Have just returned from Italy, and had one day in Bologna. We had a wonderful lunch at MELONCELLO, Via Saragozza 240a, followed by the steep climb through 666 porticos to Basilica Sanctuario della Madonna di San Luca (worth doing!) The restaurant was recommended by Fred Plotkin (Italy for the Gourmet Traveller) as well as having been tantalisingly reviewed by Helen Yuet Ling Pang (on this board and also see www.worldfoodieguide.wordpress.com).
We walked in to a very quaint, charming homey trattoria, with checked red tablecloths with white overlay, welcomed by a young man. Rustic charm. Old wine bottles, odd vases, coat racks and dark wooden chairs. Decided WAY too hot to sit in the tiny courtyard, so we sat inside. Only one other table occupied with a group of 6 Italians. We were late. Waiter proceeded to explain to us that there was no menu (ahh real Italy!) and that we could have Fettucine alla Bolognese, Gramigna alla salsiccia (pork sausage sauce), Gnocchi alla pomodoro. Three of us had the fettucine. OMG. Unbelievable. Perfect homemade egg-yellow slippery flat noodles with a Bolognese made (he explained) with onions. bacon, beef and pork, milk and cooked for hours and hours. The waiter added that this sauce needs to be made in a large quantity to work - he had made it at home in a little saucepan, following the proper method and using the same ingredients, and he said it just wasn’t the same! It was not a really wet sauce, nor a dry sauce, no tomato at all, only tasted of meat with just the perfect consistency to cling to the noodles. 2 of the kids had the gnocchi which was also brilliant. Perfect consistency - No gluginess. Light potato clouds!
We saw at the next table a little earthenware bowl filled with some sort of with pasta and meat and asked what it was. It was the special – Gramigna alla Salsiccia, which we promptly ordered. It was absolutely UNBELIEVABLE. See photo below. A little dish of worm-like, curly, thick strands of short homemade pasta with a sauce of pork sausage meat that was absolutely TDF!
Husband ordered a red wine but the waiter suggested that it was too hot for red and what we really needed on such a hot day was a Pignoletto. A somewhat sweet, chilled sparkling wine from the region...PERFECTOMUNDO!
Unfortunately (and I regret this enormously!!!) we did not have secondi. Trying not to stuff ourselves again. But we did try one of each of the desserts. We had a crème caramel and a Zuppa Inglese (sort of a trifle cake with pink cake, chocolate mousse and custard). Nice end to the meal.
Unfortunately, our dinner was not as great. Monday is not a good day for Bologna as many things are closed. We ate at Leonida as we wanted somewhere near the hotel and that was open. it was ok. The kids enoyed their Cotoletta alla Milanese. The lasagne was disappointingly ordinary.
Next time we are in Bologna we will hopefully be there for a few more days.