An Agriturismo farm tour and cooking class in Bologna

 

An Agriturismo farm tour and cooking class in Bologna

An Agriturismo farm tour and cooking class in Bologna

An Agriturismo farm tour and cooking class in Bologna

 

One of my favorite experiences while visiting Bologna was this wonderful visit and cooking class at a local Agriturismo (BnB style inn with a farm) just outside the city outskirts of Bologna in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. Organized by Bologna Welcome , the visit to Podere San Giuliano was a total immersion into local farming and the complete farm to table concept that is also well-known world-wide as Slow food. Owner/chef and farmer Federica Frattini is the daughter of many familial generations of farmers of this fertile land where they grow most of the food consumed at the inn, restaurant and food for their guests.  Along with the food that is grown on the property  they also diversify their product nitch into: growing wine grapes for sale to various wine producers,  they sell produce to various restaurants and businesses in Bologna and they also create a line of finished food products used at the inn and for resale at various outlets.

 

The pumpkin harvest at Podere San Giuliano

The pumpkin harvest at Podere San Giuliano

 

 

Chef Federica is one of those young and energetic chef/entrepreneurs that have taken on the family business and created a variety of enterprises that are sustainable and create many income streams that follow their heritage while forging new practices and markets in the region.

 

A tour of an agriturismo farm in Bologna

A tour of an agriturismo farm in Bologna

A tour of the agriturismo

After a quick meet and greet with the chef, we quickly went outdoors to tour the farm and to see what is still in season this late in the harvest timeframe and to get a nice view of the landscape surrounding Podere San Giuliano. This tract of land is on flat and fertile terrain that has been lovingly cared for by generations of the same family. Now under chef Federica and her husband Adrea’s care along with just one farmer and occasional help, she is able to take care of this large and productive garden for producing their own vegetables and fruits for the inn along with the restaurant.  We walk along the area in back of the inn and immediate come across a group of fruit trees with these dangling globes of large and apple looking fruit which turns out to be persimmons, and they are just about ready to be picked.

 

 

An abundance of quince at Podere San Giuliano

An abundance of persimmons at Podere San Giuliano

 

 

 

 

 

Working the fields at Podere San Giuliano

Working the fields at Podere San Giuliano

 

 

 

 

The last of the eggplants at Podere San Giuliano

The last of the eggplants at Podere San Giuliano

 

Aren’t these eggplants beautiful?

 

Variegated eggplants at Podere San Giuliano

Variegated eggplants at Podere San Giuliano

 

Let’s get something fresh in the garden to cook with today

 

Collecting some herbs and greens for the cooking class at Variegated eggplants at Podere San Giuliano

Collecting some herbs and greens for the cooking class at Variegated eggplants at Podere San Giuliano

 

 

 

 Fresh fennel root being harvested for today’s meal

 

Harvesting celery root on an agriturismo farm tour in Bologna

Harvesting fennel root on an agriturismo farm tour in Bologna

The agriturismo cooking class

Now that we collected some of today’s finds from the garden, we head back into the inn’s kitchen to get started with today’s cooking lesson and chef gives me a quick itinerary of what we will be learning to make for today’s lunch for all the workers at the farm and inn. These include some of their favorites and local Bologna specialties including:

 

Freshly made tortelloni with pumpkin filling

Large sized meatballs in Bolognese sauce

Mini tortellini in a simple soup broth

Tagliattele with Bolognese sauce

 

 Making the pasta

Creating the pasta dough at  Podere San Giuliano

Creating the pasta dough at Podere San Giuliano

 

It is slow and methodical with quality ingredients from the area, basically local flour and eggs sourced locally. It starts with a mound of flour with a cavity in the middle for the eggs and chef Federica quickly mixes the eggs and starts folding the flour into the mixture until it starts to form a gooey to crumbly consistency which is easily worked slowly into a nice past dough ball and then wrapped and refrigerated.

 

Starting the pasta dough at Podere San Giuliano

Starting the pasta dough at Podere San Giuliano

Working the pasta dough at Podere San Giuliano

Working the pasta dough at Podere San Giuliano

 

Rolling and cutting pasta dough

 

Rolling out the dough for a Bologna cooking class

Rolling and working the dough to a thin and flat shape

 

Once the dough is ready, it is rolled out and cut into equal square sized pasta squares for making the famous tortellini from Bologna and then it is stuffed with a variety of fillings. This can include seasonal favorites like sweet pumpkin for the fall or the traditional meats: combined ground up pork, beef and veal. After watching a quick demo of how to fill and then fold the tortellini into form, I first did the larger sized version with the delicious pumpkin filling and did a reasonable job with my samples. It wasn’t until I saw how the smaller tortellini were folded, that I realized how crazy and difficult it was to actually make this pasta by hand especially with the quantity required to make enough servings of the famous Bolognese tortellini and broth dishes.

 

Shaping the dough to a flat and even consistency and shape

Shaping the dough to a flat and even consistency and shape

Cutting the dough into tagliatelle pasta

Cutting the dough into wider tagliatelle pasta

Cutting the dough into wider tagliatelle pasta

Making miniature tortellini pasta 

 

Making tortellini at Podere San Giuliano

Making tortellini at Podere San Giuliano

 

Chef with the mornings miniature tortellini, all hand-made including some of my pathetic attempts of creating these mini pasta wonders. In a world of machine-made Italian pasta, Bolognese pride themselves with actually still making and selling pasta that is hand-made vs. machine-made – a very rare commodity even in Italian marketplaces.

 

Mini Tortellini from Podere San Giuliano

Mini Tortellini from Podere San Giuliano

 

 Making large tortellini with pumpkin filling

 

Spooning out the pumpkin filling to the tortellini squares

Spooning out the pumpkin filling to the tortelloni squares

 

 

After the larger pasta dough is cut into larger square shapes, it’s time to fill the dough and twist and pinch the edges into a trangle and shape  into the large tortelloni. This is definitely a lot easier to do than the mini filled tortellini which takes a lot of practice along with energy to make the hundreds of tiny tortellini pasta.

 

Wrapping the filling and dough into tortellino

Wrapping the filling and dough into tortelloni

 

Preparing the Bolognese sauce

Afterwards, chef Fedrica gave a demonstration of the polpette  made with a combination of ground veal, beef and pork and then mixed in with herbs and spices from the garden, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and dry breadcrumbs into a bowl. I helped to shape these extra large meatballs into place and they looked really good and savory.  The Bolognese sauce was also prepared for both this dish and the pasta tagliatelle dish which would be our main pasta for lunch along with the tortellini soup broth.  As an added treat, chef Federica demonstrated making the larger tortelloni with sweet pumpkin filling which they typically serve during the fall season and from all the pumpkins they typically harvest during the season, it was a treat to get a first taste of their freshly made pumpkin filling.

 

Making a sauce for the Italian Meatballs with Bolognese sauce

Making a sauce for the Italian Meatballs with Bolognese sauce

 

 

 

Bolognese sauce simmering and almost ready

Bolognese sauce simmering and almost ready

 

 

 

 

Italian meatballs with Bolognese sauce at Podere San Giuliano

Italian meatballs with Bolognese sauce at Podere San Giuliano

 

Here I am sautéing the Bolognese with the sous chef

 

Sautéing the Bolognese with the sous chef

Sautéing the Bolognese with the sous chef

 

Sauteing the meatballs and Bolognese sauce

 

Sautéing the finished meatballs and Bolognese sauce

Sautéing the finished meatballs and Bolognese sauce

Mangia – time to eat

Finally we get to eat all the amazing foods that we were able to make in the kitchen in a relatively short timeframe, with a few shortcuts all ready done before I came for my visit. We were all seated around one of the dining room round tables, mostly the staff and myself including Chef Frederica’s father who always comes by for the daily meal and chat with the staff. There’s nothing like sharing a meal with an Italian family because you know that it was all made with love of growing, harvesting and then cooking the food from your land and sharing it with family and friends that are visiting this inn.

 

Gathering for a meal at Podere San Giuliano

Gathering for a meal at Podere San Giuliano

 

This is what we feasted on for our amazing lunch at Podere San Giuliano:

 

Tortellini in a simple broth

Tortellini in a simple broth

 

 

 The pasta is delicious – magnifico!

 

Bolognese Pumpkin Tortellini in a simple butter and sage sauce

Bolognese Pumpkin Tortelloni in a simple butter and sage sauce

 

 

 

Tagliatelle in Bolognese sauce from Podere San Giuliano

Tagliatelle in Bolognese sauce from Podere San Giuliano

 

 

Italian meatballs with Bolognese sauce from Podere San Giuliano

Italian meatballs with Bolognese sauce from Podere San Giuliano

 

I had an amazing day at Podere San Giuliano touring the farm with Chef Federica and cooking up a storm in her kitchen along with her sous chef. It was truly an authentic experience understanding the farm to table concept done so well at this farm in Bologna.

 

Thanks for joining us on this Agriturismo farm tour and cooking class in Bologna with chef Frattini at Podere San Giuliano. If you want to visit the agriturismo for a stay, dinner or even a cooking class, check out their website here for more details. Thank you Bologna Welcome and Podere San Giuliano for the tour and cooking class, all thoughts and opinions are my own and I had a wonderful visit and lesson, not to mention some delicious food.

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13 Responses to An Agriturismo farm tour and cooking class in Bologna

  1. Georgina Wheeler September 18, 2015 at 7:56 pm #

    What an interesting experience! I aslo want to be there for once. This dish must takes a long time to do, but it’s worthy.

  2. Chris Boothman December 15, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    This looks like such a cool tour and definitely something that Heather would be interested in taking! We are heading to Italy just after Christmas for a few days so this may give us some inspiration to check out this or something similar. Really cool how the different varieties of pasta are made.

  3. Vanessa December 14, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

    All the food looks good and yummy and it looks like an amazing experience. Love cooking too! I will definitely not miss this when I visit Italy again next time.

  4. alison December 14, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

    Isn’t it amazing how different food tastes when it is prepared fresh and local. What a great opportunity you had for an up close experience.My daughter came back from Italy with fresh pasta in her repertoire, and thank goodness she doesn’t make all that often. But I was surprised that it could be done without that much extra time. Loved seeing you without your hat-now I will recognize you when our paths finally cross one of these days!

  5. Suzanne - Travelbunny December 14, 2014 at 9:35 am #

    Uhh Umm – pumpkin tortelloni my favourite pasta dish, which incidentally, I first sampled in Bologna 🙂

  6. Kathryn Burrington December 13, 2014 at 7:56 am #

    This sounds wonderful and your photos illustrate it beautifully. I’ve had a couple of lessons in Italy making pasta and there’s really nothing better. I’ve found this type of experience great fun, as well as educational, and the food is always superb! I’d love to visit this agritourismo one day.

  7. Anna Parker December 13, 2014 at 3:03 am #

    That looks like a perfect day – such a good idea, the pictures sell it so well, I think something like this would be a great treat for a trip to Italy

  8. Denise December 12, 2014 at 11:46 pm #

    I love fresh pasta. That looks amazing.

  9. eileen @ FamiliesGo! December 12, 2014 at 7:51 am #

    i can’t get over how yellow that yolk is. anything made with those eggs would have to be good!

  10. Larissa December 12, 2014 at 5:51 am #

    I took a class with Federica a few years ago–she’s fabulous! Ours was a pasta-making class where we had to roll our own . . . not easy, but we definitely worked off some calories to help justify eating all that delicious food!

    • Noel December 12, 2014 at 7:21 am #

      Yes that was a lot of pasta making, fortunately we did a nice walk around the gardens to get things circulated before we started to eat, and it was all good!

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