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Often, the smaller and more unknown eateries are the likeliest to be the tastiest and most memorable. In late July to early August, my family and I traveled to Milan, and then drove to Bologna, home of the succulent Bolognese sauce. Following Bologna, we went to Florence, Rome and Sicily. Upon arrival in Bologna, we walked around, saw what we could, and decided to satisfy our craving for a tagliatelle alla Bolognese at the closest restaurant: Ristorante Da Cesari. A cozy and trustworthy restaurant was exactly what was needed after a long day of travel and walking. Each member of my family, naturally, ordered a Bolognese. If you think you have tasted the best Bolognese sauce, I can guarantee you that you have not. Let this photo persuade you:Tagliatelle alla BologneseThe pasta was fresh and had a slight bite back, while the sauce was a bit chunky whose flavor surpassed my expectation tenfold. Following the pasta, I had Coniglio (rabbit) with capers, olives and cipollina onions sitting atop two discs of polenta. The meat was tender and flavorful, and the rabbit’s environment on the plate enhanced each and every flavor.

RabbitThat night we drove to Florence and slept. The next morning, we went to a town which I have been dying to go to for several years: Scarperia. Scarperia is a municipality within Florence. The town is world-renowned for its production of knives. Being that the only road from the North to Florence ran through Scarperia, travelers brought with them their own regional pocket knives. Each knife’s shape is particular to a region, giving insight on many characteristics of the knife’s native region. I purchased a Zuava knife, the traditional Scarperia knife used all over Tuscany, from an elder man who owned a small, yet well-respected knife shop in Scarperia.

Scarperia TowerAfter roaming the small town we searched for an outdoor restaurant for lunch. We came across Il Torrione on Via Roma, 78. Manned (or, in this case, “womanned”) by one waitress, Il Torrione, meaning “the tower,” is easily in my top three restaurants I have been to.Ristorante Il Torrione

I started with burrata and prosciutto crudo, which was magnificent. The prosciutto tasted of excellent quality, as did the creamy burrata.Burrata and Prosciutto CrudoFollowing my antipasto was pappardelle al cinghiale (wild boar). If I ever crave a pasta dish, it is this one. The sauce was superb, exceeding anything I have ever had. The pasta, which one would expect, was fresh and perfectly cooked.

Pappardelle al CinghialeBecause the smell of the dish on the table next to ours was so enticing, we had to order it: potato ravioli with summer truffle. One can easily be fooled as to the price of this ravioli dish; at less than 20 euros, it was a no-brainer to order. No words needed.Ravioli with TruffleCantuccini, a traditional Tuscan biscuit, and Vin Santo, a dessert wine, sealed the meal and we rolled our merry way out of Scarperia.

Cantuccini and Vin Santo

Stay around for a Part Two post coming very soon!