The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Bologna: Day 2 (Morten's Arrival)

First stop: Gelateria Gianni.

Unfortunately, it was closed. Apparently most people don't eat gelato before noon. Dammit. I suppose that if gelato were meant to be part of a balanced breakfast it would've squeezed its way into the world of "Stuff That's Marketed As Breakfast Foods For Kids But Is More Likely To Give Them ADD Than Any Real Nutrition."

Still, dammit. I'm not a kid anymore. I can make adult decisions, such as how to nutritionally unbalance my day.

gelateria delle moline
Yay, gelato!
Walking around

Diana and I wandered around the little streets just north of the center, not looking for anything in particular, when we came across Gelateria Delle Moline. And it I expressed my gratitude by sharply sucking in air, followed by a gasp of, "OMG GELATO," whilst my eyes went through the motions of "bugging out." Apparently this gelateria thought gelato was part of a balanced breakfast. I concur.

Actually, I wasn't very hungry at the moment. Not having grown up eating breakfast, my stomach tends to squirm funnily and change from "vessel of frothy digestion" to "empty vacuum that fails to desire food" at the thought of eating before lunchtime (something that changed over the course of the vacation while being surrounded by breakfast lovers, those metabolically unchallenged bastards). I thought I would just take note of the gelateria as a place to revisit later, but Diana (yeah, that Diana!) nudged me into gelato submission.

...Not that it took much nudging or anything.

pistachio and fior di latte...I think
Gelato is mine

As usual I got a cup of pistachio and something else, in this case fior di latte (milk flavored, somewhat, like vanilla ice cream without the vanilla). Once again, the pistachio was awesome with that deep nutty flavor thing going for it, like dipping your tongue into a river of pistachio squeezings. I mean, awesome compared to what we get in the US, maybe average for what you get in Bologna. It wasn't as rich and buttery as Gianni's version, but that may have been a good thing for something that I was eating at 11AM.

strawberry and pistachio
Fragola e pistacchio

Diana became partial to the pistachio and strawberry combination. I think it works well too, besides that it looks pretty—the craggy peak of dark pink sorbet overlooking a smooth light yellow-green pistachio valley that curves over the edge of...the earth...if the earth were made of gelato. Oh my god, what a beautiful world it would be. Although inconveniently sticky and susceptible to melting.

Morten and Diana

We went back to the hotel to meet up with Morten, aka "The Crux of Our Existence in Bologna." Somewhat. He studied in Bologna a few years ago and deemed it, "The Best Place to Stay in Italy for an Extended Period of Time, Especially If You Like Food," which is why he proposed going on a Bologna-centric adventure to me a few months ago. We weren't sure about his high accolades for the city at first, but after traveling to a bunch of other cities in Italy that rubbed us in right ways and chaffed us in wrong ways (sometimes only chaffing), we decided that he was spot on. I can see why he wants to relocate from the somewhat utopian Bergen (except for the weather and the food) to the warm and hospitable tortelloni-filled land of Bologna.

they have FOOD
people need food

Our first order of business was to find sustenance. Morten weaved us through food market-laden streets until we hit Tamburini, a popular gourmet food shop where displays are filled with fresh pastas and shelves radiate pinkness with piles of cured ham legs. You can also stop in for a quick lunch from their cafeteria line of pastas, meat, vegetables, and...well, anything else you would feel like eating, which is what we were there for.


After the gelato breakfast I was sadly still not very hungry. Waves of shock with tinges of disappointment rumbled through our table when I was unable to finish a heaping plate of ricotta cheese-stuffed tortelloni in a light ragu. Diana couldn't finish her plate either, but...she's Diana. When presented with a mountain of cheese-filled pasta (and it was lot, trust me), she's not expected to finish it. I, on the other hand, seem to command a different set of expectations involving gluttony and an inhuman stomach that can expand indefinitely.

"Robyn, you didn't eat everything!" Morten exclaimed. His plate was clean. Well, he didn't eat gelato for breakfast. And he's bigger than me. And has more metabolism. And he's a dude. And stuff.

"When I say I eat 'everything' that doesn't mean I eat EVERYTHING-everything. I mean, I at least try everything. I don't necessarily lick the plate clean." The tortelloni was delicious—wheaty pasta shell filled with soft, creamy cheese tends to be like that—but there was, like, an entire village of it on my plate, if everyone in the village were gathered into a messy pile and made of pasta and filled with cheese and covered in tomato-y meat bits.


apartment courtyard
View from my room
if you dont have a euro, you SCREWED
Bus ticket machine

We moved eastward to our new digs, a short-term rental apartment about half an hour away from the city center by bus. A bus ticket lasts an hour and costs 1 euro (no change is given for 2 euro coins, so stock up on those ones), which you pay for on a machine on the bus (there's no interaction with the driver whatsoever), unless the bus doesn't have a machine, in which case you just hope no one checks for your nonexistent ticket. You can save some money by buying a 10-trip "City Pass" for around 8 euros at a Tabacchi (easy to spot since it will be marked by a blue and white sign sticking out of the entrance that reads, "TABACCHI") or, I assume, an atc shop. Over the two and a half weeks I was in Bologna I was slightly disappointed that no one ever checked my ticket—I wanted to prove that I was being lawful, dammit.

produce aisle
Mm, PAM!

After plopping our stuff down we went to the local PAM supermarket to find food for the next few days. And thus Morten found out what a horrible person I am to go grocery shopping with.

"What do you want?"

"I don't care." [blink]

In general, I don't care, at least not in Morten's presence. I knew that anything Morten made would taste like awesome and anything that I made would taste like pig sludge. I don't have to know what pig sludge is actually made of (more than pigs) to know that it probably doesn't taste very good.

weigh it!
Weigh it or else!
Morten is picking stuff!

Something I am capable of doing is picking fruits. ...At least, I'm usually capable of doing this. In Italy you must provide a barrier between your skin's ungodly oils and the delicate surface of Mother Nature's fruits and vegetation by sheathing your hand with a plastic glove, which is vaguely shaped like a thing with five finger-like protrusions.

I didn't initially notice the sign that said, "PUT ON GLOVE OR DIE," as I poked the fruit with my dirty paws. Luckily, it didn't take long for me to notice that other people were picking gloves from a stand in between the produce section and the bread section (or perhaps Diana told me to stop poking the fruit...probably that) or else the supermarket police may have caught me in the act of soiling the produce and demand that I return to my home country so that I may restrict my filth to North America.

We ended up buying a whole fish, chicken, bread, artichoke hearts stuffed with cheese (oh man, delicious) mozzarella, some kind of cured ham, tomatoes, cheese-stuffed marinated artichoke hearts (initially Diana's favorite, but now one of mine!) and various other kinds of fruits and vegetables. Dinner for the night would be baked fish with bread and a salad of tomato and radicchio. For some reason I got left with the task of preparing the fish.

"Okay Robyn, you know what to do." Morten smiled at me in the way that said, "You don't know what to do; I just like torturing you."

pat the fishie
Mm, squishy

I had a vague idea of what to do, but Morten probably could've cleaned and seasoned the fish in half the time I did it. Or he would've done it without mumbling, "Euh, it's wet....and squishy...and feels very much salt do I put on it?...what do I do with these lemons?...euh, it's wet."

We're making stuff
Morten, make me a salad!

Our kitchen appeared to be well equipped with the basics—it had pots, utensils, cups, gas burners, an oven, and to Morten's caffeine-loving delight, the quintessential Italian espresso pot—but a problem arose when we attempted to cut anything larger than a ping pong ball. There was only one cutting tool of suitable length and it most resembled a giant butter knife. In other words, it was shitty. We could hardly believe such a knife would exist except for the purpose of spreading a giant slab of butter on a slice of bread the size of a pizza, which we had no intention of doing, or for ineffectively stabbing someone, which we also had no intention of doing. Morten butter knifed the radicchio (in the photo you can see the knife on the cutting board) into salad bits as my hands became infused with fish oils.

cut the fish, CUT IT bitter!
Fish and salad

In the end, the fish actually came out very good. Moist and flaky and whatever else a well cooked fish should taste like. Whole fish, baked or steamed, is one of my favorite things to eat, yet for no good reason ("laziness" not being a good reason) I rarely prepare it. I suppose I should make it more often, as the dish scores low on the "How Much Effort Do I Have To Put Into This To Make It Taste Good?" scale.

Morten and Diana, eatings
Watching football

We sat around. Talked. Watched football. Watched Morten watch football. That's what you get for having a TV in the kitchen.


Gelateria Delle Moline
Via delle Moline, 13
40126 Bologna, Italy

Via Caprarie, 1
40124 Bologna, Italy


Daisy / September 29, 2007 4:37 AM

that gelato is just... gelato. I'm looking forward to all the goodies I could possibly eat when I head for Europe myself in a month or so.

not to mention I haven't eaten lunch because there's not much food in the house, and your photos are so delicious. :)

Tina / September 29, 2007 5:25 AM

"[Y]ou must provide a barrier between your skin's ungodly oils and the delicate surface of Mother Nature's fruits and vegetation by sheathing your hand with a plastic glove..."

OMG, that quote made me laugh out loud at this time in the morning. Good thing I stifled it before I woke up my parents, and I need that laugh before I surrender myself to the LSAT people in mere hours... :/

Anyways, the gelato looks amazing! And "yay!" for you in preparing/cooking fish. :)

joanne / September 29, 2007 2:37 PM

What kind of fish was it? And how exactly did you prepare it? I am no good with fish either, usually I just add salt and pepper to it and then bake in the oven.

roboppy / September 29, 2007 3:28 PM

Daisy: Where in Europe are you going? ITALY I HOPE? FOR THE 'LATO? (And other things...but man, gelato!)

Tina: Dude, did you leave that comment at 5:25 AM or is something wrong with my clock? :O

GOOD LUCK ON YOUR LSATS! Give me the gory details.

Joanne: Unsurprisingly, I don't remember what kind of fish it is. A...white kind. Yes. "White fish." -__-

As for how I prepared it, about the same way you did! I added lots of salt, squeezed shizzloads of lemon juice in its innards, and popped it in the oven for some amount of time. Until it was done, I suppose. (Annnd now you see why I will never be a recipe writer.)

Su-Lin / September 29, 2007 5:20 PM

Gah! Your photos of Italy are totally reminding me that I still haven't set foot in that country! I sooooo want to go now...and when I do, I'll be hounding you with questions on where to eat!

eatyourheartout / September 29, 2007 8:04 PM

so, the epic continues...

Indeed, Morten has made the travel more insightful, meaningful than it would have if I had gone alone with another bunch.

Bologna, as many would imagine to be boring, is also my favorite city of all three (as far as I stayed) because it's just so... local, small, non-touristy, tasty. Mm... Morten made it tasty.


Heh. No nudging involved to have Robyn eat gelato as "breakfast".

I didn't realize how easy it is to prepare a fish with such simple ingredients and then bake it to yummy tenderness. My mother makes it look like a big task each and every time she prepares a fish for steaming or frying. hence why I would not want to make fish, but after what you guys did it looks like a cinch. At least, I hope I can make something that simple to taste that good.

swag / September 29, 2007 9:18 PM

But the real question: who was playing football? Given that it looks like a night match, I'll guess Roma-Fiorentina?

roboppy / September 30, 2007 2:24 AM

Su-Lin: GOO! It's not that far from you! Well, closer to you than me!

Diana: Bologna is DEFINITELY THE BEST. There are so many things we didn't get to do there! Another trip is in order.

Damn, what does your mum do to the fish? ;) I don't do anything complicated since I don't know how to. Hm. Just pop it in the oven with ...salt and lemon and stuff. BOOP, TASTY. You can do it.

swag: Who was playing football? HAHAHA I HAVE NO IDEA, I WAS SO NOT PAYING ATTENTION.


Morten probably knows.

Kaare / September 30, 2007 8:35 AM

Ah, so the tv in the kitchen did work. Another puzzle solved :) It's also nice to see what happened before I arrived. I missed out! Nice work on the fish - looks good. Um. In fact I think must have lunch soon! Sadly nothing interesting - my fridge was stocked with cold and a lump of ice when I came back. I think I even saw a skinny moth fly out coughing when I opened it. I restocked it in a hungry frenzy the other day but as you know... I mostly bought snacky cakes.

Angie / October 21, 2007 9:43 PM

I love this post. Do you have the name of the short term rental place where you stayed and roughly how much it cost?

Marcello / November 17, 2007 10:51 PM

I enjoyed your story and pictures. I've traveled all over Italy, but for some reason managed to avoid Bologna. Not anymore though... I will be going in the summer. And based on yours and others descriptions..I can't wait. Ciao!

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