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Welcome to FoodMood blog space. Reflections on my travels, musings, favorite recipes, and the  Bunny Chronicles. Storytelling with joy, sass, self-reflection, and hope.

Magic in bologna – Bunny’s star is born at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair

Bunny holding her own as we enter the book fair.

In 2006 bunny was born in Istanbul.

In January 2019 bunny debuted in her own book series, the Bunny Chronicles.

In April 2019 she appeared for the first time on shelves at our Turkish publisher Dixi books stand, at the International Children’s Book Fair in Bologna which we attended together with our dear friend, devoted lover of books and proud Istanbul’lu, Esra.

Top Bunny on the shelf, literally; bottom left the Bunny and I with the Dixi books crew present at the fair; bottom right Bunny and I with Ayse our devoted representative at Dixi.

I surprised myself by being emotional at the book fair, to see the Bunny Chronicles on the shelf touched me and gave me confidence I am on my path, even if I am not exactly sure where it is going. Meeting Ayse in person, after all of our work together was an extra bonus and a further inspiration for the publication of the next Chronicle, Portugal. Akif was kind, explaining to me the process of how educational materials will be made about the Bunny Chronicles, challenging and inspiring children about the art, culture, and knowing themselves. With this news a certain sense of purpose and peace filled me.

Mission accomplished at Dixi, Esra and I briefly wandered the vast caverns of the fair. Appropriately, the guest of honor this year was Switzerland!

Top left Bunny flies in the air to salute her Swiss compatriots; top right Bunny (gazing lovingly at) Esra, & I pose under the Swiss books banner; bottom the sign indicating CH as the guest.

Enriched and joyful from our time at the book fair, we headed out to explore the ancient city of Bologna. With just a day and a half and dubious weather, this trip was surely a taster – quite literally - of this grand city, next time with Claudio and Bearli! Famous for its cuisine, Bologna for this American is a food, and we did sample the mortadella that is the real name of what most Americans universally call Bologna, and there is so much more! Here we feature our top pick for a serious meal, Ristorante Cesarina.

Left Esra with her local specialty dish of broth and a kind of homemade pasta; Bunny with asparagus in season complimented with a parmesan cap and fried zucchini flowers.

For good food and wonderful jazz, thanks to a friend who suggested it, we recommend Cantina Bentivoglio. We enjoyed part of this evening with Ayse from Dixi books, and while she had to leave a bit early for another meeting, we stayed until the last song played. The live jazz was especially wonderful on this evening with international guest players who brought down the house.

Top Esra, Bunny, & I with our first tastes; bottom Basilica di San Petronio as twilight descends.

Culturally, the entire city is a treasure. Much like Rome, though on a smaller scale, everywhere you look is breathtaking. Of particular fascination for us both was the Basilica of Santo Stefano, also known as the Seven Churches. We went twice in two days! A complex built since the 7th century, we found it a peaceful and reflective place that filled us both with positive energies.

Any trip to Italy has the inherent danger of becoming about fashion and shopping, and Bologna is no exception. Through every small street of the old city there are shops displaying the best food, art, design, and fashion Italy is known for. Of particular charm, a shoe shop called La sabot whose proprietor Alberto dazzled us both with his good humor, patience, and shoes! Esra stepped out with three pairs and I with two. Beyond his fabulous selection of shoes at super fair prices, Alberto offers the professionalism and knowledge of his trade, and women’s feet, that sets Italian shops apart from the rest. There nearly an hour, Alberto opened up to us and showed us the clipping on his wall – his shop in Fromers! It seems he is famous for all the reasons we appreciated him even before we knew of his fame. If you find yourself in Bologna, please stop into his shop and give him our best.

Left Alberto in front of his shop La Sabot, discreetly set back from the street for undisturbed shoe gazing; middle Alberto poses with Bunny and my new shoes; left Esra and her sexy pair of new shoes (1 of 3!).

Books, food, music, architecture, culture, shoes, and most of all friends and fun – Bunny’s star had a perfect launch, thank you Bologna!

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