A (Simple) Recipe for Success


Bolognese Street Scene (Photo by Genilson Brandao)

Despite my deep appreciation for good food, I can attest confidently that in just a few short days in the regional capital of Emilia-Romagna, the following is positively true: Bologna is a foodie’s paradise.

Ristorànte, trattoria, ostería, bars, and cafés throughout the city feed the hungry and satisfy the palate, leaving patrons with a hankering for more.

But what makes Bolognese food so special? The main ingredient appears to be simplicity – although having a fabulous regional ingredient like Parmigiano Reggiano at hand, for instance, does not hurt. Overall, Bolognese food is unfussy and it evokes feelings of home and family, even if one’s home and family are outside of Italy. 

In the U.S., the idea of using natural and simple ingredients has been gaining traction with food manufacturers in the past couple of years. There have even been well-publicized campaigns promoting healthy and simple eating to help curb obesity and restore simple family activities such as cooking simple meals on a daily basis.

Bologna’s well-deserved international reputation and success as a food city are not accidental. The city has a well-positioned brand as a food destination that matches what others say about it. So what can Bolognese cuisine teach us? Be authentic and be yourself.

Oh, and Bologna’s “La Grassa” (The Fat One) nickname? Completely undeserved – only if it is used pejoratively, of course. 

— Genilson Brandao


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