The 5 best bakeries in Bologna selected by Gambero Rosso

Nov 17 2023, 11:57
From traditional breads like Montasù, Mustafà or Crocette, to larger, more modern formats. Here's where to find the best bread in Bologna

There are five bakeries highlighted in our latest guide, Pane e Panettieri d’Italia guide (Bread and Bakeries of Italy), ranging from the most traditional to the most contemporary: there's something for every palate. A special mention undoubtedly goes to Forno Brisa and Calzolari, which cultivate some of the grains used in their bread, transforming their bakeries into fully-fledged agricultural projects. This has numerous virtuous consequences for the environment and sustainability, not being subject to stock market fluctuations. This advantage extends to those who use flours sourced from local farmers and millers.

The Best Bakeries in Bologna

La Bottega dei Grani Antichi

Under the long arcade of Via Saragozza, just before the ascent leading to the Sanctuary of San Luca, there's a charmingly old-fashioned bakery, furnished with small tables and chairs reminiscent of the 1970s. All the bread is made from ancient grains and sourdough, shaped into rustic-looking loaves with a dense crumb: a style not commonly found that evokes the old country products. Options include varieties like the farmer's loaf, five cereals, whole grain, semolina, and spelt in a loaf. The rustic approach extends to other baked goods, such as pizza by the slice, which can be enjoyed on-site with beverages or wine available on the shelves, along with biscuits and typical Bolognese sweet ravioli.

Via Saragozza, 225 – 051 19986697

Forno Brisa

Describing it solely as a bakery is extremely reductive, even though the central core of production remains focused on bread and leavened products. There are five stores in the city, with the latest opening on Via Laura Bassi Veratti at the end of 2022, coinciding with the expansion of the historic headquarters on Via Galliera. Among the large loaves baked daily, the most distinctive is the Nocciano made with a blend of soft grains grown in the fields owned in Abruzzo. Equally famous are the country bread, durum wheat bread, and rye loaf. Excellence is also found in the realm of pizza by the slice, always creatively adorned with high-quality ingredients, as well as in the pastry section offering excellent pastries and brioches.
Coffee and chocolate are also highlights at Forno Brisa: ingredients sourced from producers ensuring sustainable cultivation and processed in-house for a result of high value, including social and environmental aspects. Currently, they're working on producing their famous panettone variations, including the vegan version called the "Veganone" and the Strude, which is the community's favorite flavor. Additionally, their initiative with the "Ugly but Good" panettone is noteworthy – these are technically and organoleptically perfect, yet they may have some aesthetic flaws, sold at a lower price for this reason.

via Galliera, 34d – 051 248556 -

Il Forno di Calzolari

Calzolari's bakery, with its six retail locations spanning the city and the province, remains a robust establishment. The ingredients for its success lie in a controlled supply chain, beginning with their cereal fields in Monghidoro where some varieties of grains suitable for high altitudes are organically grown. This includes stone-ground milling and their sourdough, affectionately named Gino, born in October 2001. It's a foundation of quality upon which they experiment and play with consistently interesting solutions.
Starting with the rustic cracked wheat bread made from "high grains" stone-ground flour leavened using autolysis of roughly ground ancient grains and sourdough (also available in the rye version), they venture into more indulgent breads presented on a monthly basis, utilizing seasonal products like apples, cherries, onions, and potato skins. Their latest creation (featured in the opening photo) is the "Autumn in the Woods" bread, featuring hazelnut granules, chestnut flour, fresh rosemary, and rye. Also, worth trying are their biscuits and tarts.

via delle Fragole, 1 – 051 443401 -

Da Madre Ignota

An unusual bakery, a rustic bakery, Irene Conti's, takes us back in time when all bread was kneaded by hand and the firewood gathered from nearby. The large loaves (producing between 20 to 40 kilograms of bread per day) are exclusively made with organic and locally-sourced flour from blends of ancient grains (Senatore Cappelli durum wheat, rye, and spelt) along with sourdough. Naturally, the fuel, wood, comes entirely from the province's forests.
The bakery mainly operates on orders to minimize waste, but on Thursdays and Saturday mornings, they offer open sales without reservations. Irene's partner, originally from Naples, takes care of excellent pastries, focaccias, and delicious rolls stuffed with mixed vegetables. There's a lot of dedication behind these excellent products.

via Giuseppe Cesare Abba, 12a – 371 3245486 -

Paolo Atti & Figli

Historical shop in the quadrilateral, among the few that can boast over 150 years of uninterrupted family management, during which it supplied bread to all Bolognese households. This is the realm of traditional hard-dough bread, a typical expression of the city's gastronomy, too often underestimated among the excellent products that Bologna has to offer. Here, every day, they bake the classic shapes: montasù, mustafà, crocette, ragnini, spighe, and code di rondine, with a crumbly texture and imperceptible crust, ideal to accompany the local cured meats. The traditional production extends to sweet products as well, with various types of pastries and cakes, including rice cake and the classic "certosino" cake. On the fresh pasta front, the classics like tortellini cannot be missed, still packaged in elegant boxes from the early twentieth century.

via Caprarie, 7 – 051 220425 -


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