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Bologna ~ Tortellini, Parmigiano & Balsamico™

Bologna La Grande Cucina ~ 5 Day

Cooking Tours
Prices & Dates

Bologna! We invite you to join us on this magical culinary journey through the Medieval City of Bologna, under arches and across piazzas to discover a city that is rich in food, history, and elegant in all senses.

La Grande Cucina Bolognese

La Grande Cucina Bologna program includes 3 hands-on cooking classes, while discovering so many favorite addresses of food, wine, culture and history in la centro storico. To get acquainted with this beautiful city, you will have an unforgettable week of cooking, tasting & touring through Bologna with our food experts, Chefs, and artisan producers. Also included is a special countryside tour to the land of Parmigiano Reggiano & Aceto Balsamico. There you will see the old-world artisans create the famous Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Discussion and tastings included. Next we take you on a guided tour and tasting to a traditional Balsamic Vinegar producer. A notable family in Modena opens the door to their workshop where you will see how the fine Balsamic vinegar is made. Discussions & tastings follow. Topping it all is a Medieval Food Lover’s Walking Tour through the centro storico to experience yet another important aspect of cooking in La Grande Cucina Bologna. Our private guide & food lover takes you through the famous marketplace of Bologna and its specialty food stores, purveyors, food stands and vendors. Discussion & tastings included.

Bologna Cooking Classes

Our team of Chefs, two sisters in the kitchen, are professional Sfogline! A Sfoglina is the Bolognese term for women who make pasta by hand in the traditional way with an old fashioned rolling pin and wooden tools.  The old world of art of making pasta in thin sheets of perfect pasta is something they do best! Starting with the process of preparing the ‘OO Farina,’ the finely ground white flour, followed by the kneading and resting, they then roll out the sfoglia with the old wooden rolling pin and pasta tools to create the small delicate pastas. Tortellini, tortelloni & tagliatelli, all with their respective delicious stuffings and sauces. Under the guidance of our professional Chefs, you will learn the technique for mixing, kneading, rolling and creating perfect tortellini & tortelloni, tagliatelle and Bolognese Lasagne.

Bologna

Bologna is the culinary capital of Italy and the birthplace of tortellini, Parmigiano Reggiano, Aceto Balsamico, & Mortadella, to name but a few specialties. Also known as “la grassa,” “the fat lady,” Bologna is a Medieval City of old world intellect with a touch of modern chic. Its centro storico is lined with specialty food shops that carry on with 4th and 5th generations of families still producing perfect artisan products of Prosciutto, Parmigiano, tortellini, and breads just as their forefathers did. From via Caprerie to via Clavature, the small ancient streets of the 1880’s seem to form one perfect banquet hall.

La Rosa, or Pink City as it is often called, is wrapped inside a Medieval Wall with porticos or arches where inside you find beautiful monuments, museums, arcades, piazzas, churches, shops, bookshops, artisan clothiers, handcrafted shoe & boot makers, and cafés & restaurants. From the Basilica of San Petronio-one of Europe’s largest churches built in the 12th century, to the Fontana del Nettuno-a masterpiece by Giambologna, the Two Towers of 1109-Asinelli & Garisenda, Europe’s oldest university-Alma Mater Studiorum founded in 1088 with notable alumni Dante, Petrach, Prodi, and the Portico of S. Luca which is connect the city to its place on the hillside with 666 arches, local landmarks combine for an itinerary with lots to see. And not to mention the many Michelin Star restaurants, trattorias, cafés & restaurants that over the centuries have served intellectuals, politicians, writers, painters and musicians from around the world. Bologna, a city that has not been popularized by the masses, is quiet, quaint, majestic & magical, and also home to Italy’s “grande cucina.”

Parmigiano Reggiano & Aceto Balsamico

DOP Parmigiano Reggiano and Aceto Balsamico, Balsamic vinegar, are important local ingredients in the cooking of the Emilia-Romagna region. During a full-day excursion, you will learn about Parmigiano, those giant golden wheels weighing in at about 85 pounds, and how they are still made following the same traditional and genuine methods from seven hundred years ago. Their name is trademarked, and there is a legal exclusive control used over its production and sale. Parmigiano is protected by the European Union and can only be produced in a restricted area with the official seal, a “zona tipica” including the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna and Mantova.

We visit a Master Grader at his workshop and see how it is made. He leads you through the processing, first the milk is heated and then the cheese is shaped, stamped and buckled in. It then sits in a brine for 25 days, next-it sits in an aging room for 12 months, it is polished, cleaned and turned every 7 days by a Master, it faces a 12 month inspection, a cheese tasting by the Master Grader, and is heat branded. Parmigiano Reggiano is not your ordinary cheese, and the intensive time & labor that go into the making drive the price, an average selling point is $15 or more per pound.

We also visit to a typical workshop where aged balsamic vinegar has been produced for over 150 years. Once inside these sweet-smelling wooden walls, you will learn how this gourmet delicacy was born. Throughout the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries, the makers in Reggio Emilia had one of the richest and most powerful trade guilds in central Italy, their secrets closely-guarded and passed down from generation to generation. By the 1800s it had become commonplace to enrich the dowries of local noblewomen with jars and little barrels of the precious & pricy Balsamico. During your visit, see the maker’s own vineyard, how it eventually makes its way into those glorious glass bottles, and how it tastes. Aceto Balsamico is aged for a minimum of 12 to 25 and up to 100 years. The more it is aged the higher its price will be. Discussion & tastings included.

Accommodations

Check in and relax at the privately-owned Palazzo with Agostino as they welcome you to Bologna. This exquisite 5-bedroom property is minutes from the Piazza Maggiore and centro storico. The property entrance spills onto the sitting room and library area. You are at home at the Palazzo; furnished with a collection of Filippo’s Italian art, Provencal furniture, and Venetian artifacts from the 1700’s. Each bedroom, named and decorated a color, has a private bathroom, air conditioner, mini bar, WiFi Internet, writing desk, sitting area-elegant Bolognese! Staying at a private Palazzo surrounded with fine furnishings, a welcome fruit basket, chocolates on your bed pillow and a welcoming breakfast with cafe, cappuccino, an assortment of pastries, and jams makes you at home in the heart of Bologna.

Alternatively, stay at our 3-Star By The Piazza Accommodations. Our charming 3-Star is centrally situated and offers all modern conveniences just a few steps from Bologna’s main sites and monuments. Rooms are prettily furnished and are equipped with mini bar, air conditioning, satellite TV, safe, and free internet connection. Breakfasts are generous and are served in the handsome breakfast room, with staff to hand for hot cappuccinos and teas.

Itinerary ~ 5 days, 4 nights

Check in and start your program on any day of the week.

Day 1: Welcome To Bologna

  • Check in and relax.
  • See your Welcome bag and read through all the food & touring notes you will need to for your 5 days in Bologna.
  • A Chef’s full course Tasting Menu included for dinner, at an award-winning restaurant, just a short walk from the property. Toast with a glass of local wine. Dessert is also included.

Day 2: Cooking Class 1 & Food Lover’s Tour

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Start off the day with a steamy cappuccino in the kitchen with our Chef before your Cooking Class 1. The kitchen area is well prepared with ‘OO Farina,’ farm fresh eggs, fresh Ricotta and her great grandmother’s wooden rolling pins for a morning of mixing, kneading, rolling, and stuffing traditional Tortelloni & Tortellini-you will learn the difference and the technique in the two. It takes time, technique and years of practice to make the tiny delicate fresh pastas. You will also cook up traditional Bolognese sauce, including Ragu’ Bolognese-which takes a minimum 5 to 6 hour slow cook method.
  • Although Bologna is noted for its fresh pasta, desserts are not underestimated. In fact as you stroll through the city take notice of the fancy pastry shops and cafés whose cases and windows are literally decked with cakes, tortes, and biscotti of grandeur. And in Chef’s class you will make some of these desserts. A sample of Bolognese sweets include, La Pinza – a stuffed pastry stuffed with raisins, wine, almonds, apple & prunes; Torta di riso di Bologna – a rice cake prepared with nuts, and Amaretti cookies, cider and sugar; Zuccherino Montanaro – an anise based liqueur cookie; Zuppa Inglesea pan di Spagna or sponge cake soaked with liqueur such as Marsala and sprinkled with cocoa; or Dolce di San Michele – delicate cake cooked with cream and dedicated to Saint Michael.
  • Lunch follows and includes the foods prepared in class. Toast with a glass of local Sangiovese wine, included.
  • Food Lover’s Tour: In the afternoon, join your guide and start at the Piazza Maggiore for a storybook tale of food, history, and the layout of Bologna’s center. The main square, Piazza Maggiore, is a landmark that stands through time. Your guided tour includes food notes, historical notes and some visits to landmarks and important churches. (Museum tickets not included in program price.) Tastings along the way. After your 3-hour tour, take a seat at one of the Grande Cafes on the piazza for a traditional aperitivo and watch the world go by.

Day 3: Cooking Class 2

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Tie on your apron and get out your rolling pin. Cooking Class 2 continues with hands-on experience in the kitchen with our Chefs. Tagliatelle, Gramigna or Lasagna are a sample of pasta on her seasonal menu. Artichoke, Porcini or slow cooked Ragu are a sample of sauces, and always a sweet dessert, too. Lunch follows and includes the foods prepared in class. Toast with a glass of local Sangiovese wine, included.
  • In the afternoon, take time to discover the foot paths of Bologna’s cobblestone city, or rent a bicycle and ride through the red roof city stopping in time for an aperitivo. Bookshops filled with great reads, churches filled with art, or a rich espresso in the Piazza make for a perfect day.
  • Evening is free and dinner is on your own.

Day 4: Parmigiano–Balsamico Countryside Tour

  • Breakfast is served.
  • A full day countryside tour to the Parmigiano Reggiano and Aceto Balsamico producers are included. The excursion brings you to the area’s 2 prized makers of the coveted Parmigiano and Balsamico. Discussions, tastings, lunch and guide included.
  • Return to Bologna in the late afternoon. Evening is free and on your own.

Day 5: Cooking Class 3 & Ciao!

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Tie on your apron and get out your rolling pin. Cooking Class 3 continues with hands-on experience in the kitchen with our Chefs. The Secondo or main courses are the focus of today’s class. Slow braised pork, rabbit stewed in aged Balsamico, chicken in a creamy Porcini mushroom sauce are a sample of the authentic foods you will prepare. Follow Chef’s techniques for a healthy artichoke carpaccio, or peperoni imbottiti, or a frittata with shaved truffles.
  • Lunch follows and includes the foods prepared in class. Toast with a glass of local Sangiovese wine, included.
  • After lunch, departure transfer to Bologna train station or airport.
  • Ciao & see you soon!

*Note: This schedule may vary due to inclement weather, saint days or festivals. All activities, in the event of rescheduling, are always included during the program.

 

Program includes

  • 5 days, 4 nights at privately-owned Palazzo in the center of Bologna, based on double occupancy. Click to View!
  • Daily breakfast.
  • Chef’s Full Course Tasting menu-first evening in program (wine not included).
  • 3 hands-on cooking classes with lunch following. 1 glass of wine included.
  • Medieval Food Lover’s Walking Tour with tastings and discussions included. (Museum tickets not included in program price.)
  • Full Day Country Tour to a prized Parmigiano Reggiano producer & Balsamic Vinegar maker. Driver, lunch and tastings included.
  • Welcome bag, Chef’s apron, and recipe book.
  • Arrival & Departure transfers from Bologna Airport or Train Station.
Program Price

$2,450 per person, based on double occupancy. All taxes and Italian VAT included.

*An Italian visitor tax may apply in some cities and must be paid directly on site at check out.

Check Availability

2019 Dates: This program is available throughout the year, except August 10 to 20. You can check in and start your cooking program any day of the week. Rates are subject to change based on currency exchange. Call for updated rates. Airfare not included. Group transfers for any cooking tour or tours that include transfers, are for the group and are not private. Transfers before, after or to another destination outside of your cooking tour are not included in the program price. If you would like to add on a private transfer or transfers, let us know and we will send you pricing.