Franco Macchiavelli: Deli from Bologna

Bologna has three nicknames: the red, the learned and the fat. It’s the last one that we care about most – Bologna la grassa, Italy’s most famous foodie city, sitting plum in the middle of the region which produces Italy’s best known foods. Prosciutto, parmesan, balsamic vinegar – they all come from Emilia Romagna.

The region has over 40 location-certified food products in a 150km area

Bologna’s Quadrilatero – the closely packed alleys of food shops and outdoor stalls – dates back to medieval times. Here, they take grub seriously.

Franco Macchiavelli is among them. In 1985, along with his friend Bruno Belotti, he opened La Salumeria di Franco e Bruno, aiming to keep alive the ancient tradition of Bologna’s salaroli – meat-curers.

My father is an encyclopaedia of food – Martina Macchiavelli

Ten years later, Bruno retired, but the Macchiavellis have continued. Today, Franco’s wife, Grazia, manages the inhouse pasta workshop. Daughter Martina is the head sfoglina – Emilia Romagna’s famous pasta-makers, who roll out wafer-thin dough every morning. She and her team hand-roll all the tortellini, lasagne and rosette you see in the shop.

Pasta and certain types of salami are the only things they make themselves, but Franco stocks his shelves with the best regional products – and that’s what they’re selling here (shipping fresh pasta isn’t possible in summer).

They stock only a small selection of food – because they research and try everything, before picking the best. Their clientele is ever loyal – this is somewhere where everyone’s on first name terms. They even know how each person likes their prosciutto sliced. We hope that they’ll soon get to know your tastes, too.

We’re selling Franco’s prosciutto, cheese, salami and balsamic vinegar. The best of Emilia Romagna, straight to your door.

The best thing about our job? Passing down the traditions – whether that’s cutting parmesan by hand, or rolling out pasta, or passing down recipes for sauces and salami – Martina

About the area: The capital of Emilia Romagna, Bologna is known for its food, its fresh pasta (the recipes for tagliatelle al ragù and tortellini date back to medieval times) and its 40-odd kilometres of porticoes, which shade you in summer and keep you from the worst of the elements in winter.

How we know them: Three years ago, a sfoglina friend told us to try Martina’s tortellini. Ever since then, we come back several times a year with an empty case to fly kilos of the Macchiavellis’ cheese, salami and pasta back home.