General commentary

When (not) in Rome…

I’m in research mode as the September 1 start date approaches. A recent trip to Lygon Street, Carlton proved to be worthwhile. With the sweet smell of garlic permeating the Italian HQ of Melbourne, it was obvious I had come to the right place to speak with the experts. This bustling street is lined with Italian restaurants all claiming to make the best Spaghetti Bolognese.

I was interested in finding out where local Italians recommended as the best Spaghetti Bolognese. Many pointed to Tiamo as the best, while Villa Romano was also recommended. I held off from any Bolognese sampling this time, but couldn’t resists a vanilla cannoli at the iconic Brunetti on Faraday Street, Carlton. Afterall, when in Rome…

Although visiting busy Lygon Street during the Sunday lunch rush, I managed to speak with a few of the restaurateurs about their methodology. It came as a surprise that many restaurants on Lygon Street are purists and only use beef for their Bolognese sauce.

It was interesting to find out what Italians look for in a Bolognese sauce. Some like it chunky, some like it finer. Some like it dolloped on top, while others prefer it stirred through. It’s safe to say there is no right way to make a Bolognese, which makes my task quite difficult. I’ll be judging based on my preferences. I’m still in the process of refining my judging criteria – I know what I like and don’t like, but am putting much time and thought into the evaluation to ensure I judge each dish thoroughly and precisely. I will share the elements of my evaluation in coming days.

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