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Bologna ~ Tortellini, Parmigiano & Balsamico™

Bologna La Grande Cucina ~ 7 Day

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 you’ll discover beautiful monuments, museums, arcades, piazzas, churches, shops, bookshops, artisan clothiers, handcrafted shoe and boot makers, and cafés and restaurants galore. 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 connected to the city from 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 popularised by the masses, is quiet, quaint, majestic & magical, and also home to Italy’s “grande cucina.”

Modena

Modena is small city that is big in history, music, cuisine and landmarks.  Set on the south side of the Po Valley in the heart of Emilia Romagna, this small town gained notoriety in the twelfth century, when it became a free city and then passed to the rule of the Este family late the next century. By the sixteenth century, it was a wealthy and prosperous city, and also the home to the Pope. Its cobblestone walkways tell a tale of its ancient past. Walk along its narrow streets and visit the famous covered market. Filled with vendors selling local vegetables, fish, meats, cheese, breads and pasta, it is a social meeting place for locals who love to buy the region’s best produce and D.O.P. products. Visit the Ducal Palace, The Town Hall, The Cathedral and the Ghirlandina, Museum Palace, Synagogue or Teatro Comunale Modena for an interesting tour that showcases the city’s past. Modena is called the capital of engines, due to the factories of the famous Italian sports car makers Ferrari, De Tomaso, Lamborghini, Pagani and Maserati. It was also the hometown of Luciano Pavarotti, the great Italian tenor, whose name now graces the local opera house, the ex-Teatro Comunale.

Parma

Parma is a small city in the Emilia Romagna region, famed for Parmesan cheese, Parma ham and fresh handmade pasta. Romanesque buildings, including the frescoed Parma Cathedral and the pink marble Baptistery, grace the city center. Classical concerts take place at the Teatro Regio, a 19th-century opera house, throughout the season. The Galleria Nazionale, inside the imposing Palazzo della Pilotta, displays works by painters Correggio and Canaletto. Parma was originally a Roman colony and follows the ancient layout of a typical Roman settlement. During the Roman era the town had a theater, amphitheater, thermal spa, basilica and forum, where Piazza Garibaldi stands today. Parma’s charm – spilling with artisan shops, trattorias and osterisa – makes it a delicious destination with something for everyone.

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 ageing 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 an artisan balsamic maker with a tour of the studio and tastings included.  You will learn about the history of balsamic vinegar, and how it’s aged – some bottles up to one hundred years old – and bottled at this noble family’s property.  Learn about how aged balsamico guild continues to be one of the richest and most powerful trade guilds in central Italy.  This trade also kept their secrets closely guarded as the guild passed down the technique from generation to generation. By the 1800s it had become commonplace to enrich the dowries of local noblewomen with jars and little barrels balsamico.  The tour includes an English-speaking guide, tour and tastings.

Wine of Bologna and Emilia Romagna

Discover the wine of Emilia Romagna – think Lambrusco, Sangiovese, and Pignoletto -during your stay!  The region grows six grape varieties that grow on the sun-beaten hillsides in the countryside and the fertile valleys close to the sea.  The hilly countryside brings you to the Collie Bolognesi, where three red wines –  Barbera, Merlot, and Sauvignon, along with four white wines – Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Bianco, Riesling Italico, and Chardonnay grow in rich soil vineyards.  Parma and Piacenza produce Malvasia di Candia and Sauvignon Blanc white varieties and the Barbera and Bonarda red varieties.  There’s also Albana and Sangiovese.  In Modena and Reggio Emilia, there is Lambrusco and Terre del Lambrusco DOP.  Join us on tour, sip, and swirl while experiencing the interesting wines of Emilia Romagna.

Bologna Accommodations

B&B Luxury Guest House – Check in and relax to the luxury B&B guest house set in the historic center of Bologna on one of the most prestigious streets in the city. Privately owned, this exquisite 5-bedroom property is minutes from the Piazza Maggiore and the centro storico. The property is elegantly decorated with fine furniture and comfortable bedding with Italian linens.  The property boasts a cozy lounge decorated with soft colors and furnished with comfortable sofas and a large-screen LCD satellite with many TV channels.  Take in the beauty of Italian art, Provencal furniture, and Venetian art from the 1700’s. Each private bedroom, cleverly named and designer decorated offers a private ensuite bathroom, air conditioner, mini bar, WiFi Internet, writing desk, and sitting area.  Daily breakfast is served in the dining room with cappuccino, espresso, teas, homemade cakes, traditional pastries, fresh fruit, yogurt, cake, and biscotti.

4-Star Boutique – Our 4-Star deluxe property is privately owned and simply luxurious.  This charming 4-Star is just by the Piazza and offers all modern conveniences steps away from the main sites and monuments. Rooms are furnished with one-of-a-kind bed linens, furniture, and art.  Each room has big bright windows, a minibar, air conditioning, satellite TV, a safe, and a free internet connection. The full private bath includes plush towels, bathrobes, slippers, and beauty products.  Breakfast is served in the European-style dining room with a full breakfast including hot and cold cereals, fruit, toast, eggs, cakes, bread, assorted savory pies, cakes, cookies, jams, caffe, cappuccino, and tea.  Special requests are accommodated upon request. The property also offers a sitting room and bar with full-service drinks, tea, and snacks.

Bologna Boutique Apartments – perfect for a family or group.  Just a 10-minute walk from Bologna’s Piazza Maggiore, our apartments are perfect for couples, groups, and families. Beautifully decorated in soothing cool pastel blues, beiges, and whites, furnished and equipped with all modern conveniences, these 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom apartments are located in a historic property that’s been refurbished to extremely high standards. All apartments are spacious and have a sleek modern kitchenette with a kitchen-top induction cooker, refrigerator with freezer, microwave oven, dishwasher, and electric kettle.  Some apartments have a private terrace, while others offer views of the city and Bologna’s characteristic rooftops. Laundry facilities are also available at the property.   (**Breakfast is not included as there is not a common restaurant or kitchen nor caffé in the boutique apartments).

3-Star – The property is set in the heart of Bologna and is the perfect option who want comfort and convenience.  The property offers charming rooms filled with modern conveniences just a few steps from the Piazza Maggiore. Rooms are pristine, and nicely furnished and have a minibar, air conditioning, satellite TV, safe, and free internet connection.  Buffet breakfasts are served in the dining area.  There is also a pleasant lobby where you can relax, read the newspaper, watch TV, and enjoy a coffee or glass of wine served at the hotel snack bar. The knowledgeable and professional staff is on hand at all times to assist.

Itinerary ~ 7 days, 6 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 Chef’s Tasting Menu included for dinner, at an award-winning restaurant, just a short walk from the property.

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

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Tie on your apron for 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 Inglese-a 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 Reggiano Cheese & Balsamico Countryside Tour & Lunch and Wine

  • Breakfast is served.
  • A full day countryside tour to the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and Aceto Balsamico producers with our English-speaking guide and driver. The excursion brings you to the area’s two prized makers of the coveted Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and balsamico. Discussions with food tastings,  traditional lunch with wine and English-speaking guide included
  • Return to Bologna in the late afternoon. Evening is free and on your own.

Day 5: Cooking Class 3

  • 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 decondo 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!

Day 6: Full-Day Excursion to Modena & Parma with Driver (Optional Add-On Private Guide)

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Following breakfast, meet your private driver for a tour to Modena.  Explore the beautiful town home to Luciano Pavarotti, the famous covered marketplace brimming with artisan food products – think cheese, bread, wine and farmers and food purveyors showcasing and selling prized, fish, truffles, pork, and vegetables and fruits. Enjoy lunch in a local trattoria, suggestions provided upon request. Then head to the beautiful city of Parma known for its prosciutto, cheese, architecture, and universities.  If you would like to add-on a private guide and a traditional full-course lunch on this excursion, please inquire for pricing.
  • Following your full-day tour, return to the property.
  • Evening is free and dinner is on your own.

Day 7: Check Out & Ciao!

  • Breakfast is served. Check out.
  • After breakfast, 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
  • 7 days, 6 nights, at privately-owned palazzo property in the heart of Bologna. Click to View!
  • Daily breakfast and daily maid service.
  • Welcome Dinner featuring the chef’s tasting menu including a full course dinner of local fare.  Wine not included.
  • 3 hands-on cooking classes with lunch following with wine included.
  • Medieval Food Lover’s Walking Tour with tastings and discussions included. (Museum tickets not included in program price if you opt to enter any museum during the tour.)
  • Full-day Country Tour to a prized Parmigiano Reggiano producer and Balsamic Vinegar maker with traditional  lunch and wine included.  Driver and English-speaking guide included.
  • Full-day Excursion to Modena and Parma. Private driver included.
  • Welcome bag, Chef’s apron, Prosecco and recipe book.
  • A copy of Lauren’s cookbook, “It’s A Dream Place – Stories & Recipes of Food, Love and the Amalfi Coast.”
Program Price
B&B Luxury Guest House

$3,895 per person, based on 2 guests in a B&B Luxury Guest House, Superior Room.

4 Star Boutique

$4,295 per person, based on 2 guests in 4 Star Boutique Property, Classic Room.

$4,395 per person, based on 2 guests in 4 Star Boutique Property, Superior Room.

$4,595 per person, based on 2 guests in 4 Star Boutique Property, Jr. Suite.

Luxury Apartments  

$4,095 per person, based on 2 guest Superior Luxury Apartments.  

3-Star 

$3,795 per person, based on 2 guests, 3 Star Property.

**Supplements for accommodations may apply during Bologna fair dates.

For Single Guests: If you are traveling on your own, please call us for the best group price. We are happy to welcome you into an already scheduled group.

Bologna is a walking city with the train station just a short walk/taxi ride away from the property.  If you would like to add on private transfers from the train station or airport to the property,  please let us know and we will be happy to do that for you.  Prices vary for transfers depending on the size of your group.  Taxis are always waiting outside the train station and airport for your convenience

*An Italian visitor tax will apply in some cities and must be paid directly on site at check out.  Prices may vary during trade shows.

Check Availability

2024 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.