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Italy Trip 2007 – Bologna and Venice

Not exactly a direct quote, but about 3 people emailed me the same question about the photos I emailed around from my recent trip to Italy. I guess I didn’t realize how focused I’d been on the edible delights of the places to which we went, but now flipping through my pictures, I can see that I didn’t take any of the cities we visited.

I took a few days to escape the long work weeks I’ve been having recently (hence, why the blog has been a bit dormant) to travel to Europe. I flew to London and then on to Italy, where I got to explore a foodie heaven – Bologna – and to take a couple of day trips to Florence and Venice. As I’d written about last year on my trip to New Zealand, for me, one of the most interesting things about visiting other countries is to view cultures through a culinary lens.

Kicking off our trip, we flew into Marconi Airport in Bologna, landing amid the red rooftopped houses and green fields of Emilia Romagna. To break our fast from an airport lunch of sandwiches and crisps, we started off with a typical Italian pre-dinner snack of bubbly prosecco, meaty green olives, and warm tigelle stuffed with cheese and proscuitto:

Then, we were off to a local pizzeria for dinner. Unfortunately, the photo of all the food we managed to eat was taking by another person with whom I was traveling, so I don’t have a copy of it. Suffice to say, this was nothing like the local pie you can get delivered to your door. One of my travel companions even commented as to how one could taste the oven-cooked flavor in the crust. We ended dinner with a large piece of tiramisu that took two of us to polish it off:

The next day, we took a two-hour train ride to Venice. When exiting the train station for the first time, it is one of the most incredible sites to see this city on the water. We were so lucky on this trip to have sunny, clear weather. After hopping on the vaporetto (local water taxi), we wove our way around the canals for a water’s-eye view of the great palazzi of Venice, some of which even had their own boat docks.Our destination was Piazza San Marco, the famous town square. In need of some refreshment, I suggested that we stop off for a coffee before going in search of a place for lunch. (Do you sense a theme here?) It was obvious from the crowd in the piazza, that we weren’t the only ones with the same idea.

An 8 Euro cappuccino

Along the way to lunch, taking our time to wander the narrow streets and alleyways, someone just had to have a snack. Pre-ssert anyone?

Tartufo al cioccolato

Then, we found a small, local Venetian place. One of their dishes was cuttlefish in squid ink served with polenta squares. We also had baccala (salted cod) in a creamy sauce and pasta with a seafood tomato sauce.

We spent the afternoon wandering around the city some more. Stopping in at glass shops, checking out the jewelry and other wares. I snapped a photo of some of the pasta nests (nidi) for sale as well. Hopefully, you can see the detail in the crinkly noodles.

Then, we had time for a quick caffe macchiato before hitting the train back to Bologna. Where, somehow, we ended up having more seafood for dinner!

Spaghetti with clams, mussels, parsley, and hot pepper flakes

Buon appetito!

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