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Eating itinerary family of 4 in September for Bologna, Italy?

smiles33 | Jul 14, 201810:33 AM

I have read a few Chowhound threads and am feeling a little overwhelmed with only 2 months to go before our week-long Sept. trip. We are going specifically to Bologna because our priority is food. We don't plan to target museums/churches at all (yes, I know we're missing out on amazing cultural institutions but it's a short trip and food and relaxation are the priorities). Our daughters are 9 and 12 and eat almost everything including "weird" food (e.g., foie gras, escargot, bone marrow, lengua tacos, sashimi, octopus, etc.).

I am willing to day trip it to Parma or Modena. I have us on the waitlist for Osteria Francescana (I signed up for 4 weekday lunches, so I'm hoping people are more likely to flake on the weekday than weekend). I don't need to focus on Michelin starred restaurants, but I figured it was worth trying one or two since we're in the area and budget is not an issue.

We are renting an AirBnB just inside the city walls so we plan to walk everywhere. I figure one lunch reservation per day and then we'll stay in and dine on take-out or cheese/bread/meats for dinner. We did not adjust well to jet lag on our trip to Asia, so I don't want to commit to the typically late 8-10 pm dinners.

My goal is to indulge in local Bolognese food: tortellini, tagliatelle all ragu, mortadella, culatello, cheeses ((stracchino and squaquerone), pasta (I'm hoping Cappellacci di Zucca will be in season in September), Piselli alla pancetta (peas with bacon), Amaretti, and Bolognese rice cake.

I saw jenkalb's May 2017 trip report and definitely want to put All'Osteria Bottega on our list. I'll have to figure out how to call from California as we don't land until late Friday night and then we fly out the following Saturday. It seems they only offer lunch on the weekend.

Given our leisurely pace (since we're not rushing to line up for a church or museum), I figured we'd just stroll the markets ourselves rather than book a tour with someone who would lead us to specific stalls in the market. We've loved similar treks in other city markets (e.g., Montreal, Mazatlan, Portland, San Francisco).

I am hesitant to book the tours to see the parmiagiano-reggiano cheese production, balsamico, and prosciutto production. That sounds like an unbearably long day. I'd rather just eat the items.

I'm also thinking of booking a cooking class for the 4 of us, although my husband (who cooks all our meals) is skeptical it will be worthwhile (he's made homemade pasta before). The kids and I are novices, though, so I thought an experience might be fun.

Any feedback or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Osteria Francescana,
All'Osteria Bottega
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