This is the type of place I always wanted in my life.
The idyllic vision is to go and purchase meat at the butcher, wine at the enoteca and cheese from the cheesemonger. What if I could refine it further, narrow my scope. What about a place that zeros in on one subject and has no choice but to do it well.
al Regno della Forma
This place has some ricotta, a little honey sure, of course some balsamico and even the first Mozzarella from Buffalo made in Bologna, but I am here for the King.
The year before deciding to move to Italy, I was stuck in bed with a fractured rib and painkillers. Throughout the opiate haze I managed to plow through Edward Behr’s 50 Foods. While in and out of consciousness like a foodie version of Origen Adamantius of Alexandria, I came upon the teachings that I could not ever buy pre-cut cheese, let alone the noble Parmigiano. This is an endeavour that limits one to boutique establishments in the States. I dreamed of how much more accessible it would be on the Italian peninsula. However even in the land of Reggiano, due to the fast moving nature of the product here, the vast majority is still cut, shrink wrapped and sitting in the fridge. That is not what I came here for. I want to see it cut, I want to get high on the fumes of the cheese when I enter the locale.
Al Regno does just that. I have only ever seen one man working there, and the room is literally walled with wheels. I rotate between the ages. The youngest is a Colli Modonese, a young Parmigiano released before it can get the certification. It has the accessibility of a fresher cheese with the initiation of the crystallization from the ageing. It is like a Rose wine release of Parmigiano.
Other times I will splurge on a 5 year. It creaks and crackles and has this intensity that is not limited to just flavour but also heals the soul, a sort of super food.
The location is right on the cute Via Oberdan and right across from the picturesque Canal di Reno. One of the few places where it is still possible to view the canals that criss-crossed Bologna, once known as Piccola Venezia.
Via Guglielmo Oberdan, 45, 40126 Bologna
Phone: 051 233609
Mon, Wen, Fri-Sat 7:30AM–1PM 4:30–7PM Tues, Thu 7:30AM–1PM Sun Closed
*You can also get the only Mozzarella di Bufala made in Bologna here and a number of classic cheeses.
*I have not seen this colli Modenese anywhere else