So because I’ve had people asking me about the food here in Italy, I figured I’d give you a blog about it. So just as a base reference: Bologna is called La Dotta, La Grassa, La Rossa. In English, The Learned, The Fat, The Red. Bologna is a gastronomic capital for the world. It has some of the best food ever.
Let’s start with how Italians eat—as in what meals and times.
Colazione: Breakfast is obviously in the morning. It usually ranges from 8am-11am. Most people will go to a café and have an espresso and a croissant. Those of us at home eat cereal or yogurt; something along those lines.
Pranzo: Lunch is a little weird, at least compared to the US. Now I know I’m not supposed to focus on the differences between here and home, but this is what makes it difficult. Thankfully the pre-session course that I’m currently in finishes at 12:30pm. Most of us go to small restaurants for lunch, where we either split a pizza or have a pasta dish at a pretty reasonable price. The thing about lunch is that there are “siesta” hours in the afternoon, like Spain. Most shops are only open until 1 or maybe 1:30. Then they rush to close the store so they can eat their own lunch. I feel like I’m going to start making my own food at home for lunch. It seems to be the easiest (and most consistent) thing to do.
Spuntino: Some people will indulge in an afternoon snack. This varies from person to person. Some people just do prosciutto e melone (ham and melon). Others take this as an early opportunity to get some gelato.
This is when the nightlife begins to kick in. For dinner, people have two options:
Aperitivo: This is when restaurants charge a fixed rate for one alcoholic drink and a small buffet of food that you can have as much as you want from. The food includes pasta salad, pastas, bread, pizza, rice dishes, etc. These usually range from 5-9 euros. It starts at about 6pm and usually ends around 9:30.
Cena: This is actual dinner. This usually is available at 7:30 and finishes at 11pm. This is a full meal and can sometimes be multiple courses. For example, we did a program dinner our second night here. We started out with some pasta dishes (lasagna Bolognese and a spaghetti with sauce). Then the second course was meat with a honey sauce and some mashed potatoes. Then for desert, we had a type of cake (whose name I can’t remember, but it was a rum cake). Some places just serve one dish. This meal is when you typically eat the most. It can last hours.
Then you have supermarkets, specialty stores, outdoor markets, and negozi di alimentari (fruit & vegetable stores). These are used for shopping. For those who were curious, my favorite foods here so far are: pizza con prosciutto, gnocchi al sorrentino, crema and stracciatella (cream and cookies and cream gelato).