Bologna, for me, is divided into two areas; the historical city center which everyone here refers to as the centro and outside the city center. It is funny because Bologna is not that big but these two areas, which border each other, seem like different worlds. It is such a different mindset when you are going to go somewhere in the city center versus outside of the city center. If I am going into the city center, I am going to be walking whereas if I go outside of the city center I will be driving. The city center feels comfortable, like a well-worn in pair of shoes, and it is like being at home in that it affords endless possibilities. Breakfast in the city center can lead to going shopping or visiting a museum which leads to lunch and then more meandering around until it is time for aperitivo with friends and then dinner. There are endless possibilities. Outside of the city center is a little more business-like. There is a mission, you get in the car, drive to your destination, accomplish the goal, and drive home. It is because I feel so differently about these two parts of my city that when people inquire about my favorite places (e.g. for gelato, food markets, restaurants) I always have to classify my in the city favorites and my out of the city favorites. For every favorite I have in the city – I have an equal but opposite favorite outside of the city.
So why explain all of this? Well, today I would like to tell you about my favorite breakfast place outside of the city center. This is a place that many people, residents and visitors alike, might find a bit scomodo (uncomfortable) to get to but that I guarantee is worth the trip. The place is called La Caramella and it is the pasticceria (bakery) of Gino Fabbri, a real genius with pastry, and funnily enough but also perfectly enough, it is located at the Granarolo milk company – one of the biggest milk producers in the area. The outside of the bakery does not look like much but once you step inside you can tell you are somewhere special.
|La Caramella my favorite pasticceria outside of the city center. Click here for the address.|
On the mornings when I am very lucky, I will arrive just as a big tray of fresh brioche salata (plain croissants)are being taken out of the oven.
When that happens I have no doubt what I will order for breakfast. The fresh, hot croissant is buttery and super flaky (you will make a mess as you eat your croissant – you just have to accept it – don’t be embarrassed and don’t try to fight it) and perfectly satisfying. If I feel like a change of pace, I will try one of the seasonal offerings; last summer, they had brioche with rich, eggy custard and fresh cherries and in fall they will often have brioche with the always popular chestnuts. After ordering a brioche, I proceed over to the bar where I place my coffee order –most likely a cappuccino.
Most people will stand at the bar to eat their pastry and drink their coffee (Italian style!!) but there are also a few tables available inside and outside. Then on the way out, I am always, always tempted by the pasticcini (little pastries) and the gorgeous cakes.
Often times, I will get an after breakfast treat of a pasticcini and I am dreaming of getting one of their beautiful cakes for my birthday.
Like I said, I highly recommend this place if you find yourself in Bologna. I think all of my friends who have come to Bologna and my mom would agree – it is worth the short car ride, taxi ride, bus, or bike ride from Bologna to have breakfast there.
P.S. There is also an amazing shop next door to the bakery with a great selection of dairy products and fresh pasta, among other things. Last time I went in there I got a piece of prize winning (literally it had won a price at a national cheese competition) blue cheese with blueberries. It was delicious!