Cooking in Bologna: The Perfect Weekend Break

Calling All Foodies: Get to Bologna Now!

Fresh Pasta for sale

Fresh pasta for sale in the center of Bologna.

Teaching in Spain can be stressful— commuting to your school, whiny kids, teacher drama, and private classes can make you a little crazy by Friday afternoon. Luckily, there are countless places to escape the workweek and enjoy a weekend break. In fact, almost all of the English teachers we’ve interviewed here at Teach and Travel Spain came to Spain in large part to teach, but also to travel as much as possible within Spain and Europe during their year or two abroad.

I had been hearing a lot about Bologna and the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, and when I realized that the famous Ryanair offered a cheap flight from Madrid (50€ roundtrip with all fees etc.) I booked it and began to plan food themed trip, being that Bologna is the food capital of Italy (and I love to eat!).

You can’t have a foodie weekend in Bologna without taking a cooking class. Cooking in Bologna is akin to skiing in Aspen– you just have to do it! So the next time you pry open a box of pasta– think twice. Did you know that with only eggs, flour (and a couple of hours of instruction) you could be making infinitely better fresh pasta all by yourself?

Egg and Flour

Pasta’s main ingredients.

Okay, it isn’t quite so simple (there is lots of skill involved) but that’s why a cooking class in Bologna is a must do when visiting this food obsessed city. Food is everywhere in Bologna and what I tried was consistently better (and cheaper) than the food I’ve tried in Florence and Rome in the past. Although Bologna has plenty of tourists, it seems like many visitors still haven’t strayed from the Rome, Florence, Venice triangle– leaving Bologna quite unaltered by heavy tourism (so get there now!). Only a two hour flight from Madrid, eating and cooking in Bologna is seriously the perfect weekend escape to de-stress from your busy teaching schedule.

 Taste of Italy Cooking Classes in Bologna

We took our cooking class with Maribel from Taste of Italy and I can’t recommend her enough. Originally from Puerto Rico, Maribel has spent most of her adult years in Italy, where she has become the resident expert in Bolognese food and home cooking. The three hours classes held in Maribel’s home teach you the basics (and beyond) of traditional Bolognese dishes of your choice.

Maribel teaches us.

Maribel teaching us how to roll out the dough.

I would recommend the dishes that we chose to make (they were that good), which were big tortolloni filled with roasted pumpkin and parmesan cheese and fresh tagliatelle pasta with the tradition Bolognese ragu, a hearty meat sauce that I can’t wait to make again here at home.

Making tortelloni

Making the tortelloni is harder than it looks!

Fresh pasta

Our tortelloni are ready to be boiled and served.

Don’t look for any pasta machines in Maribel’s kitchen– you have to work for your lunch. Get ready to exercise your muscles by rolling out the dough! But your hard work is well worth it as you sit down to devour your masterpieces with a fantastic glass of local wine, and even better company.


Homemade tagliatelle with ragu.


Homemade pumpkin tortelloni with butter and sage sauce and a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar.

For more information about Maribel’s cooking classes in Bologna, make sure to check out her website (also a great Bolognese food resource) Taste of Italy.

 Where would you be most interested in taking a cooking class? What type of cuisine?


  1. I found cheap flights to Bologna for our five year anniversary. You’ve just convinced me to go!

  2. John Peterson says:

    Bologna is wonderful for “foodies”. We took some classes at CIBO the Culinary Institute of Bologna. They have 2 locations. One is in downtown Bologna and the other in a beautiful villa in nearby Ravenna. We loved working with two chefs in two locations and the website is great. Before we came we lived the fast responses from Marcello, who not only answered questions about the cooking class but gave us great information about Bologna. Stefano should have his own Tv show…informative, professional and a fantastic sense of humor! Georgia and Sara were wonderful too…real chefs who know what they are doing and great teachers and all speak English well. CIBO stands for Culinary institute of Bologna… We read great reviews on them and now after attending their classes it’s true what they wrote on their website….”we don’t want to meet your needs we want to exceed your expectations”. THEY DID.

    We live in Chicago and are “foodies” and we thought were experts on Italian cuisine…..but we learned so much about great Emiilia Romagna dishes that we never heard of before….we made a pasta out of breadcrumbs and pasta and learned the real authentic way to make pasta using a 36 inch rolling pin!

    When we come back we will check out where you went but the chef instructors at CIBO will be hard to beat…love reading your blog!,, “so much great Italian food….so little time,”

    • I look forward to meeting you next time you visit lovely Bologna. It looks like we have a pasta challenge in the making! 🙂

      Word to the wise: CIBO,Culinary Institute of Bologna is NOT an official Culinary Institute like that in America or in France (notice that official culinary Institutes carry the nation’s name, not city name). CIBO,Culinary Institute of Bologna is a name like any other, just like Taste of Italy is.


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  2. […] what we did and try one of Maribel’s cooking classes as the perfect pairing to your food tour in Bologna. /* Share this: Filed Under: Bologna, […]

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