The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Bologna: Day 3 (Sweat-laden Tower Climbing)

Tortellini, everywhere!

The bulbous tortellini babies in the window of Paolo Atti e Figli called out to me in a chorus of high, squeaky voices not unlike those of Alvin and the Chipmunks. "We are great in number! Only you can save us from overpopulation! YOU MUST DESTROY US! With your mouth."

I considered saving them from a future of starvation brought upon by overcrowding, but...I couldn't. For one thing, tortellini can't speak; I don't know what the hell I was hearing. More importantly, my tummy rumbled for something else. And that something was...

man, I forgot what I ordered
Mm, fresh cuppa

Gelato. Duh.

La Sorbetteria

For lunch we went to La Sorbetteria, Morten's favorite gelateria, Out of all the gelaterias we went to, this one had the most interesting flavor combinations, and I'm not talking about Ben & Jerry-esque combinations like "fudge-covered peanut butter-filled pretzels in vanilla malt ice cream rippled with fudge and peanut butter" (not that I wouldn't be willing to try that...just making a distinction). I may have never previously thought, "Gee, I could go for a cup of mascarpone gelato with pine nuts or ricotta gelato with dried fruit and melted chocolate"—my desires are usually expressed in a more general way, like, "I WANT ICE CREAM"—but they were never options before. Now that they were, I wanted all of it.

from above
Another view, that's all

Since I couldn't get all of it, I settled for a cup of Dolce Emma (cream of ricotta & dried figs with honey) and Dolce Contagio (cream of pine nut & caramel candied walnuts). The Dolce Emma was unsurprisingly very sweet, not because of the gelato part but because it contained one of the sweetest fruits in concentrated form, then coated in honey. Although I love figs, I think the ricotta got lost under the sugar-engorged fig. Or maybe the ricotta was meant to mellow out the fig. Probably. Maybe. My taste buds might not work properly in the morning.

Morten is chowing down, or something

I liked the Dolce Contagio more. The candied walnut bits punctuated the mild pine nut gelato with sweet, crunchy...bits. Yeah, I need a bigger vocabulary, I know. How about this: it was like there was a party in my mouth mostly populated by people just lounging around and sipping wine, mellowing out to AIR's "Moon Safari" or something, but every now and then my jaws crushed the bones of a wayward dancer. Yeah, I AM THE CRUSHER.

Morten went for a gelato sandwich, aka gelato smothered between two halves of a brioche slab. He was quite happy. While I don't doubt that a gelato sandwich tastes awesome, one small cup of gelato is usually enough to satiate me, surprisingly. (I can eat two cups of gelato in one day,, not one right after the other.) I fear that adding a chunk of bread to the equation would mess things up.

Espresso and piadina

After finishing off his gelato, Morten went back inside for an espresso. Naturally. Diana was also hungry for something non-gelato based and later got a piadina from a random cafe filled with what I'm assuming is prosciutto, some kind of cheese and some kind of leafy green. Worst description ever! Yeah well, that's what the photo is for.

I didn't need any non-gelato substance. The gelato fulfills all my needs. Allll of them. Yes.


We walked towards the center of the city when I noticed that the empty length of arcades provided a good place for UNDISTURBED JUMPING PHOTOS. OH MY GAWD, YOU CANNOT ESCAPE THE JUMPING.

jumpy jump
I jumped

I jumped. I think this photo makes it look like I jumped higher than I actually did. For the most part, I'm very much stuck to the ground. So heavy, I am. There's also that thing called "gravity."

Morten jumped

Morten reluctantly jumped. It's a lovely shot, no? Tongue hanging out and everything.

Diana did not partake in the jumping. Sniffle. Someday she will learn.

view from the bottom

We headed towards the Towers of Bologna, which are really freakin' tall because, I suppose, someone wanted to be able to look over the entire city and keep out enemies. And this someone was rich and had tower-building slaves.

going down
Inside view

Although Asinelli Tower is obviously quite tall when you look up at it from the base, the true height of it doesn't sink in until you walk up the damn thing, expelling a few liters of body fluid in the process, maybe being hit with a jolt of unconsciousness here and there accompanied by the thought that your inexplicably intricate system of organs and other visceral tubes may pathetically perish at the hands of exhaustion brought on by an abundance of steps. Suddenly you wish you had exercised a bit more during your lifetime, or had eaten less atherosclerosis-promoting foods.

looking down
They made it.

Morten and Diana emerged from the top of the tower fresh as daisies as though they did nothing more than walk up a flight of stairs. I, on the other hand, trudged out like a limp, asthmatic daisy that had been stepped on by a sweaty foot.

"Water...water," I croaked. Morten and Diana looked at me with a mixture of worry and pity...or laughter...I don't know, it was all a blur until I was able to properly hydrate myself.

Your reward

After a few moments, during which I regained partial use of my lungs, I was able to enjoy the beautiful view overlooking Bologna and its many red roofs against a bright blue sky. Yeah, yeah, I guess the walk was worth it.

After more roaming around we went to the train station to pick up Kåre (pronounced something like "Koh-ruh," although you're better off just hearing a Norwegian say it), one of Morten's best friends whom Diana and I also hung out with when we visited Bergen last summer. (I didn't know him very well at first, but over the following weeks I became overly comfortable in his presence, or he became a helluva lot weirder in mine, which may happen if you hang out with me 24/7 for an extended period of time. Whenever I look back at the way my friendships develop I always feel dumb about the initial shyness and insecurities—I think I was even like that the first time I met Morten and I already had "known" him (online) for years. Sigh. It's the way I am. Sorry for that rambling analysis of my personality.) As he had eaten almost nothing (or nothing tasty) during his flight from Bergen and stopover in Amsterdam, his stomach was entering "I'M REALLY FREAKIN' HUNGRY, PLEASE FEED ME" mode. Cue dinner time.

Eat up, kiddies

Dinner again was homemade, this time roast chicken with a mozzarella and tomato salad, plush some sauteed radicchio. Although the meal was tasty (Morten was in charge of cooking everything, resulting in chicken that came out soft, juicy and, you know, chickeny), it wasn't as grand as we had hoped for. While Morten prepared the chicken, Diana and I were sent to PAM to pick up some more groceries, only to find out as we walk towards the entrance that its interior was dark and unfilled with humans. Unless the store was having an "Electricity Conservation Day," it was most definitely not open. For some reason that we don't know, Thursday afternoons in Bologna have been designated as a perfectly reasonable time to close up shop and do anything else but work. I suppose it's relaxing for them, but such a rule prevents four hunger non-Bolognans from getting bread (we finished off the previous day's loaf that morning) and desserts. Rawr.


On the way back to the apartment from the failed supermarket run we noticed that the gelato stand just outside the park was still open. (I think gelaterias tend to open all week long, or if they close one day a week its not necessarily Thursday.) Strangely, I was so lacking in hunger at the time that I didn't even crave gelato, even when it was sitting in massive piles right in front of my face. Oh. My. Gawd. It took Diana's insistence for us to pick up half a kilo of gelato&mdashl;half pistachio, half strawberry—for dessert, which I greatly appreciated after the meal. Even the pistachio gelato from a nameless stand on the outskirts of Bologna was better than 99% of the pistachio gelato I had eaten at home. It's not fair, man, just not fair.

The main thing I remember about our conversation during dinner was when Kåre mentioned how his eyelids had once (or maybe more than once) frozen while he was in the army stationed in some god forsaken northern part of Norway. In a forest. Or something. I don't know how we came upon this subject; all I wrote in my notebook was, along with other snippets about the day, "- dinner, Kåre talked about frozen eyelids."

It's important, you see.


Paolo Atti e Figli
Via Caprarie, 7
40124 Bologna, Italy

La Sorbetteria
Via Castiglione, 44
40124 Bologna, Italy


Marvo / September 30, 2007 2:45 AM

I think I'm going to download your jumping picture and superimpose a basketball in one of your hands. :-)

Asians can jump.

Daisy / September 30, 2007 5:51 AM

I don't know what it is about friends on vacation and jumping shots. I have a lot of those too, LOL.

It's funny how I immediately knew you'd be speaking about gelato when you mentioned you wanted to eat something more than tortellini.

Anyway, to your question about where I'm going, I'm headed to Italy! :D And some other places lol.

Kathy / September 30, 2007 10:26 AM

haha, oh man robyn! I think gelato must account for 99% of your body composition! Nonetheless, I would have done just the same!
1. so glad you are back!
2. the jumping photos are the best! :)

katrina / September 30, 2007 11:59 AM

That fig gelato sounds like heaven on earth. Holy crap. MY CAPACITY FOR SWEETNESS HAS NO LIMIT and I loves the fig.

I'm really tempted to go to Italy now...but perhaps I won't climb that tower.

roboppy / September 30, 2007 12:34 PM

Marvo: I CAN JUMP!

But I suck at basketball. If only you knew my history...7th grade, joined the basketball team in my school (which was for fun, not really competition), called my team THE MAD COWS, sucked lots of ass.

But it was fun.

Anyhoo, giving me the illusion of physical prowess is fine with me!

Daisy: ITALY! AND OTHER PLACES! That sounds awesome. I hope "France" is one of these other places...

Kathy: WE SHOULD GO TO BOLOGNA TOGETHER, OKAY? would eat so much. It would be awesome.

And dinner this week would be lovely. :) Although anything I eat this week will probably never get blogged....actually that's what happened the week before I left too! Doh. :(

Sara: I can't wait to write that first photo-less entry! -__- I'll really have to flex my writing muscles.

Katrina: I wish my capacity didn't have limits! I loves me some fig, but sometimes I bite into a fresh one and feel like I'm going to instantly get a cavity. ...So tasty though.

I'm afraid you have to climb the tower to burn the calories. :(

B / September 30, 2007 2:13 PM

I have also had my eyelashes freeze together growing up in the frozen canadian north.
I'm going to Italy in November, and I'm SOOO excited - you're blog is a great intro to remembering how absolutely FANTASTIC the food is. yippee!

Hand to Mouth

Tina / September 30, 2007 9:45 PM

Ooh, I want fig and ricotta gelato! Too bad it was too sweet. Maybe they should've add more ricotta or lemon zest?'s just my weird food imagination running.

You're jump photo reminds me of your "binky" photos from AZ. So adorable. :)

Michelle / September 30, 2007 10:34 PM

I still have never had gelato..*cringes and runs away*

I'm graduating shortly and am going to Europe soon after, so I'll just keep telling myself that I'm saving myself for the real stuff.
Your pictures look amazing, I can't wait! I especially love the jumping pictures, I have a ton from Korea and various places around the states and a few of Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, but I have a goal to get them from as many places/countries possible.

Ace / September 30, 2007 10:38 PM

I was on my high school's basketball team, but I wasn't too good - probably because I'm a 5'7" Asian guy with no discernible athletic talent. Almost certainly, actually. Still, I have some not-so-fond memories about taking jump photos.

I was messing around before a basketball game and thought it'd be fun to get a picture of me jump-kicking one of my teammates in the face. I wouldn't really hit him, but I figured it would look impressive. Why did I do this? I don't know, guys are stupid. I jumped up and cleared his head, but ended up landing flat on my back with about half the bleachers and the girl's basketball team watching. They erupted in laughter, and in my daze I recall looking over to Berenice Castelazo as she chuckled and shook her head.

Oh, how I pined for her.

Anyways, you reopened some deep wounds but I always appreciate the stories of your epicurean escapades. If you ever come out to Orange County, I'd be glad to treat you to some cajun crawfish(it's all the rage with the kids).

roboppy / October 1, 2007 12:10 AM

B: Frozen eyelashes sounds quite..uncomfortable.

Eat lots of gelato for me on your trip!

Tina: More ricotta! Or less sugar. ...Did I say "less sugar"? Ahh!

More jumping photos are coming. :)

Michelle: It's okay; it was a long time before I had gelato! Didn't really have the chance before, perhaps, and...didn't know what the difference was between that and ice cream. Quite simply, gelato usually tastes better. Or something. YEAH.

You can get some in Italy. And by "some" I mean "buckets."

I need to remember to take more jumping photos! Forgot to do that in Toronto. Next place I go to...there will be jumping.

Ace: Whoa, sorry to bring back such memories of horror. .__. I guess the psychological pain was worse than the physical.

But you're right, guys are stupid. Stop...being that!...yes. ;)

Cajun crawfish is now in my brain. BEEP BOOP. (That was a brain sound.)

Kathee / October 1, 2007 5:11 PM

I've been reading your blog for a couple of months now--I love it! It's easily my favorite food blog because of your great sense of humor and your willingness to eat anything.

When I was in Italy a couple of years ago, I ate gelato every day. Your Bologna posts are bringing back good memories.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Hannah / October 1, 2007 7:20 PM

All of these gelato pictures are making me jealous. I'm really curious about the pine-nut-candied-walnut one, only the pine nut part sounds kind of funny to me because most of my pine nut intake comes from pesto, causing my memories of pine-nut flavor to consist more of garlic and basil.

Hey, I know you're not an advice columnist, but I have to ask: I'm on a scholastic exchange in France at a school about an hour from Paris. I'll probably only get to go into Paris once, maybe twice, while I'm here. If you were to go to just one or two patisseries or other places selling sweet things in the city of Paris, which ones would you pick? I have the utmost respect for your tastes in dessert, mainly because I share a lot of them.

roboppy / October 2, 2007 7:55 AM

Morten: OMG YOU READ THE ENTRY? Or was it 50% skimmed?

KnittyOtter: Morten would be happy to hear about the espresso part.

Kathee: Thanks for reading! Glad to hear you ate gelato every day. It's the only way to beee.

Hannah: Most of my pine nut intake is from eating them plain and raw (or in cookies?), so...not funny for me to make the transition to gelato. :D They're so good plain. Oh god. Yes. Fatty.

Aw, you should go to Paris more often if possible! Maybe you will like it so much that you will go more? :D The top three places I would wanna go if I were in Paris for a day are partially based on their awesomeness(es) and sentimental reasons: Pierre Herme (for macarons), Pozzetto (for gelato), and Poujauran (for bread and all other baked things). And none of em are in the same area, although they're not far from each other either. With the right planning you can go to a lot of stuff in one day, of course. Pozzetto is in a fun walking area; you could eat around the Marais for a long time. Hope that helps!

Daisy / October 2, 2007 8:30 AM

Yes, I'm headed for France! I'm looking for macarons! :D The last macaron I ate wasn't particularly nice: too sweet in the middle and way too dry on the top and bottom. Really, my country doesn't know how to make macarons.

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