Just outside Bologna, there awaits a beautiful little farm…
Podere San Giuliano is a family business that has been passed through generations since the 1930’s. I wanted a change of pace to contrast my time spent within Bologna City, and what better place for that than the Emilia-Romagna countryside?
Podere San Giuliano offers a unique farm-stay experience, cooking classes and a country restaurant housing arguably the best food I’ve eaten in Italy [and rest assured, I have eaten a LOT since I’ve been here… there is pretty much a constant stream of food going into my mouth 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!]
The beautiful thing about Italian food, and perhaps the secret to its deliciousness is that freshness is guaranteed at all stages of the process – the food is hand made, the ingredients are locally sourced, the Wines passionately selected.
Podere San Giuliano goes one further than this however, with their organic vegetable farm meters from the restaurant. This means that you can order a dish, and the vegetables that you are eating were freshly picked hours earlier.
With a few exceptions, the majority of traditional Italian dishes do not use a lot of vegetables, and especially do not place emphasis on them as being the main feature of the dish.
Owner Frederica Frattini advised me that she wanted to create a menu whereby the vegetables were “The Kings and Queens” of the dishes, placing a contemporary and fresh spin on traditional Italian recipes.
I will admit, I was a little apprehensive at first, “why fix something that isn’t broken?” I thought to myself. Isn’t it the traditional recipes and processes that make Italian food so great? After eating my meal, I ate my hat..
Smoked Potatoes Soup with Popcorn Powder
Beetroot Tartare with Almond crisps and Parmigiano Reggiano Cream
… All served up with a delicious array of homemade breads
A traditional dish of Bologna:
Pasta with Pancetta, Shallots and Peas, served in a cream sauce
A new chef had recently been appointed to the restaurant and, in conjunction with Federica’s vision, had helped to develop the delicious menu.
I didn’t just want to give my compliments to the Chef at the end of the meal, I wanted to hijack him and employ him as my own personal chef, I wanted to marry the Chef. Had I had many more glasses of the local Red I probably would have propositioned him to this!
Everyone knows that Italians mean serious business when it comes to food. When a great chef is discovered, he is practically a celebrity – Word of the talented new chef at Podere San Giuliano had spread across the region like wildfire and locals were travelling across the City to trial the new menu.
If you’re thinking that that pasta above looks a little imperfect.. well then don’t blame the Chef! There was a guest pasta maker (i.e. myself!) at the restaurant that day working with the kitchen staff to make a vast array of pastas – from strozzapreti, to tortellini. All of which I had the pleasure of eating later when the chef surprised me by including each of my creations in beautiful pasta dishes – tagliatelle with traditional Bolognese Ragu, strozzapreti cooked with rich Rabbit and the Pancetta dish you see above.
The nice thing about Podere San Giuliano is that the family feel of the place really extends to those that visit. Walking into the farm and meeting with Federica was like meeting an old friend. Her and the staff took an interest in all of those who visited, laughing and joking with the patrons.
As the evening drew in, I retired to my rustic farm room. I was definitely pleased for the nice, peaceful contrast from the hustle and bustle of Bologna City.
“Agriturismo” is a big thing in Italy. Have you ever tried it? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on Italian farm stays!
High Heels and a Backpack is in no way affiliated with Podere San Giuliano. All views and opinions expressed throughout the article are my own.