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Report 1104: Perfect Piemonte and Bella Bologna: A Succulent Journey for the Senses and Soul

By Palma from California, Fall 2006

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Page 16 of 18: Arrividerci Emilia-Romagna, But What a Way To Go!

photo by Palma

Pranzo at La Buca

It was a rainy, Sunday morning. We woke up early, had a quick croissant and coffee, checked out, loaded the car, and left Bologna. Both Brad and I were sad about our wonderful trip coming to an end, and the dreary weather matched our slightly depressed mood. We had decided to spend our night before travel near the airport outside of Milan. We had no real plan for the day, other than to make our way S-L-O-W-L-Y to our Malpensa hotel by dark.

We stopped in Parma for coffee, but it was pouring, and we had been to Parma on a past trip, so we returned to the A-1. Then I remembered I had printed Jim Zurer’s recommendation of La Buca in Zibello, somewhere off the Fidenza Exit. It was in my SlowTrav bag in the back seat! We drove through the tiny towns toward Zibello, and the sun came out. We found La Buca, but had no reservation. It was noon on a Sunday! Cars were pulling up from all directions. When we asked for a table, they took our name and told us to come back at 2:00. We spent a lovely two hours in the only bar in town, reading our books, and watching at least two dozen local men play cards. I bought a huge chunk of parmigiano cheese at the store next door to the bar. We returned to La Buca and waited another half an hour for a table.

The wait was worth every hungry minute. The aromas alone were worth the stop. We had the local culatello di Zibello as antipasto, then had two fabulous pastas: Agnolini pasticciati "La Buca" (a sausage/tomato sauce) for Brad, and "Bucaneve" (rolled thin crispelle pasta stuffed with ricotta, spinach, and bechemel sauce) for me. We shared a secondi of anatra (duck) with parmigiano-reggiano/bread stuffing, roasted potatoes, and mostarda di mele. Finally, we finished with Bavarese (crema and cioccolato semi-freddo soaked in rum) and coffee. The total was 66 Euro with acqua and vino. How was THAT for a nice last dinner in Italy?

We left La Buca, stopped at an ATM, got cold drinks, and were back on the autostrada. In an hour and a half, we arrived at Hotel Villa Malpensa, across from Terminal 1. It is a large, beautiful villa, set back from the road on a sprawling lawn with trees and a grand circular driveway with port cochere. Inside, were many comfortable and elegant touches, a restaurant, cozy bar, and Wifi!

We checked-in, went to see our spacious room, had a glass of wine in the lobby’s comfortable wifi area, and spent an hour on the computer. We had no need for dinner or snacks, though I did manage to down three cappucini before bed at 10:30.

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