While in Bologna, I had planned to spend a day in Modena, which is about 30km north of Bologna and having heard of a restaurant called Hosteria Giusti I really wanted to try it out. Now, the story with Giusti is one that you need to know about before you can get to it. You really need a reservation, so I tried to book it for my last full day in Bologna, but unfortunately it was booked out (it only has 4 tables), but they had a spot for me on the day I was leaving Italy from Milan. Now Modena is between Bologna and Milan and since my flight was departing at 5:45pm I figured that if I had no trafic problems I could still manage it. I really didn't want to miss out.
I headed to Modena a little earlier so I could take a look around town and wondered into the market, and I'm glad I did. The Modena market is almost at the centre of the town and has some sensational looking produce.
Even though Modena is in the middle of Italy, the fish and seafood look extremely fresh and great quality.
The produce is vibrant and colourful, I'd love to spend hours looking around, but I have a lunch to get to.
Now to get into Giusti, I had to find the Salumeria Giusti, which was closing it's shutters already. They close the shop, like almost all other shops during the afternoon, but you can get in if you have a lunch reservation by knocking on the shutters. After entering this tiny room full of some of the best meats and preserves, I was led through a door at the back into another small room with only four tables. This is the entire restaurant and they only open for lunch. I wanted to try as many dishes as I could, and luckily almost the entire menu is also available in half portions (mezza porzione). For Antipasti, I chose the Baccala Mantecato con pane (Salt cod whipped into a puree with oil, salt and pepper).
This was very nice, the texture was perfect and the flavour was delicate and great for getting the appetite going. For Primi, I tried the Tagliatelle al sugo di Guanciale (Tagiatelle with a sauce made from veal cheeks).
The pasta was perfectly cooked, with just a little bite to it and as you can see, the sauce just sticks to the pasta and the meat was tender and melting. Secondi I decided on the Maialino freddo con cipolle all'Aceto balsamico Stravecchio (cold suckling pig with onions caramelised with balsamic vinegar).
Wow. The suckling pig is first roasted with aromatics and then placed in cold olive oil and left for 10 days. The resulting pork has a texture very similar to tuna preserved in oil, but denser and with a stunning amount of flavour. I was wishing I ordered a full portion rather than a half. The caramelised onions were sticky, sweet and sensational. How could they not be with balsamic from Modena?
At this point, I was very happy with the meal, and starting to get nervous about making the more than two hour drive, but after three amazing courses, I just couldn't leave without dessert. Asking the waitress which was the quickest dessert, I was offered a selection and chose the chocolate mousse. Now many of you may know I am not a big chocolate fan, but I do like dark, bitter chocolate, so when I heard that this was made with dark chocolate I had to try it.
This was a very dense mousse and unfortunately I forgot to ask for a half portion and got the full one instead, but I managed to struggle though and it just the way I like my chocolate, dark and rich with just enough bitterness to cut through the sweetness.
Hosteria Giusti is a dinin experience I would recommend to anyone, the price is on the higher side but worth every cent. Just make sure you book.