After lunch, we walked through the market at Quadrilatero. There are tons of shops lining the streets that sell meats, cheeses, produce, and specialty products. It's fun to just wander around and look at everything that's available.
As the market (and everything else around) started to close down for the afternoon, we walked back toward the hotel so I could take my afternoon nap.
Early evening rolled around and we ventured out again. This time we visited the Basilica Santuario di San Domenica, which was just around the corner from our hotel. It was stunning inside.
After that, we went in search of pizza. We decided it would be fun to try the pizza in each city we stayed in. It was tough to find pizza by the slice in Bologna, and what we did find was thick crust pizza cut in squares. I went for a piece of sausage pizza (I was almost swayed by the prosciutto pizza but that one doesn't have sauce), and Jeff had Margherita. The pizza was fine for a quick snack; it just wasn't anything memorable.
We kept wandering around and exploring Bologna, and we eventually walked by a chocolate shop (Majani) that I had been wanting to go in -- that we had walked by three times before and found closed -- and it was actually open this time. We got some different chocolates to sample, and they were so good I wish we'd gotten more. The chocolates are just so smooth and creamy.
It was getting late enough to start thinking about dinner, and a place called La Traviata had been recommended to us by a friend of a friend who lived in Bologna. She said they had millions of fresh pastas and that was enough to pique my interest. We walked over to see if we could get a table. Because we didn't have a reservation, we were offered an outside table, which was just perfect.
The restaurant is owned by a husband and wife, Antonio and Manuela. Manuela came out to tell us about the pastas, all of them made by her by hand, while Antonio playfully butted in with the wine list. We selected our wines and then listened to Manuela's descriptions of the pastas that were available that night. There were so many that I wanted, but I finally decided to go with pumpkin tortellini. She mentioned something about how she usually cooks it with balsamic, and I said that sounded perfect.
We sipped our wines and chatted while we waited for our pastas to come out. I had a glass of Valpolicella, and Jeff had to get a half bottle of white because they don't do whites (or maybe it was just the white he wanted) by the glass. No big deal; I helped him finish it.
Jeff had cheese-filled tortellini with Bolognese sauce (he's a creature of habit). I think this was his favorite version of the meaty dish.
My pumpkin tortellini featured two kinds of fresh pasta, a light cream sauce, prosciutto, a generous drizzle of balsamic, and walnuts. It was incredible. The salty and sweet components played off of each other.
Manuela also makes all the desserts, so of course we had to try some. Jeff ordered chocolate cake (it was so moist) with mascarpone and chocolate sauce.
I got panna cotta with chocolate sauce (one of my favorite desserts). This one was delicious and had the right texture, firm and not at all flan-like. It was cut in thin slabs and nicely doused with the chocolate sauce.
This was definitely one of my favorite dinners of the whole trip, and I highly recommend La Traviata to anyone visiting Bologna.
Next up: Day 5 -- Modena (Part 1)