TOP 4 FOOD SHOPS IN BOLOGNA
Fashion and Food are not so different. And while Milan, Paris, London and New York are the trend-setters for fashion, Bologna is the Alpha and Omega when it comes to Italian cuisine. The restaurant is the venue, the table is the catwalk and the food are the models and the chef is the designer. In a Bolognese restaurant, similarly to a fashion show, you simply sit around the catwalk enjoying the beauty in front of us, however perhaps the greatest difference is that in Bologna we can reach out and touch, smell and eat the models! Here Adriana Lima is transformed into Parmigiano Reggiano, Kate Moss into delicious Mortadella, Tyra Banks into Tagliatelle alla Bolognese and Alessandra Ambrosio into delicate thinly-sliced Parma Ham.
The aim of this list is to give you the address of the best shops and what to buy there so that you can bring a bit of Tyra or Gisele back home with you and share them with your friends and exchange stories of the other VIPs you saw while you were sitting in the front row of the Food Capital of the World.
Paolo Atti & Figli
It is THE pasta store in Bologna. Having had its shop and workshop in the same location since the 1900 it's no longer a shop but falls into the category of an institution. All the Pasta is handmade using only the freshest produce and traditional ingredients. The fillings for all the tortellini, ravioli and cakes are made on location with locally sourced products. Their packaging is as beautiful as their shop and pasta and perfect for a traveller wanting to bring some of their creations home, and as they tell us you can even pass them off as made by you. Read more on Paolo Atti & Figli!
Opened its first shop in 1963 courtesy of an inspiring grandmother that gifted them with the passion and love of great Bolognese products. In 1968 the two brothers open another shop with a laboratory next door and keep the grandmother on board as sfoglina (pasta maker) to complete the shop counter. In 1982 the shop opens in its current location in Via Drapperie right in the heart of the Bolognese market. To this day the family has won countless awards that rewarded their attention to detail and quality produce. Indeed that was always the main worry of the family: to have only the very best of produce for sale in their shops and to expose it in such a way that it would also be a visual treat.
Their shop is marvelous with rows and rows of Parma Ham hanging from the roof, with wheels of cheese that could be mounted on a lorry, and the butchers dressed in impeccable white lab coats. I can guarantee that wether you are looking for their shop or not you will stop and marvel at the beauty, and your mouth will begin to water. Visit their official website and make sure to check out their fantastic gastronomic tours of the city section!
The place to go for Italian wines and more importantly Emilia Romagna. Here they have a selection of wines that would make many wine connoisseurs and enthusiast blush. Indeed the professionalism of the founder Marco Nannetti has been gained through many years of hard work. Enoteca Italiana opened to the public in 1972 and has won countless awards worldwide such as the best Enoteca (wine shop) in Italy in 2002 and Marco won Best Sommelier in Paris in 2005. Inside they slice fresh Emilian delicacies such as Mortadella and Parma Ham and suggest which wine to drink with what. Here it is not just about drinking a local wine and saying what you think of it, they try to guide you and are very keen to talk to costumers. Read more on Enoteca Italiana!
There are many world renowned delicacies that hail from Bologna, however few people associate chocolate with the city. However they are not aware of the history of Majani. They have been producing chocolate since 1796, and just to give you an idea of how long ago that was: the car had yet to be invented, volt a had yet to invent the battery, the first picture was yet to be taken and Italy wasn't even Italy! In that period chocolate existed only in liquid form and was only available to the aristocrats, the very rich and the incredibly wealthy clergy. Majani was so popular that by 1830 they bought 5,000 square metres of property in Via de' Carbonesi which soon came to be known as Palazzo Majani. Majani was such a force that in 1856, when Italy was still divided into many different states far from becoming a unified country, Giuseppe Majani travelled to Turin with a very rarely issued Papal passport that allowed him to enter the Duchy of Savoy to buy the latest, steam powered machinery for making chocolate.
The company's delicacies became favorites among Europe's elite, having gained the honor of having the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Italy given to them by King Umberto I but also conquered many other royal families around Europe, quite a task when you consider how difficult it must have been to transport chocolate with no refrigerators or fast means of transport. Majani today is one of the few companies whose chocolates all start their life from a raw cacao seed, testament to their long history of fine chocolate making. It is not a coincidence that many royal families and some of the greatest minds in the history of Italy have been reduced to smiling children when trying Majani chocolates. You can visit their beautiful shop on Via de' Carbonesi 5, Bologna or visit their official website!
Do you know a shop that should be on here?
If yes, please email us at
with your suggestion and why!
Article by Leonardo Careddu
Photos by Sergio Caminata