traditional recipe... and, to make it easier, it shall measure 8mm wide!