Monthly Archives: December 2013

Eating Vegetarian in Bologna, Italy

Zenzero Bologna

Frisella with vegetables at Zenzero Ristorante Bistrot

Last year, BBC published an article about Bologna and Emilia-Romagna titled “Where vegetarianism is an exotic illness.”  In it, author Dany Mitzman notes that in Bologna “pig is king” and “the local diet is about as Mediterranean as chicken tikka masala.”  This is undoubtedly true.  Bologna’s most beloved dishes are tagliatelle al ragù, tortellini in brodo, lasagna al forno, and an antipasto with prosciutto di Parma — all of which contain pork.  Dany says that she’s not a huge fan of ricotta-filled tortelloni (another popular dish that happens to be vegetarian), and so she usually defaults to eating tagliatelle with mushrooms and a plate of grilled veggies when she dines in traditional restaurants in the region.  As someone who eats mostly vegetarian, I completely empathize with Dany’s pain.  I distinctly remember when a local proudly took me to one of their favorite lunch spots for affettati (mixed cold cuts) and appeared both disappointed and confused when I ordered a green salad instead.

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