Italy, Part 2, Above Bologna

August 3, 2017

It’s hot. So hot. The thermometer hit 107 today as we wended our way into the hills above Bologna. How would we have found  the lovely little Antica Trattoria Belletti without electronic maps?  At one point the calm voice took us up a narrow dirt lane, no wider than a goat path.  But then suddenly she was saying, “Turn right and your destination will be on the right.”

And there it was, a stone building with walls so thick it was cool and dark inside. Suddenly, despite the heat, we were hungry.

These appeared first, crescentine fritte (the fat fried puffs) and tigelle (the pretty disks), which were still warm, with the “mountain plate” of meats and vegetables:

That alone is worth the trip.  The cheese – squacqerone in local dialect – is soft and drippy and completely wonderful, and the garlicky bits of pork cooked in their own fat utterly irresistible.

The vegetables – in oil – are home-pickled.  The waitress brought out the jar so we could see it.


Fried polenta – all corn and crispness – to dip into more of that soft, fresh, dripping cheese.

This is’t fancy food, but it is very good.  Afterward there were handmade pastas: this green version, with sausage and porcini, was my favorite.

And finally, a plate of local mountain cheeses, served with the trattoria’s own jams and honeys.

It’s good to know that here in Italy the small places still survive off the beaten path. Good to know that you can walk in to find simple fare served with love and pride.

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