Bologna and Beyond

Hey everyone! I’m finally back with another blog post! I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Italy during the week. I’ve put together a post all about my trip to Bologna, which covers various fun adventures along the way, including a visit to beautiful Venice. It was nice to take a break and indulge in copious amounts of gelato and pizza! I hope you enjoy looking through some of my favourite snapshots from the holiday!

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One of my favourite pictures from Venice. When we first turned up the weather was looking a little dismal, but it soon improved and the sun came out. Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to go on a gondola, but I still enjoyed spending my time shopping for souvenirs to remember my trip. I felt I saw just as much walking around and discovering the sights on foot and also I worked off the pizza I’d devoured at lunch. 😉

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My first ice cream of the trip! We’d just arrived in Bologna and started a walking tour of the city. After a slice of pizza, we headed straight for gelato. The flavour I went for was Gianduia – which is chocolate ice cream with hazelnut paste and chunks of hazelnut in each scoop. And as you can probably guess, it was pretty delicious!

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Proscuitto e funghi pizza is what my friends and I bought from a takeaway and then wandered up to a nearby park to eat it. Whenever I travel anywhere, whether it’s with my family or friends I love walking off the beaten track away from the tourist hotspots, if you do this you are more likely to discover new and exciting hidden attractions. The park was lovely and happened to be one of Bologna’s oldest parks.

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Parco della Montagnola – one of the oldest parks in Bologna

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On the second day of our trip we went on a factory tour to the Parmigiano Reggiano Dairies. It was interesting to see how Parmesan is made and also taste the different ages. This picture shows a miniscule amount of the Parmesan during its ageing process. If you love cheese, then if you’re ever near the region, I would highly recommend a visit!

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Later that day after visiting the Parmesan factory we drove to Modena to visit a balsamic factory. Part of the tour was a tasting of different aged balsamic vinegars. I think I managed about one small spoonful of vinegar before having to decline the next. Normally I would mix the balsamic vinegar with extra virgin olive oil so tasting it neat was quite an experience! I purchased a bottle of an 8-year-old balsamotto from Acetaia Paltrinieri. I’m looking forward to trying the balsamic with oil and some of my mum’s homemade Italian bread.

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Our final visit later that day was to a prosciutto factory in Parma. It was brilliant to see the prosciutto being prepared for curing and also then getting the chance to taste test the meat. I’m a big fan of prosciutto crudo and I love serving it on antipasto platters with cheese and olives. It makes a tasty starter before a meal.

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Pumpkin tortelloni pictured above and fresh strawberries at the Mercato delle Erba in Bologna. The market was great to have a browse around and there was lots of fresh produce available. I cannot wait for the summer here in England so I can enjoy strawberries when they’re finally back in season!

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The gelato is just one reason why I love Italy so much. There are gelaterias on most streets in Bologna, I would recommend the gelato from Gelateria Caffetteria Saverio, which was the place we headed for our gelato. We had brilliant service and the staff were very welcoming and friendly towards us. We enjoyed the ice cream, so much so, we ventured back on our last evening and then the next morning before our flight just to eat even more gelato from this place!

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If you’re interested in visiting Bologna you can visit the official website here to find out more.

I hope you enjoyed reading!

jess

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Tuscany, Italy

I’ve just got back from 2 weeks holidaying in beautiful Tuscany, Italy! Here I thought I would share a little bit about my holiday and travels with some (or quite a few!) of my favourite pictures.

The last two weeks have been absolute bliss for me, I LOVE everything about Italy, it’s one of my top travel destinations- not only for the amazing food, but also the stunning scenery and cities. I’ve come home, with my case packed-full of delicious culinary treats (too many packets of pan di stelle- those biscotto are TOO addictive!!) and some kitchen untensil’s ready to get back to baking and sharing some amazing recipes for you all. So enjoy my photos guys- I’ve decided to take you through all the places we visited whilst on holiday!

You’re going to fall in LOVE with Italy and this beautiful region!

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Firenze (Florence) 

Florence is one of Italy’s most beautiful and stunning cities. Full of artwork, cathedrals, history and amazing food, it’s a city not to be missed on your Tuscan adventure.

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Italian flag flying high above the Arno river 

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Panino is one of my favourite foods to enjoy in Italy. I eat these all the time for lunch back at home- they’re so good especially filled with spicy and salty salami or some of the famous Porchetta (pronounced por’ketta). But I also love my panino filled with the best fresh, Italian mozzarella, sliced tomato and dried origano. So good to eat whilst enjoying the sights of Florence!

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The most amazing and colourful fresh fruit and vegetables on street corners 

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Siena

Siena, another one of the my favourite places to visit. We enjoyed some of the best Pizza we’d ever eaten whilst sitting in the famous Piazza del campo (square)- one of Europe’s greatest Medieval square’s. Though Florence supposedly makes the ‘best’ gelato in Tuscany, I thought the ice-creams we tried in Siena were very good competition- definitely worth the price! Full again of lots beautiful historic buildings- this city is another tourist paradise.

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Siena Duomo (Cathedral)

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(Not the best looking ice-cream, but strawberry (fragola) and chocolate is one of the best combo’s!)

Pisa 

We visited Pisa for my 18th birthday. I enjoyed a great day, packed full of sightseeing and happily devoured an amazingly good margherita pizza, which was HEAVEN! Though the weather wasn’t too great that day, the fact I got to eat pizza made up for that for sure! The evening was enjoyed back at our private villa with many glasses of proscecco!

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Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square)

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As you can tell we ate quite a bit of pizza on this holiday! In this photo, me and my Sister ate classic Margherita, Mum enjoyed Marinara and my Dad ordered proscuitto e funghi. All were divine- but I couldn’t manage the whole thing! 

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Becky enjoying her Pizza!

Also, if you have room for ice-cream, do visit De’Colelli for amazing gelato!

San Gimignano 

We stayed just outside of the medieval town, San Gimignano. The town is lovely and idyllic and is home to one of the world’s best ice-cream shops, Gelateria Dondoli– of which we enjoyed our fair share (probably a little too many ice-creams per trip!). I definitely preferred the smaller towns, to the the more well-known or more visited cities, there was something about wandering off the beaten track or down quiet little streets that I love.

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View of San Gimigiano from St Lucia 

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The famous towers in San Gimignano 

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Gelato from Gelateria Dondoli (the gelato world champion)- my favourite flavours cioccolato and pistachio 

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Volterra 

A beautiful windy, hilltop town, well worth a visit if you’re in Tuscany. Explore wandering off to the many quiet streets. Best known for it’s alabaster (marble) and also the famous Twilight films (and of course Assassin’s Creed!!).

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Palazzo del Priori

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o

The coolest photo ever!

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I found a little taste of home in Volterra!

 

Monteriggioni  

A small, but pretty Medieval walled town. Views overlooking Siena and great place to indulge in some interesting history. Definitely worth a look!

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Piazza Roma 

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Beautiful sunflower fields on the car journey home 

Chianti (Radda & Castellina)

We visited these two small, quaint towns which lie within the famous Chianti region of Tuscany. I definitely recommend you visit the medieval town of Radda, the town itself is so quiet and peaceful, not your typical ‘touristy’ town, so perfect to walk around and get lost in your thoughts. Walking further through the narrow streets,  you will come across the amazingly stunning and peaceful Church of San Niccolò. The church is famous for it’s Romanesque origins and wooden crucifix from the 15th century. Also, I found lots of amazing pastas and foods whilst walking through Castellina- which reignited my passion for cooking again.

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Church of San Niccolò, Radda, Chianti

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Risotto ai funghi is a Tuscan classic 

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Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino (garlic, oil and chilli flakes) seasonings. These are great tossed into fresh pasta for a filling dinner!

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Inspiring artwork in Castellina 

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Colle di Val d’Elsa 

This is the town we visited quite a lot and spent many evenings walking through the peaceful streets, completely away from the tourist trails. It was so beautiful, many amazing viewpoints and you actually get the chance to go down a lift and walk through the underground tunnels, then treat yourself to a gelato, sit by the fountain and watch the sun set. So cool and a perfect end to the day.

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Also, I like to thank the lovely Margherita who writes one of my favourite food blogs, La Petite Casserole. Margherita is from Florence, but currently lives in Montreal. She very kindly sent me an email sharing with me all the best places to eat in and around Tuscany, which I thought I would share with you all too as well.

Gelato: Rivareno ( borgo albizi)
Easy lunch: Macelleria Falorni ( avevo di San pierino)
Easy lunch or easy dinner: 5&5 ( piazza della Passera)
Mercato di San Lorenzo ( they’ve just renewed it, is full of small restaurants and local food productors)
For an aperitivo: Easy Living ( the open bar along Arno river, close to San Niccolo)
Dinner with amazing view (Fiesole): terrazza 45 or Pensione Bencistà!

Ristorante il Pozzo (Montereggioni)

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Thank you for reading…

I really hope to have inspired you to get out there and explore beautiful Toscana! I’m now very excited to get back in my own kitchen and cook lots of amazing dishes inspired by my time in Italy this year. From fresh pasta recipes, to the best homemade pizza and ice-cream- I’ve got a lot of recipes all lined up for you to enjoy in the coming weeks!

Grazie per la lettura!

jess