Food Tour Review: My Experience Eating in Bologna

Bologna is considered one of the food capitals of Italy. And that’s saying something, because, well, Italy is a food capital in itself. The city has some of the most protected designations in the country and is fast becoming a center for culinary tourism. And the food is what drew me to Bologna. I had gone there to eat. Over the years, I’d heard about it from all my friends, so, on my way from Prague to Rome, I decided to stop and see eat for myself.

But where to start?

As a fan of food tours, I decided to enlist the help of the amazing Secret Food Tours, which promised to take me on a “fattening” tour of my lifetime. I went with the 3-Hour Secret Food Tour as it had a lot of positive reviews, was offered during lunch (at peak hunger), and seemed to last a long time (value for your money).

What was it like? Was it worth it? I’ll tell you.

It started at Piazza di Porta Ravegnana, where we got a traditional pastry and an introduction to the tour. After that, it was a walk through the markets right off Via degli Orefici, an area that, despite being in a touristy part of town (right next to the main square), is still frequented by locals.

white tissue paper on brown wooden table

It was there that we stopped at Osteria del Sole. This affordable wine bar is in fact one that was recommended to me by a reader, famous for having been around for hundreds of years and for letting people bring in outside food. It’s very popular with locals. Our guide went across the street to get us a ton of meat and cheese from the shop across the street (as the wine bar doesn’t have food). We tried some mortadella, which is the most famous sausage from the region, as well as Parma ham, a light cheese, parmigiana cheese, and one other type I can’t remember. We were off to a good start!

a shelf is filled with food

After that, we walked through the backstreets to a restaurant, where we had more wine and traditional tortelloni. There we learned the difference between tortelloni and tortellini — I honestly had no idea there was a difference. Turns out that the former is primarily made with cheeses, herbs, and vegetables, while the latter is filled with meat.

We also learned that this region serves its pasta al dente (cooked just enough to retain a somewhat firm texture). I’m not a huge fan of that method, but that’s because I grew up in middle-class suburbia and became accustomed to overcooked pasta, but nonetheless, it was great. We tried some more red wine and, since some on the tour didn’t drink, I happily finished off their glasses.

yellow and white flower on green leaves

This was also where we really got to sit down and chat with our super knowledgeable guide. He had moved to Bologna over ten years ago and was really passionate about the city’s culinary scene. He was also good to talk to about life in Bologna and rising tourism (he was not a fan of Airbnb).

Then we went to back to the market from the beginning of the tour for a balsamic vinegar tasting. Nearby Modena is the spot for balsamic vinegar, and no food tour would be complete without some. We tried three: a 5 year, 15 year, and 25 year. As balsamic ages, it becomes thicker and a lot more flavorful. Personally, I liked the 15 year the best. It just had a better consistency and taste. I found the 25 year too rich.

After that it was time for gelato and goodbyes. (Frankly I think all goodbyes should involve gelato.)

Was this the best food tour I’ve gone on? No. It was pretty standard. And I felt there was a lot of walking between stops — maybe if they were closer together, we could have gone to more places. We also finished where we started, so it was kind of like going in a circle.

But it gave me everything I wanted, even if it didn’t blow me away.

I left full, and that is always the most important aspect of a food tour. Plus, our guide really knew what he was talking about and was super passionate about food. He wasn’t going through the motions. He loved to eat!

So, if you’re are looking to book this food tour, click the link here.

And if you want to see what others tours and activities you can book in Italy, this page has everything you need!

Book Your Trip to Italy: Logistical Tips and Tricks


Book Your Food Tour

Secret Food Tours. You’ll experience and taste delicious and traditional recipes, discover the secrets of homemade tortellini and tagliatelle, and savor the city’s rich food history by visiting the places where locals eat and drink.

Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner or Momondo to find a cheap flight. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned. Start with Skyscanner first though because they have the biggest reach!

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ItaliaRail is a great resource to use when planning your trip via train around Italy. You can compare prices, routes, and schedules and save up to 60% on your tickets.

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You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.

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Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are: