Monday, 9 June 2014


Our Day 6 blogger is Nuala Ní Chonchúir

Monday 9th June

The day started with us leaving lovely Lugo and three of our party taking the wrong train and ending up in a town called Wethorse - in Italian, 'Bagnocavallo'. Luckily, the side-tour to Bagnacavallo took all of 10 minutes and the trio (yes, I confess, I was one of them) were safely on the Bologna train before long.

Nuala and Valerie, trying to make pasta sensuously
We just had time to drop our bags at our final accommodation for the trip, the Collegio San Tommaso, before we were collected by Rita Mattioli, who walked us through beautiful Bologna (with a stop-off at a market for cheese, cherries and peaches) to her home.

The adorable Rita
There she made her family bolognese (minced pork and beef, sausage, wine, onions, celery, carrot, garlic, rock salt, pepper) and fed us organic red wine. Rita left the bolognese cooking in its clay pot, quoting Neapolitan poet Eduardo de Filippo: 'Now we have to leave the ragu alone, he has to think.' She then taught us how to make tortelloni and tagliatelle, and had us dancing to sultry music while we made our own pasta dough. Rita urged Afric to make her 'soul take fire' as she kneaded the dough. We laughed and danced and made passable pasta.

Rita makes magic with tagliatelle
Our tortelloni, which we stuffed with ricotta, parmesan, nutmeg and parsley, looked a little sad but they tasted fine when we sat in Rita's beautiful dining room afterwards to eat lunch, sip organic prosecco and gorge on cherry cobbler and homemade ice-cream. Life is hard in bella Bologna :)

Our funny looking tortelloni
Hungry writers waiting for lunch
The day was book-ended with stray writers: we got lost in Bologna that night after our event, but I will leave it to Noel Monahan to recount that particular adventure.

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