Above: Mist over Langhirano Valley, home of Prosciutto di Parma and birthplace of Parma food n walk gourmet tours.
Step into any food shop in Parma and you’ll immediately know you’re in food-lover’s heaven. This small Renaissance city is the birthplace of two of the brightest jewels in Italy’s gastronomic crown: parmesan cheese and Parma ham.
Parma is nestled in the valley of the Po river (northern Italy’s most important river) as it travels east towards the Adriatic Sea near Venice. This vein of water makes the surrounding land lush and fertile, and brings summer mists and winter fogs to the town, creating a mysterious, romantic atmosphere whic is perfect for the traditional ageing of the hams and cheeses.
Where to eat
Parma has every level of eatery, from rustic osterias and family-run trattorias to more refined restaurants where young chefs are reinvigorating the local cuisine in creative ways. If you’re looking for a light meal, many bars throughout the town offer simple paninis or plates of meat and cheese. Don’t miss Parma’s handmade filled pastas, amazing range of cured meats, and parmesan cheese in various stages of aging, from the minimum of 12 months to three years, when it gains an almost crystalline structure.
It takes 600 litres of cows’ milk to produce one 40-kilo round of Parmigiano Reggiano, also known as ‘the king of cheeses’. The cheese is immediately recognisable as authentic by virtue of the Consortium’s name branded onto the rind.
Trattoria Tribunale – My favourite!! Nick Garrett FWT
Tribunale is one of the best places to eat in Parma and has a stack of great reviews around the place inc. TA.com.
Recommended: Tortelli, Risotto, Lambrusco, Malvasia Rose… can’t go wrong.
For an informal lunch to break up all the sightseeing, Osteria della Gatta Matta (Above: Borgo Degli Studi 9,+39 0521 231 475) is an ideal choice.
Enjoy a plate of pasta or savoury parmesan pudding, followed by a seafood salad. The homemade desserts diverge from Italy’s traditional flavours, and show some delightful imagination, including an aromatic cardamom panna cotta.
A short cab ride from the centre is Parma Trattoria Ai Due Platani (Strada Budellungo 104, +39 0521 645 626). Go for authentic Emilian food cooked by two young chefs. Their tortelli pasta stuffed with pumpkin, and gnocchi with nettle pesto take pasta to another level. For dessert, try sbrisolona the scrumptious crumbly cake that’s a specialty of the region.
Parizzi is the place to go for a special night out (Via Repubblica 71, +39 0521 285 952). Marco Parizzi is a young chef often seen on Italian TV. His family restaurant offers the most ambitious cooking in Parma, with tasting menus from the sea and land where great initiative is taken with seasonal ingredients.
He also does classics such as anolini in brodo (meat-filled pasta in broth), and there’s a fabulous wine list.
For generous, traditional Emilian fare, go to homely I Tri Siochètt (Strada Farnese 74, +39 0521 968 870) just outside the city centre. Here the antipasti are worth exploring, including gnocco fritto (crispy, fried batter dumplings), to accompany platters of local salumi.
WE trust you will enjoy and come back for more!
- Out and About Parma: Trattoria Tribunale and the city (gustoitalia.wordpress.com)
- Recipes Parma products: Parma Ham tasty wraps yom yom!! (gustoitalia.wordpress.com)
- Strada Farini Parma – A World within a City (gustoitalia.wordpress.com)