I didn't know Rick Stein before November 2015. "Hi, I'm Elizabeth of Denhams TV, BBC is planning to film an episode of Rick Stein's Long Weekend in Bologna and I'm looking for a local food expert. Can you help Rick Stein to find the most traditional food of Bologna, its legends and the best places to taste it?" I searched Google. Wow. Could I say no? Let's see what happened behind the scenes.
At Mercato delle Erbe, one of the best food markets in Bologna
Setting the stage for Rick
After this first call I met Arezoo and Grace, producers of the show, in the early morning of a cold Saturday in January 2016. We spent a full day together, between coffee and smiles, tagliatelle and questions. They were looking not only for the best food of Bologna, but for the right characters that could partner with Rick during the show.
Bloggers and baristas, pasta artisans and university students, chefs and grandmas: I opened my agenda and shared all my knowledge to set the table for the real filming.
Cristina preparing Tiramisù coffee. Meet her and learn all about Italian coffee during our Bologna coffee course
Rick Stein in Bologna
The filming took place in a rainy week of March 2016. It was such an hard work, but the word "BBC" opened all the secrets doors of Bologna usually locked. Inside kitchens, up on the towers, even at home. The shooting was intense but at night we had the time with Rick and all the crew to cheer with a glass of Pignoletto wine and share suggestions not only about food.
One funny fact?
Most of the guys were unprepared to Bologna's winter weather and they ended up sick pretty soon. The bus we travelled with around Bologna was delivering not only microphones and cameras but bacteria and sneezes.
With the crew and my blogger friend Enrica of Sale Profumato at the old Osteria where we stop during our food tours in Bologna
Mattia shows Rick how to prepare Crema al limone gelato
Follow Rick's steps
Would you like to follow Rick's steps in Bologna? Meet some of the people of his recommended places? Watch the full episode on BBC and book now our Rick's approved food tours :)
Rick drinks one of the best coffee in Bologna while the crew prepares the set.
Rick and his new friends, the masters of pasta fresca