Situated in the north of Italy, Bologna not only houses the almost 1,000-year-old University of Bologna, but the city is also known as the food capital of Italy, and not just for pastas. You may wonder if there is still any place for Michelin restaurants in this paradise of budget-friendly meals.
Located in the heart of Emilian Appennines, Trattoria da Amerigo was opened in 1934 in the fertile Samoggia Valley, perched in the middle of the Modena and Bologna hillsides. Half an hour's drive from the center of Bologna, the restaurant serves dishes that remain rustic but are characterised by refined techniques and an elegant master of time. It has always respected tradition and has been one of the few members of the Premiate Trattorie Italiane.
In Italy, apart from Michelin-starred restaurants, there are also old-fashioned yet popular restaurants that locals love to visit, though they are no less difficult to get a table. Centered around Milan, we drove to a number of "hard-to-book" trattorias in the surrounding towns and ran into many delicious encounters.
There is no pizza like Franco Pepe's. Nowadays everywhere is accessible, but the best pizza in the world still gets you on the road to explore the old, narrow, cobbled alleys of Caiazzo. For food travellers, it's always worth the effort.
It's been over three years since I last visited Reale, a celebrated restaurant situated in the remote town of Castel di Sangro nestled in the mountains of Abruzzo in central Italy. It is not a tourist town and takes about 1.5 hours driving from Naples. It is interesting that a world-famous three-starred Michelin restaurant is housed in a time-honoured 16th century monastery.
It might be a bit of a cliché, but the story started when a boy fell in love with a girl. "I started working as a cook when I was seventeen and that was a lot of years ago. Before doing catering school, I did a technical school. But this school was not suitable for me, also because to find a girl was like finding a needle in a haystack. I was very young with my hormones totally out of control. When I went to catering school, it was a great party for me, because eighty percent were girls." After finishing school and several experiences in high level restaurants, he attended university and had the luck to teach in a catering school to maintain his studies. He decided at that time that he didn’t want to be a professional cook because it was a very hard job and he wanted to continue studying.
There are places you pass by and places you stop for, and Pietro Zito's Antichi Sapori is certainly the latter. This is how the story begins: Antichi Sapori is a traditional Italian restaurant run by a third-generation farming family in Puglia, the heel of the boot-shaped country. Most ingredients in its cuisine come from its own farmland or from local suppliers. How did Pietro Zito become a chef? He says it all started with hunger and willingness to succeed in the restaurant business.
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