Here is part of my long-overdue report on two days in Bologna last month. This is the second part of the report and I will try to post the first soon (don't ask why they are not in order, please!!)
Knowing we would be flying out the next day, we visited Salumeria Bruno e Franco, Via Oberdan, 16, a few blocks from the Piazza Maggiore, to put together a bag of treats for the plane trip. This friendly place, mentioned by Fred Plotkin, is smaller and less overwhelming than Tamburini but just as exuberant. We were limited to foods that did not have to be heated, and so purchased: one frittatta ; one container of meatloaf; 200 grams of proscuitto di Parma; a half round of a local, young cow's milk cheese. They packed them up nicely (the shops here are used to packing for airline and train travel) so we would be assured of a good meal on the Alitalia flights back to USA. I also purchased a jar of salamoia, a blend of seasoned salt used in Bolognese cooking. (On Fred P.'s recommendation) At 2 E (half that in the supermarket) this makes a good gift for a cook back home. Like the other salumerie in the city, this one has a stupendous selection of foods; I was surprised to see a Jamon Iberico in its special slicer, along with the various Italian hams for sale. If only I had been more daring on the Customs issue.
With that task accomplished, we headed for our last meal in Italy. It proved to be one of the highlights. Cesari, Via dei Carbonesi, 8, had been recommended by a fellow hound and it was only a five minute walk south of our hotel, Hotel Roma. (Quite a few of the places we had been eager to try, including several of the Slow-Food choices) were located some distance from the city center.)
Old wine bottles and wine books line the walls of the handsome dining room and service is friendly yet polished. The bread basket here contained what I consider the best bread I have ever tasted in Italy: crescentine, a ham-flecked foccacia-type loaf, specialty of Ferrara, that may have been baked with lard.
I began with a terrific appetizer of a leek and pumpkin crostata, one of the best dishes of the week. First courses for both of us were that Bologna staple, tortellini in brodo, followed by a pasta dish from their truffle menu, tagliatelle, with (rather meagre) shavings of white truffles. We shared a main course of meat lasagna (pasta again!) Dessert was a shared semifreddo, like a frozen gelato, in zabaglione flavor. After dinner we were presented with a plate of dried figs and orange rind dipped in bittersweet chocolate and pieces of a rich chocolate cake. Together with a carafe of house wine bottled for the restaurant and a bottle of mineral water, the total was 62 Euro. Cesari's menu is printed in Italian and English and the staff, like all of those we encountered, were very gracious in explaining the dishes we were unfamiliar with. I have this on my list for a return visit. www.da-cesari.com.