Travel Tips

Digital Fabrication Helps The Bees With An Opensource Beehive

 Did you know that one in every third food bite you consume depends on successful pollination of plants, specifically attributed to pollinators like bees? According to scientists, if we are to overlook this continued decimation of the bee population, then that time is not far away when we may find ourselves at a huge irreparable loss.

This calls for an undertaking from our parts to protect bees and their beehives, who are on a rapidly decline due to climate change and various other reasons. This very need led to the formulation of an open source beehive project  and resulted in the creation of an open source beehive, the design of which is open to use and modification.

What is Open source beehives all about.

oepnsource beehive=
Top bar open source beehive

Their main goal is to build and facilitate a group of citizen scientists, to understand the reason behind the rapid decline of the bee population; which as of yet, remains a mystery. There are some points that need to be taken into cognisance, these points would help us better analyze this project.

Furthermore, these set of digital files ( the usage of which has been presented below), could be used on a CNC machine to replicate these stylish beehives. One such beehive would follow the best beekeeping practices, as well as create a conducive environment for your bees!

1. The beehives so designed are known to respect best beekeeping principles, which, in turn, create a facilitating environment for our bees and help them grow as well as work to their maximum potential.

2. They also use a field data logger mechanism which assesses the audio and video inputs provided by the bees. Such an input helps the project observe the state of the bees, and prods you into taking corrective measures if necessary.

3. After that comes the beehive classification algorithm, which is used to observe and analyze the various audio signals emitted from the beehive. Such input, one obtained, would help characterize as well as segregated the behavior shown by the bees, tallying it from a long list of beekeeping practices. This list includes intimidation on various factors like swarming, moth invasions or the worst possible case – Catastrophe ( theft or invasion ).

4. Also, there is the buzz box hardware, which could be installed non-intrusively in the beehive. This piece of hardware would help keep a tab on various factors inside and outside the beehive. It would help you track the temperature, battery charge, barometric pressure, and hive vibration. All of this data could be easily accessed on your smartphone and would help you in keeping a tab on your bees.

5. Finally, there is the buzz box phone app, which is meant to provide you with notifications as well as readings of your bees behavior. All of this could be gotten on your smartphone and is easily accessible to read and refer to. Also, if any significant change is noticed, an intimation would be provided to you almost instantly, which would make your life far easier

Why do our bees need help

To understand this important point, we have to understand their importance to us. If bees wouldn’t have been there to pollinate our crops, hard labor related pollination would cost us over 300bn$ ( Global estimate ). Now, that isn’t a small figure to pay no heed to; also, as have been asserted above, they provide us with a third of our food!

There are many factors and facets behind the rapidly declining population of the bees. Some have been enunciated below, this would help you better understand the reasons attributed to it.

1. Pesticides

Pesticides are a major “buzz kill”. Jokes apart, excessive utilization of pesticides in agriculture has lead to the creation of an unhealthy environment for our bees. There are many pesticides that are known as the bee-killers, but there have been no concrete steps taken to prevent their usage. Albeit, they are usually ignored, for the greater good, or something like that!

2. Mass agriculture

Wild pollinators need more than agriculture-related plants to work. Due to the explosive decline in forests, grass and shrubs, bees find themselves at a loss of a place to call their “home”. Also, intensive agriculture commands more than 35% of the ice-free surface area, with it growing year-on-year.

3. Climate Change

The much talked about topic of climate change would have adverse effects on the growth of the population of wild pollinators. This erratic change in temperature, rainfall, and many other factors leads to a confusion in pollinators about the ongoing season.

4. Parasites

Parasites like Varroa mite have, over the years, led to a rapid loss of bee colonies. If research is to believed, then they are as inimical to bee health as are pesticides usage. When pollinators contract such parasites, they tend to experience a rapid decline in their immune system and find it hard to fight and fend off minor diseases. Now, that leads to an unaccounted number of deaths in pollinators.

What can an Open source beehive do

With the ever-growing grasp of technology over our normal lives, it would be wise to use this knowledge in preserving something that means so much to us. If we are able to create an healthy environment for our bees, then it would, in turn, also benefit us in the long run. Furthermore, such steps taken by an open source project  are always steps in the right direction, as it allows people to participate, modify, and collaborate on such an importa issue.

A decimation of their population due to climate change, pesticides, pathogens etc. could lead to a massive loss of our food security. Hence, Citizen science or public participation in scientific research is the need of the hour. If all of us come together to provide our opinion on the subject, then that time is not far away when the bee population would be more robust.

Also, when we utilize the help of technology, it becomes much easier for us to keep an observant check on bees and their conditions in beehives. This would also aid us in fending off any unwanted attack on them!

‘FICO’ Foodie Fun Park by Eataly Bologna Soon to Open

Eataly, the leading name in food retail for Italian cuisine, produce and culinary traditions, will soon be opening an exclusive theme park, unique in its kind: FICO – Eataly World. The project for this foodie fun park was born in 2013 and ever since, Eataly has focused its efforts into developing and expanding upon the initial idea until this year, and the park will be finally ready to open by the end of 2017.
The name of the park, ‘FICO’ comes from the acronym of Fabbrica Italiana Contadina, Italian Farming Factory in English, and it will represent over 2000 companies and will host 40 farming factories for a surface area of 11.000 square meters between farms and cultivations. The total surface of the park, located in the CAAB (The Agricultural Center in Bologna), is of 80.000 square meters. FICO will include educational courses and itineraries spanning through the farms and classes located across the park. The park also includes congress centers, restaurants and a market area to showcase produce from the territory, and products and ingredients of the Italian culinary tradition.

 

Benvenuto a Eataly!

What is the vision behind the project?

The mission and the vision behind this grand project is to teach and showcase how all parts of production, from the cultivation and breeding of raw ingredients to the final dish that can be prepared and brought to the dinner table by using them to their full potential, are equally important, not only for the excellence and quality of the final product, but for the development and ethical use of the territory of Italy.
FICO will not just be a park for foodies and tourists to enjoy food in all of its parts, step by step, but it will also be an educational experience, to learn with a new approach notions that are often underappreciated. FICO will be a bridge between generations, teaching young people the traditions and the lifestyle of those people who grow, process and bring food to our tables every day. The objective is to make people get more in touch with the natural environment in which we live and which is fundamental for our sustenance. This will be done at the park through activities and games that will cover the entire food production chain of the Italian agro-food industry.

What will you find at FICO?

Tourists, business partners and children visiting FICO will see the process of growing the raw ingredients in person, and touch with their own hands the produce and results of the farming done at FICO: they’ll have a chance to experience how biodiversity is a valuable asset in the growth of the raw materials and resources. Then, they will be able to join workshops to experience the processing of the ingredients according to local methods towards the creation of food and wines. Individuals, groups, children and families will be entertained with educational and hands-on tours and classes, and there will be many different types of restaurants and street-food stalls to choose from to try the products and dishes at the end of the educational experiences available at the FICO –Eataly World foodie park. But the options for people visiting the Fabbrica Italiana Contadina don’t end here. An extended area of 10.000 square meters will house an organic market and traditional craft stores, so that small and medium businesses of Italy will be able to showcase their manufacturing and crafting arts.
The best Italian companies, sponsoring the park and represented by it will be featured inside the context of a 4.000 square meter event and convention center. This area, at the heart of the park, will host conferences, team-building experiences and food-themed meetings for Italian partners and visitors from all around the world.

When will FICO open to the public?

The opening date hasn’t been released yet, so the best way to know when the park will open is to subscribe to FICO’s newsletter. You can also use the contact form at this link http://www.eatalyworld.it/en/contact-form to get in touch with the park’s team, or you could add FICO on social media through the name “Eataly World” and follow its development and hear the news about the park and it’s inauguration by following the hashtag #eatalyworld.
In the meantime, as we wait for this incredible foodie fun park to open its gates, we can get acquainted with its location and how to reach it.
The CAAB that hosts FICO grounds can be reached from Bologna’s Marconi international airport. Take the shuttle to Bologna’s central railway station and from here you can take the bus (line number 35) and in 30 minutes you’ll reach the FICO Eataly World gates (CAAB bus stop). If you’re going by car, use the motorway and FICO is located at the following address: Via Paolo Canali, 1 – 40127 Bologna.

How To Get a Reservation at Osteria Francescana? Actually, You Can’t

osteria francescana met Bottura

Or rather, you can try. But it might be more complicated than you’d imagine.

The world-famous award-winning, (three) Michelin star holding restaurant has become a celebrity of its own – one everyone who decides to visit Italy has at least once thought about eating at. And with good reason, since the dishes served by Chef Bottura at the Osteria Francescana find their roots in traditional, top-quality Emilian cuisine, but without forgetting to make a move towards the future, innovating and presenting products and produce with a refreshing, new look. The only problem? Booking a lunch or a dinner can be quite the process.

The Osteria’s Fame

In the past few years, Massimo Bottura, the chef behind the Osteria Francescana, has been praised and regarded by the culinary world for a number of reasons: for being true to his roots in his style, mission and choice of ingredients, for bringing innovative ideas – literally – to the table, and for creating new dishes that contribute to create a unique dining experience.
Thanks to this, Chef Bottura’s fame has skyrocketed to the Olympus of Italian haute-cuisine, making his restaurant, one of the most exclusive in Italy, and the best restaurant in the world, according to “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016”. The waiting list to book a table is of four months, so if you need to book for a specific date, or period of time (based on the days you’ll be in Modena), you need to be prepared.

How to Book

First of all, as we already established, the restaurant is fully booked, and sold out, for the next 4 months. New reservations start on April for the month of July, and so on.
At this link, http://www.osteriafrancescana.it/reservations/ you can see the reservations’ calendar with available dates and, if you skip forward using the arrows, you can see the instructions about booking a table: reservations open on a certain date and time, so if you want to get in early on the waiting list, prepare to call, or email the staff accordingly.
By making a reservation you are in fact inquiring about booking a table, and the Osteria will get back at you in the next 96 hours – enough time to sort the tables and pick clients from the waiting list for that date. If someone cancels their reservation, that’s all the more chance you have for your request to go through, but it can be though.
Being flexible with dates and times is a great way to get in the Osteria’s “good graces” and your reservation is more likely to be confirmed. A great way to show the staff you’re fine with multiple dates, and okay with going either at lunch or dinner is making a call.
For a successful call, remember to be nice and accommodating. Ask the staff if there’s something that can be done to fit you in, pointing out your availability.

More info can be found clicking on the following Quora and Tripadvisor links. Along with inquiries about how to make a reservation and how to contact the restaurant, you can also find other tips, reviews, and frequently asked questions about the Osteria’s dress-code and more.
https://www.quora.com/How-hard-is-it-to-get-a-reservation-at-Osteria-Francescana
https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/FAQ_Answers-g187803-d1160010-t918838-I_ll_be_in_Modena_in_a_few_months_how_did_you.html

Alternatives to the Osteria Francescana

Of course managing to find a spot at the Osteria can be done, but if you couldn’t book a table in time, or your reservation didn’t go through, don’t fret: there are more fantastic dining experiences to be had in and around Modena that’ll be sure to leave you a great memory (and after-taste) of your visit to the city.
Here are a couple of alternatives that you can rely on for a great lunch or dinner out, and don’t forget that the internet is always available if you need to look up restaurants and osterie on the spot. Or, you could just look around, and you’ll see plenty of quaint little places with great local and traditional menus.

The Osteria Franceschetta

Chef Bottura also manages this Osteria, with the collaboration of other famous chefs. The menu is rich of interesting, fusion-style dishes that still find their roots in Italian and local, Emilian cuisine, but without forgetting a twist in the presentation, tastes and colors.
Choosing this restaurant will make it so that you’ll still enjoy an incredible experience alongside Bottura’s ideas and creations but in a different ambient, with more affordable options that those of the Osteria Francescana, and a more relaxed booking experience.
Reservation is advised, and can be done through the Osteria’s website:
http://www.franceschetta.it/en/

L’Erba del Re – Award-winning Restaurant in Modena

This restaurant can boast one Michelin star, along with many other awards and great results achieved through the years. If you couldn’t get into Osteria Francescana, the Ristorante L’Erba del Re is an excellent alternative, with traditional and innovative dishes, made with locally sourced and top-quality ingredients. Tasting menus for a well-rounded culinary experience are available.
http://www.lerbadelre.it/

Sherry Wine tour in Jerez – Best Bodegas – Andalusia Spain

If penicillin can cure those that are ill, Spanish sherry can bring the dead back to life.

– Alexander Fleming

Gonzalez Byass 25

What comes to your mind when you hear the word, Sherry? Something that is sweet and dark? Some drink that shows up only on exclusive occasions before returning to the confines of the drinks cabinet, till next time.

Let’s get into it. Sherry is a Spanish fortified wine with more than 3,000 years of rich tradition to accompany. Wine when added to a distilled spirit (i.e. brandy) becomes a Sherry.

The word itself is an Anglicization of the Spanish word Xeres. The exclusivity of Sherry can be gauge from its protected designation of origin status in Europe. All the Sherry wines must legally be from the geographical region of Andalucía known, also known as the Sherry Triangle. Additionally, the words Jerez / Xérès / Sherry are registered by Spanish wine producers and anyone using them outside the production area will face legal consequences.

The thin layer of yeast placed on top of the sherry wines barrel is called Flor, it splits all wines produced by the Sherry Triangle into two principal categories.

The process starts with fermenting the must, extracted from the white grapes produced in Southwestern Spain. This is achieved by adding  yeasts or pie de cuba.T his results in a young wine with an approximate 13.5% alcohol. Additionally, right after the fermentation, flor will start developing on this young wine. Flor is a thin layer of yeast on top of the sherry wine barrels. This waxy foam of layer protects the wine from air exposure and keeps the character of the Sherry intact. After that, a carefully quantified selection is made to fortify the wine by adding a distilled spirit to it.

Oxidative Sherry

This Sherry is brewed partially or entirely without flor i.e. Amontillado and Oloroso.

In recent years a lot of research has been put in place to decode the microbiology of sherry wine making and the impact of a flor veil on top of the Sherry wine barrels. All of this is because of the fame attained by the biologically aged Sherries.

Wine aficionados opine that to cherish the real character and blossoming taste of this wonderfully idiosyncratic wine; it’s essential to serve it with the right kind of savory food.

3 Types Of Sherries To Try.

“If it swims, serve Fino; if it flies, serve Amontillado; if it runs, serve Oloroso”

Jeremy Rockett, Marketing Director of González Byass – Spain’s most well-known sherry bodegas.

FINO

Fino in the Spanish language means refined. It is traditionally the driest and also the palest type of Sherry. It is consumed soon after the bottle is opened because air can cause them to lose their characteristic flavor in a matter of hours.

It is said by wine aficionados that no wine blends that well with savory food than a properly aged Fino Sherry. For that very reason, an ice-cold Fino is a natural companion of Tapas (wide variety of Spanish appetizers)

That’s why the cuisines and wines of Andalucía have developed a very close bond over the centuries.

AMONTILLADO

Amontillado is a type of Sherry that after being aged under flor is then exposed to oxygen. It results in a Sherry that is darker in color than Fino, but is comparatively lighter than Oloroso.

Amontillado is naturally dry by nature. Although, occasionally sold with medium to light sweeteners. The sweetened Sherry cannot be labeled as Amontillado.

This type of Sherry is generally served chilled and mostly with food like chicken or rabbit. Traditionally, it is served with a thin gravy soup.

OLOROSO

Oloroso in Spanish means scented is a type of Sherry that’s been aged for a longer period of time than Fino or Amontillado resulting in a richly blended and darker wine containing alcohol levels between 18 to 20%.

Oloroso is not for the weak hearted as they are the most alcoholic Sherries. They are also dry by nature. Just like Amontillado, more often than not Olorosos are served in a sweetened form known as Cream Sherry. However, these sweetened versions cannot be labeled Oloroso.

Jerez

THE BEST BODEGAS IN JEREZ

Oxford defines bodega as a cellar or shop selling wine and food, especially in a Spanish-speaking country or area.

BODEGAS TRADICION – website

Cozy, friendly and quintessentially Spanish. Bodegas Tradicion prides itself in bottling only the most refined and fully-aged wines capable of giving sensory pleasures to its Winers and Diners.

The Bodegas Tradicion guarantees that their wines include no artificiality of chill-filtration, sulphites, cooked-wine, cold stabilization or caramel while maturing and bottling their signature wines.

The beauty of their Sherries is that they taste as good alone as they do with the right kind of dishes.

LUSTAU – website

Lustau’s origin goes way back to 1896. When, Don José Ruiz-Berdejo started operating a winery in his backyard to sell them to the bigger houses that bottled and exported the wines.

In the 19th century founder’s son-in-law, Don Emilio Lustau Ortega started expanding the business and the range of wines produced. Later in 1990, the Lustao Company was sold to Luis Caballero. That sale further allowed the company to grow and allowed it purchase six bodega buildings which were restored in 2001 and 2003 and now house all of the Lustau Wines.

Lustau markets as many as 40 different wines found within 8 categories and ranges. They are particularly famous in foreign markets i.e. the USA.

SANDEMAN – website

Despite its increasing popularity, experts believe that wine tourism movement is only operating at 20% of its projected potential and can easily be double in the near future. It can be said that SANDEMAN is playing its significant role even in that 20% wine tourism.

A crucial factor escalating the movement is wine roads, through wine-producing regions and through the major spring event of Open Cellars which attracts millions of tourists.

These Sherry Wine Tours in Jerez offers an opportunity to see how and where wine is made and can also spot the difference by tasting it at its source.

These tours also offer visitors an opportunity to get to know about the traditions and culture blended into wine making and the country life.

One can say that while the primary focus of the tourists is on tasting sensuous Sherries they also, subconsciously discover the uniqueness and scenic locales of Spain.

To conclude proverbially in Spanish,

Friends and wine should be old.

What To Do (and Eat) in Bologna in February

Carnevale di Cento 2010 (Carro dei Ribelli)

You would think February to be a pretty uneventful month. After all, the Holidays have just come and gone, so what in the world is left for me to see out there? If you’ve booked your trip to Italy and are finding yourself in Bologna during February, fret not – there is plenty to see and do.
Aside from the fact that you could be about to experience a super-romantic Valentine’s Day with your significant other during your Italian Holidays, between fine wine, delicious dishes and the perfect spots around the city for a date, February is also the month that will see Carnival celebrations and parade get out onto the streets.
While not quite as flashy as Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro world-renowned parade, in all cities of Italy you’ll be able to see wonderful and colorful displays of masks, costumes and fun activities!
But first, let’s take a look of the traditional and regional treats that you’ll only have a chance to enjoy during the Carnival season.

What To Eat

Zeppole,Frappe,Castagoli

As you might have noticed, food is a very important part of Italy and its traditions. Food marks a convivial and festive moment, and Carnival is the perfect moment to enjoy a number of sweet and interesting seasonal treats and desserts (which also help to really get in the mood to celebrate). Sweets are a staple of Carnival so be ready to party to the rhythm of a sugar rush.

Sfrappole

The name of this deep fried ribbons of dough is widely discussed in Italy, since each region and province (or even city) calls them by a different name. Known to the English-speakers as “Angel wings”, the pastries are served with a generous dusting of powdered sugar. Optimal sfrappole should be crispy, while also melting in a sugar paradise in your mouth. You’ll find these and other seasonal sweets in most bakeries or grocers, which are also supplied by local bakeries so that each treat will be produced according to the tradition.

Castagnole

Still deep-fried, still favored with a dusting of powdered sugar, the castagnole take their name from “chestnuts”. Not because it’s an ingredient, just because they’re round as a chestnut, golden and will fill you with energy. You might find these in a variety of types: with custard or chocolate filling, soaked in Alchermes liqueur or covered in honey.

Tortelli fritti

“Fritti” as in “fried”. This is another caloric treat that is sure to entice your sugar receptors. These pastries are truly a regional tradition and as such are a bit more complex and ingredients vary from bakery to bakery, from family to family. But mostly, they’re fried buns eaten plain or with a filling, and optionally a dusting of powdered sugar. Among the fillings you might find custard, home-made jams with raisins and such. Every tortello is a surprise!

But remember, food stands at every corner also mean it’s a great opportunity to taste other dishes and savoury treats both seasonal and regional.

What To Do

So, now that you’re energized and ready to go out in the city, what is there to do in Bologna?
Carnival will last from Thursday 23rd to Tuesday 28th of February, so here are the main parades and events to attend in cities around Bologna and in the city itself.
The Carnevale di Cento, in the city of Cento (province of Ferrara), is among the most famous celebrations of Italy. As such, it’ll last from Sunday 12th of February to the 12th of March with samba dancers, food stands and catwalks and contests for the best masks.
Most cities’ parades showcase floats decorated according to themes or pop culture, but in the city of Comacchio (Ferrara) the “Carnevale sull’acqua” will feature literal floats parading over the waters of the city’s canals on Sunday 19th an Sunday 26th of February. Don’t miss the seafood and fish delicacies, and the activities for children!
To enjoy true traditional seasonal dishes and treats, you can pop by the Carnevale di San Pietro in Casale. The town in the province of Bologna will offer catwalks and parades of beautiful masks and plentiful food stands for every taste.
If you’re more interested in seeing floats and buskers than masks and costumes, the Carnevale dei Fantaveicoli, an eco-sustainable parade in Imola that will take place on the 26th of February is the event for you.
On the other hand, if you enjoy traditional and Renaissance-style costumes and the idea of a more historic re-enactment of Carnival parties from the 1400’s, be sure to check out the Carnevale Rinascimentale Estense from the 23rd to the 26th of February. No floats will welcome you, but just the wonderful costumes inspired to noble and historical figures of the city of Ferrara and it’s court. Buskers, jugglers and street artists will entertain you as you wait for themed events and shows to take place on the last day of Carnival in the Piazza Municipale.
There’s plenty to choose from, and anything goes, as long as you can truly experience the exhilaration and festive atmosphere of Carnival with foods, entertainment and masks.

A Week In Bologna? 7 Pasta Delicacies For You!

Bologna is a beautiful city in Northern Italy. You can take pictures with the leaning tower, wander through the streets of Quandrilatero, visit the Museum of History and enjoy Bolognese specialties. Bolognese pasta delicacies lure many tourists every year. I am listing down the best pasta dishes you must try in Bologna and where to find them. If you spend a week in Bologna, you can try one special pasta dish every day.

A Bologna classic... Lasagne. The best I ever had. Ever.
Lasagne in Bologna? Hungry now!

Tortellini.

Tortellini name after the belly-button as they do appear like a navel. There is an interesting story about how Tortellini came into existence. Once, Pope’s daughter, Lucrezia Borgia stayed at an Inn in the town of Castelfranco Emilia. The Innkeeper finding her extremely beautiful, tried to peep through the keyhole in her room and got a glance of her beautiful navel. Impressions of her navel never left the mind of the Innkeeper and he made Tortellini during the euphoric state he was unable to get out of.
Tortellini are delicious and generally served in broth of chicken or beef. Generally, they contain a mixture of meat and sometimes cheese. These small parcels filled with so many different flavors are so delicious that you will keep craving for more even if you are full.

Where to try
You can try delicious Tortellini at Trattoria Anna Maria, but make sure it’s not Monday, as they are closed on Monday.

Lasagne

One of the finest Italian cuisine, you just cannot afford to miss this one while you are in Bologna. The key ingredients for Lasagne are Bolognese sauce and fresh pasta. Many places claim to be the birth place of Lasagne, but generally, Bologna is accepted as its place of origin. Sheets of Lasagne Pasta are layered with Parmesan, bolognese sauce, bechamel, etc. and baked to produce the best flavors for your taste buds. Some people also recommend to let the lasagne settle for one day and expect a better texture and flavor on the second day.
Lasagna appears to be as a tower of food and they are, so maybe the architecture of Bologna inspired the cooks to build a tower of foods.

Where to try
A restaurant, not so far from Downtown, with an amusing decor, Osteria Satyricon serves amazing Lasagne.

Tortelloni

They are stuffed mainly with with ricotta cheese and spinach, look like Tortellini, but 2-3 times larger in size. They are generally served with melted butter, Parmesan and sage or ragu. Though Tortelloni sound and look like Tortellini, but they taste entirely different. Extremely thin dough is rolled and being larger in size, obviously more fillings go in Tortelloni. Tortelloni contains mainly veggies and ricotta and generally easier to digest as greens contain more fibers. Other than ricotta and spinach, other ingredients like  parmesan, nutmeg find their place in the fillings of Tortelloni.

Where to try
Ristorante Diana, located close to eight square parking August.

Passatelli

Passatelli means, ‘to pass them through’. A special tool, iron for passatelli is used to give it its typical form. Pasta dough balls are pressed and cut when they are around 4 cms long. Passatelli are composed of stale breadcrumbs, grated parmesan cheese and eggs. They are prepared in broth traditionally, but nowadays preparation may include tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, prawns and many other ingredients. Passatelli are poured into boiling chicken stock and it lets them absorb all the flavor from the stock inside out. They are eaten generally in the evening.

Where to try
Trattoria dal Biassanot. It is advisable to book a table in advance, especially if you are planning to go there on a weekend.

Tagliatelle

They look like flat ribbons and prepared with egg pasta. It is said that a court chef took inspiration from Lucrezia D’Este’s hairstyle at her marriage and then keeping that in mind, prepared ribbon like pasta and tried to match the hair of Lucrezia with his dish. Later on, it came out to be a humorous story cooked by Augusto Majani.
A gold replica of tagliatelle has been kept in glass case at the Chamber of Commerce, Bologna.

Ragu’ is one of its main ingredients and you can find many different variations of it throughout the Italy. There is no one variety of ragu’ which is better than the rest, it simply varies with individual preferences. Tagliatelle go particularly well with meaty and earthy sauces and that’s why Bolognese sauce is the most served sauce with Tagliatelle.

Where to try
You can try them at Osteria Dell’Orsa near Piazza Maggiore. They don’t accept reservations and open everyday from 12:30.

Cannelloni.

Cannelloni at Ti Piacera

Fine pasta sheets are rolled into cylinders and make them suitable to contain all kinds of fillings from spinach, and ricotta being the most traditional. It is browned in the oven to bring out all the flavors of ingredients and topped with besciamella before being served. 

Where to try

Antica Trattoria del Pontelungo, located in the outskirts. You can make reservations for your convenience.

Rosette

These rolled pasta hold together the flavors of cheese, ham and egg to let you savor all the goodness in each bite. Some people also like to add nutmeg in the ingredients. These rolled and cut pieces of pasta containing the goodness of Parmesan, ham and other ingredients are cooked lightly in the over for 20 minutes before they are soft and delicious.

Where to try
Trattoria Aldina, located in the Modena Town Centre, just 20 minutes by train from Bologna, Open only for lunch, no reservation taken. In a lovely ambiance, you will find your rosette even more delicious.

So, let your taste buds go for a joyride with the ingredients of these awesome pasta delicacies in Bologna. I am sure, your love for pasta will bring you back to Bologna over and over again, just like many fellow travelers. I am sure after trying all the listed dishes, you will fall in love with Pasta all over again. All the suggested restaurants provide a very distinct ambiance that certainly make your food more delicious in an unknown way. So, not just beautiful places like Piazza Maggiore, San Luca or Archiginnasio will bring you back to Bologna, but the food will compel you to travel to Bologna again.

Travel Agent Tip: How To Avoid a Poor Deal For Your Travel Money.

What is the best way to get travel money and how do I avoid getting a poor deal?

Preparing to go on holiday can be a stressful time. Deadlines to meet, clothes to wash and bags to pack – there’s lots to think about.
One thing that often gets left until the last minute – but never gets less important – is sorting out your holiday money. Getting it isn’t difficult, but knowing where to go for a good deal is.
So we’ve done a bit of research and put together a guide. Follow this and avoid any nasty financial shocks when you get home.
Never exchange money at the airport.
This is a super-easy rule to follow: Simply don’t use bureaux de change at the airport to exchange your currency. Ever.
It might seem like a convenient option, and it is, but the exchange rate is always horrible and at that late stage what other choice do you have but to accept it?
Don’t be fooled by a sign that reads “0% Commission”, the fees are often hidden in a poor exchange rate. This is a good rule to follow in general: When a sign reads “0% COMMISION”, it’s usually too good to be true.
Using your UK debit/credit is super-easy but can be super-expensive.
Of course, you may get to the airport, see those poor rates and decide to use your UK card abroad. More and more travellers are opting to take their regular debit/credit cards away anyway.
This is by far the easiest option and requires no effort whatsoever apart from packing your wallet. The thing is – you’ll often spend a considerable amount on fees.
Let’s take a Halifax debit card, for example. If you were using your card in Rome – they would charge you £1.50 for each point-of-sale transaction and/or £1.50 for every ATM withdrawal. On top of that, a 2.75% conversion commission is charged each time. Costly.

Don’t exchange abroad

Of course, you could just do the exchange once you reach your destination. The problem is you’re still going to have to hunt around for the best rate.
Spending the first day of your holiday scanning for the best deal doesn’t sound like much fun, wouldn’t you rather be having a glass of wine and picking at some olives?Also, what about paying for your taxi from the airport?

Prepaid cards are usually the cheapest way.

Prepaid cards are cards that you load up with currency before you go and use when you’re on holiday like a debit card here.
Imagine a prepaid card is like a pay-and-go mobile contract. You can’t spend until you’ve loaded it with money but there are lots of benefits once you have.
Like a pay and go – you can track exactly what you’ve spent and how much you’re spending. You can also ‘top up’ anytime. The rates are much better than most other options and unusually, rates are fair and transparent.
The guys at Money Saving Expert know their stuff, they’ve reviewed all of the UK options. 
We really like WeSwap which is a prepaid card with a difference.
Instead of buying money from a trader and selling to you – like most banks and bureaux do, WeSwap actually swaps money between travellers heading in opposite directions.
Swapping is obviously much cheaper and therefore so is WeSwap. They noe have 200,000 travellers in their community and just raised over £2 million in crowdfunding.

Beware of dynamic currency conversion

Cash machines and some vendors will ask you when making a transaction whether you wish to make it in pounds or in the local currency.
It very rarely pays to make the payment in pounds. This is due to the fact that the overseas vendor is making the conversion, usually at a less than favourable rate.
In short, always select to pay in the local currency.
If you’ve already swapped into Euros – which you will have done with a prepaid card – you don’t need the ATM to convert because you’ve already done it! This is just a way for the local bank to try and make some extra money.

Don’t take a packet of cash, it’s not 1997.

A surprising amount of people still nip down to somewhere like the Post Office or M&S, swap all their money and take it in their suitcases.
Not only are these traditional providers often expensive – how often do you walk around with hundreds and hundreds of pounds in your wallet in the UK?
Even if you hide a few hundred Euro under a mattress, in a ball of socks or inside the curtain it’s not exactly bullet proof. If it doesn’t get stolen, it is easy to lose and you’ exchange rate would have been poor anyway.

Keep an eye on the markets and watch out for elections.
It is worth keeping an eye on the FX markets in the lead up to your trip and bearing in mind the potential impact of politics.
Two surprise election results had volatile consequences on the FX markets in 2016. Firstly, the British public voted to leave the European Union, and secondly the American public voted Donald Trump as their next president.
Both of these decisions had a negative impact on their respective country’s currency. Basically, markets don’t like uncertainly and new leaders and political change often mean uncertainty.
Shrewd travellers may have exchanged some money pre-election so as not to be affected by the result. Obviously this isn’t very practical but it helps to have a little knowledge of these things so you can make a measured decision.

Christmas Markets in Bologna

If you find yourself looking for something to do to pass the time, to explore and live the city during your stay in Bologna, there’s nothing better than to take a look at the many, varied Christmas markets dotting the streets during the month of December.
Sheltered by the arcades and towering architecture of Bologna, you’ll be free to stroll to the various locations that will house different markets and displays of antiquities, hand-made crafts and gifts. And don’t forget that the city has many other things to offer, and that you can enjoy to add a little something more to your experience: food stalls, bars, restaurants and cafés will offer unique treats of wintertime, perfect to soothe you and warm you up.
If, indeed, you’re looking for trinkets, gifts or even more special objects and mementos of all kinds, keep an eye out and be sure to be around when these Christmas markets take place.

Antica Fiera di Santa Lucia (Ancient Festival of Saint Lucy)

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The Ancient Fair of Saint Lucy will take place along the arcades of the Church of Santa Maria dei Servi: it’s a tradition for the city, and the region, and it’s the epitome of Christmas markets and Winter shopping. Lasting until the 26th, you’ll have plenty of time to revel in the Christmas atmosphere of the city’s Christmas tree, food stalls with typical Winter treats, a thriving and lively market with all sorts of objects and gift ideas and exhibitions with hand-crafted creations.

Fiera di Natale (Christmas Fair)

On the right side of the Cathedral of Saint Peter, at the core of Bologna, the traditional Christmas Fair will be taking place for the whole month of December until the 8th of January, allowing visitors and tourists plenty of time to take a look at the many stalls offering all sorts of gift ideas, trinkets, hand-made objects and even sweet and savory Winter-time snacks.

Natale a Porta Galliera (Christmas at Porta Galliera)

Piazza XX Settembre in Bologna will be the location for a small Christmas market that will last all the way to the 1st of January, giving you a chance to go shopping for late presents, or to buy interesting items even after Christmas. There’s a carousel to entertain children, as well as food stalls to entice everyone.

Handicrafts in Via San Giuseppe in December

For the month of December, lasting until the 24th, two markets displaying hand-crafts and hand-made products will be taking place along Via San Giuseppe: they’re the “DecoMela Art” and “Colors” markets, showcasing creations made of wood, natural materials, leather, gems, glass and stones, bijoux and jewelry as well as cloth items. Be sure to visit Via San Giuseppe and its hand-crafts market if you want to find unique and custom made gifts for your friends and family, or even just something to decorate your house with.

Mercato Antiquario (Antiques Open-Air Market)

A great display of antiques, trinkets and knick-knacks, both meant for the Winter holidays as well as home décor all year round, will be taking place on Sunday 11th and the weekend of Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th along Via Santo Stefano. The Traditional Bologna Antique Market is a staple in the city’s Christmas traditions and the location, in the square in front of the Basilica di Santo Stefano, makes the experience all the more suggestive.

La Piazzola in December

Aside from the weekly appointments on Fridays and Saturdays, the Piazzola will offer a dedicated Christmas market full of incredible stalls with displays of many different trinkets and gift ideas during the month of December. Be sure to hop by the Piazza VIII Agosto on Sunday 11th and Sunday 18th to see the Christmas ideas on offer for what concerns clothes, shoes, accessories, pottery, jewelry and more.
Fiera dell’Antiquariato (Antiques’ Fair)
From the 12th to the 24th of December, the Fiera dell’Antiquariato will be waiting for you to come by and take a look at an amazing display of original and valuable antiques to purchase as Christmas gifts for yourself or your loved ones. The antique market will take place at the heart of the old town center, under the Voltone del Podestà. Looking around the stalls, you’ll be able to find antiques, modern-antiques, knick-knacks, unique objects and paintings.

Villaggio di Natale Francese (French Christmas Market)

You have time until the 21st of December to head over to Piazza Minghetti to enjoy the wonderful display of stalls and decorations that make up the Christmas market, with its mesmerizing atmosphere and French setting that will be sure to captivate you. Enjoy typical French gastronomic specialties and products such as fine wine, cheeses and baked goods, and save some money to purchase delightful trinkets and accessories to gift or to decorate your home for the holidays with.

5 Art Museums in Bologna That Will Blow your Mind.

As a city with an important history of art, it’s only natural that the culture of Bologna would reflect in an abundance of museums and exhibitions available to all who seek to discover the past of this incredible cultural center. The choice of places to visit in this regard is wide, offering artworks and masterpieces of all ages and origins to satisfy even the most avid art-lovers.

Stroll through the city and you’re sure to find these museums, and many others, on your path: it’ll be an exciting and mesmerizing journey through the centuries, seeing works from artists who made the history of art in Bologna, and Italy.

Bologna museum

Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna

The Pinacoteca is just a couple minutes away from le Due Torri (the Two Towers, symbol of Bologna) and consists of 30 halls for permanent exhibitions, and other areas that host temporary exhibitions, workshops and conferences. The exposition is divided by historical period, and the journey through art in the Pinacoteca goes from XIII and XIV century artists to Renaissance masters such as Rafael and Tintoretto, and again to the artists of the current of Mannerism like the Vasari, and Baroque one such as the Carracci, the Guercino, and more. Lastly, you’ll get the chance to see large scale 1600’s paintings.

Museo Civico Archeologico

Near the Basilica of San Petronio, at the heart of the city, you’ll find the Archeological City Museum. The Museum hosts many collections from different historical periods: sections about the Kingdom of Egypt and the Ptolemaic Dynasty, the Prehistorical Section and the Bronze Age are also exhibited, and an important exhibition of over 4000 pieces from the Etruscan collection are hosted. For the lovers of Ancient Rome, the Museum can offer great and relevant pieces from the 1st and 2nd centuries b.C. along with the most important Numismatic collection in Italy with over 100 thousand samples of Greek, Roman and Byzantine coins.

Museo Civico Medievale

The building that houses the Museum is a masterpiece in and on itself, being a perfect example of Bolognese architecture and a former noble residence dating back to the 15th century. The most important part of the museum is dedicated to the Middle Ages, of particular relevance are the Early Middle Ages artifacts and the gold-plated copper statue of Boniface VIII built in 1301. A museum such as this one couldn’t avoid a reference to the roots of the history of Bologna itself, and for this reason it also hosts many funeral sculptures of teachers from the renowned University of Bologna. The Museum also displays the development and growth of Renaissance art thanks to other important artworks from the 15th and 16th century. For those of you who have a passion for the Middle Ages, a collection of armors (particularly interesting is the jousting armor exposition) and of manuscripts with 13th-16th century Bolognese masterpieces are sure to enchant you.

Collezioni Comunali d’Arte

The Municipal Art Collection represent the closing stage of the reorganization of the municipal museums: the original collection, the core of artworks belonging to the previous town government has been added to with art pieces from local collectors, together with the properties from dismantles religious orders and donations from wealthy families and citizens through the centuries. Founded in 1936, the collections are hosted in rooms still important historically and artistically to this day, and the exhibitions is displayed in an unique way: not necessarily chronologically but more like a “furnished museum” where canvasses, furniture and furnishings mark the sequence of historical rooms opening into one another. The Vidonian Hall recalls the Baroque gallery arrangement with interspersed paintings and sculptures; in the Rusconi rooms, the arrangement of furnishings evokes images of 18th century mansions for a one-of-a-kind, immersive experience.
In the museum is also the most important example of Bolognese Baroque, in the form of the Sala Urbana or “Coats of Arms’ Hall”, a room designed to display Michele Colonna’s ceiling decorations, a true statement of Baroque art.

Mambo – Bologna’s Museum of Modern Art

The MAMbo goes in a completely different direction, hosting Modern Art in the form of a visual experience. The Permanent Exhibition traces the history of Italian art from WWII to the present day. The permanent collection is organized in nine thematic areas that represent some of the most innovative aspects of art from the second half of the twentieth century to the present day. The aim of the museum is to let people of all age groups get into contact with innovative forms of art and artworks, and start a dialogue based on the themes of the works hosted here.
The Museum also includes and hosts other exhibitions, such as the Museo Morandi, temporarily housed here. 85 works from Giorgio Morandi can be seen at the MAMbo in an itinerary through the years and personal history of the artist.

Coffee and Gelato Experience Tour

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This tour will allow you to discover hands on how to make the perfect espresso, cappuccino and caffe’ latte. Participants will be visiting one of the most famous coffee maker in the province of Bologna and Modena, where they will take a one hour Italian coffee-making experience with a local trained barista. Following the coffee experience we will be visiting the Ice Cream museum in Anzola Emilia at the Carpigiani factory. Here you will be taking a guided tour with gelato sampling at the museum where you will learn the basic of gelato making.
This tour also include a visit to a balsamic vinegar maker.

Time: Leaving at 9.30 am and returning at 4 pm. Tuesday to Saturday, excluding Italian national holidays. Min. 2 adults.  This is a private tour just for your group.

What is included:

Transport from Modena train station or Modena Hotel is standard. We can also pick you from Bologna however this is an extra, please see booking calendar for pricing.

  • 1 hour hands on barista course in Vignola (Modena)
  • Visit to Carpigiani Gelato museum in Anzola (Bologna)
  • English-speaking driver and guide.
  • Free visit to Balsamic vinegar maker. (Modena)
  • Free Gourmet gift.