I have written, at length, about the virtues of Emilia Romagna’s glorious, grainy parmigiana reggiano. I have vehemently championed the restorative properties of a good ricotta and I’ve waxed lyrical about my unwavering adoration for Puglia’s big, beautiful buratta.
Well, dear readers, I have a new favourite cheese to talk about which is, ironically, also the oldest cheese there is to talk about.
Everyone knows that most Italians bugger off to the coast in the summer. But Ferragosto is a day which essentially sees the entire nation slap a sign on their shop/restaurant/office window/house reading ‘BRB. Gone to the beach’.
Huge white flecked hams hang in doorways, windows are adorned with wheels of fresh, grainy parmiggiano reggiano, market tables are taught with fresh vine tomatoes and purple artichokes, and pasta is everywhere – usually smothered in butter or tossed in a hearty ragu.
Bologna’s nickname is ‘la grassa’ (the fat one), a name which is entirely warranted. It is a gastronomic paradise and a place of epic culinary consumption. If you’re visiting with a loved one, make sure they love you for your curves. Diets die here
Babà al rum is a small yeast- leavened cake bathed in rum and syrup. Such is the level of rum in this sweet treat, that it would probably ignite at the mere sight of a naked flame. In fact, it might be wiser to think of the babà as a cake flavoured shot, rather than rum infused cake.
One does not go to Naples and pass up a pizza. Forgoing a pizza in Naples is akin to visiting Athens and deciding against a visit to the Acropolis or going to the pub and ordering a sparkling water. It is morally reprehensible.
Yes, you can find a decent slice of pizza elsewhere. But we are, after all, still living in a world where *voice rises to feverish pitch of indignation* people are happy to replace pizza crusts with a series of mozzarella stuffed cheesy balls and where ‘meat feasts’ and ‘barbeque chicken supremes’ actually exist.
So my budding pizza purists. You know where you need to go to get the proper stuff. You need to go to Naples.