Bologna's Sweetest Delights: Uncovering the Best Desserts in the City

Bologna desserts - Certosino

What's the first food you think about when you think of Bologna?
Tortellini sure, maybe tagliatelle al ragù, mortadella of course.
Enter old bakeries and open grandma's cookbooks to learn all about desserts in Bologna.

Zuppa Inglese

One dessert, many stories behind it.

The origins of zuppa inglese are blurry, but one thing is almost certain. Its name comes from its resemblance to the trifle, a British dessert made of layers of cake, cream and wine.

The layers of Zuppa Inglese are 3: custard, chocolate cream and a sponge soaked in alchermes, a pink liquor that gives the dessert his brilliant red color.

Where to eat Zuppa Inglese

Oltre reinterprets Bologna's culinary tradition in a sparkling, contemporary way. Their zuppa inglese is an unforgettable one.

Via Augusto Majani 1, Bologna
Tel. +39 051 006 6049

Certosino (o panspeziale)

Bologna desserts - Certosino

Certosino, a popular Christmas cake in Bologna

A must food during Christmas in Bologna. This treat was originally prepared by monks (Ordine dei Certosini).

It’s a caloric bomb made of almonds, pine nuts, candied fruits, chocolate, flour, cocoa, honey and A LOT of spices (the reason for its name panspeziale, bread with spices).

Seems too much?

Many people hate its sticky texture but try it and drink a glass of red to push it down.

Where to eat Certosino

Bar Billi is the most iconic bar in Bologna. The box containing their panspziel with the face of the founder, Mr. Billi, imprinted on it is a blowing gift to bring home.

Bar Billi
Via Pietro de Coubertin 1, Bologna
Tel. +39 051 614 2225

Rice Cake

Bologna desserts torta riso

Bolognese rice cake

Ah, torta di riso!
Can you say to have been in Bologna if you haven’t tried its rice cake?

Also called Torta degli Addobbi, it was prepared during a Middle Age celebration when people hang out colored drapes on their windows.

The ingredients?
Rice of course, but also sugar, eggs, candied cedar and bitter almonds liqueur.

Where to eat Bolognese Rice Cake

Stop at Sfoglia Rina for a quick&cheap lunch ending with Moka coffee and a rhombus of rice cake.

Sfoglia Rina
Via Castiglione, 5/b
Tel. +39 051 991 1710

Tagliatelle cake

Bologna desserts - Tagliatelle cake

Tagliatelle Cake at Forno Atti

Ready for the most unusual dessert of the list?

A pastry crust filled with almonds and candied cedar and topped with…tagliatelle.

Yes, the pasta, caramelized with orange juice.
Delicious and very scenographic.

Where to eat tagliatelle cake

This bakery in the middle of Quadrilatero food market provides bread and desserts from over a century. Enter for a slice of cake and exit with a full bag.

Forno Atti
Via Drapperie, 6, 40124 Bologna BO
Tel. +39 051 233349


Bologna desserts fiordilatte


Also known as Portuguese milk, fiordilatte it’s the local version of crème caramel, with a few differences like the color.

In Bologna fiordilatte is darker because, before adding eggs, you have to wait until the boiling milk has decreased its volume.

Hence the name, “fiore del latte”: the essence of milk.

Where to eat Fiordilatte

You go at Amerigo for its Michelin star, its truffles, its vintage atmosphere.
But when Alberto asks you for a dessert, now you know the answer.

Spoiler: in spring his fiordilatte has asparagus!

Via Guglielmo Marconi 14/16, Savigno (BO)
Tel. +39 051 670 8326

Crema Fritta

What’s crema fritta?

Small cubes of custard cream sprinkled with flour, eggs and breadcrumbs.
Then fried, of course.
It doesn’t get much better than this.

Where to eat Crema Fritta

Casa Merlò opened in September 2019 with a motto: don’t be ashamed of fatty, greasy, sugarish food. And crema fritta is always on their dessert list.

Casa Merlò
Via de’ Gombruti 2/d, Bologna
Tel. +39 051 239645
Facebook page

Pinza Bolognese

Bologna desserts pinza bolognese

Pinza Bolognese

Pinza is a Christmas dessert shaped like a bread loaf and filled with a black jam called mostarda, and optional raisin and pine nuts.

The origin of its name is uncertain: it may be from a Latin word, a French one, or from local slang.

What's sure is that pinza stands on the table of every Bolognese breakfast.

Where to eat Pinza

Forno Calzolari is one of my favorite bakeries in Bologna and not only for its amazing bread. The mountain wheat gives a unique taste to all its cakes and cookies.

Forno Calzolari
Via Marchesana, 4/B, 40124 Bologna
Tel. +39 051 001 3858


These cookies were born in the nearby village of San Giovanni in Persiceto at the end of the 19th century.

Francesco Bagnoli, a local pastry chef, decided to bake them in honor of Regina Margherita queen.

The result is a thin-crust cookie made of egg yolks, sugar and flour similar to a meringue. Crunchy outside and oh-so-deliciously soft inside.

Where to eat Africanetti

Every bakery in San Giovanni offers africanetti.
But you can jump back in time at Antica Drogheria Bergamini, a grocery store with osteria that still looks like the 1920s'.
Wear your good hat and open the door.

Antica Drogheria Bergamini Duilio
Via Rambelli, 46, 40017 San Giovanni in Persiceto (BO)
Tel. + 39 051 821279


Raviole is a moon shaped cookie usually prepared in the countryside on the 19th March to celebrate St. Joseph.

The filling is jam: the classic black mostarda, sometimes with pears and oranges.

Sprinkled with sugar, my favorite ones are pink because soaked in Alchermes liquor.

Where to eat Raviole

Monica and Daniela and the most famous pasta sister in Bologna. But don't underrate their skills with desserts.

Le Sfogline
Via Belvedere, 7, 40121 Bologna
Tel. +39 051 220558


Bologna desserts zuccherini


Planning to get married in Bologna?
We have many romantic restaurants and an essential dessert for your guests.

These doughnut-shaped cookies, boiled in sugar and anise, are typical of Appennini mountains and they have a distinctive hint of licorice.

They are traditionally prepared for weddings as a good omen to the newly married because their shape resembled the ring.

Where to eat Zuccherini

This is tough. Zuccherini is the main guest of weddings and country celebrations where they're given for free. Take a walk at Mercato Ritrovato on Saturday morning and if you're lucky you can find them there.

Mercato Ritrovato
Via Azzo Gardino, 65, 40122 Bologna
Tel. +39 328 139 6004

Photo courtesy of Sara Querzola

Related post

Home page icons22

Tasty newsletter

Stay in touch with monthly news and get my PDF guide with the best restaurants in Bologna, Modena and Parma