Leaving Venice, we moved to Parma for 3 nights, and the following is where we ate in the area - some in Parma itself and some in the surrounding area. Again, apologies for being wordy.
Our first stop was at beautiful Caffe Pedrocchi, Via VIII Febbraio, 15 in Padova. We did not eat but had a Caffe Pedrocchi (€5), which is a fantastic layered coffee, mint and milk drink. Sounds strange but it was delicious.
We had lunch at Trattoria Tre Scalini on Via Castelo in Montegalda. This was a wonderful cozy restaurant, filled with families out for Sunday dinner. They had a fantastic rolling “salad bar” which had various bowls of lettuce, radicchio, onions, etc. and you could choose which veggies you wanted and the waiter would choose a bowl for you and put a small amount of each in your bowl. He then gave us cruets of olive oil and balsamic vinegar so we each could make our own salad dressing. I also had a wonderful tajarin con tartuffo, J had fantastic pumpkin saffron ravioli, M had yummy fettuccini con porcini and G had a beautiful steak.
Dinner at Trattoria ai Due Paltani on Via Budellungo in Coloreto - about 15 minutes outside of Parma. We started with a plate of pancetta and parmesan. The pancetta was very thinly sliced like prosciutto and it was accompanied by chunks of aged parmesan. It was fantastic!!! It was served with some lovely aged balsamic for the parmesan (one of the best food pairings ever invented). We also ordered torta fritta, which were little bits of fried dough that were still hot when they arrived at the table so when a piece of torta fritta was topped with a piece of pancetta some of the fat from the pancetta melted - bellissimo! We also had plates of prosciutto and salami to round out our cured meat overload, paired with Lambrusco – the “Italian coca-cola”. Although you wouldn’t want to drink Lambrusco every day, it was a perfect accompaniment to the salty and fatty meat! After the meats we had some pasta – Big J and M had agnolotti en brodo and J and I had tortelli di zucca. Both were very good. The restaurant is famous for its tortelli di zucca (there was a large display of green pumpkins at the entrance) and it is deserving of its reputation. Really a fantastic meal.
Lunch at Trattoria di Cognento in Campagnola Emilia, a charming “country” trattoria with a couple of different rooms.. We had a wonderful meal and I would return to this restaurant again if I was “in the neighborhood.”. Of course, we started with a wonderful antipasta of various cured meats. So simple but such diverse flavors and textures! Next course for everyone else was salami risotto (so different but yummy!), and agnellini en brood and tortelli di zucca. I had spinach (or kale, not sure) and parmigiano ravioli, which were very good. What put it over the top, however, was the “soffritto” that was served on the side. It was an amazing condiment that I gladly slathered on my ravioli. When Guido finally coaxed the chef out of the kitchen, she was very shy but explained that the soffritto is made of lardo, onion and tomato passata which is cooked for 5 hours. So simple yet so amazingly tasty!
Aperitivo at Gran Caffe Orientale on Piazza Garibaldi in Parma. It was a CHARMING café with a wonderful old-world decore. I would highly recommend stopping there for a drink or café if you are ever in central Parma.
Dinner at Orfeo, a pizzeria ristorante on Via Carducci in Parma. We had a wonderful pizza dinner. J (after realizing that “peperoni” were actually red peppers, not a spicy sausage) had an anchovy and cheese pizza. I had a prosciutto and cheese pizza which was so simple with a light layer of mozzarella and then an entire layer of just paper-thin slices of prosciutto. Fantastic.
The best meal and experience of this part of our trip was at Antica Corte Pallavicina, Strada Palazzo due Torri, 3, Polesine Parmense Parma. If you love cured meats, this place is nirvana. After touring the culatello caves we had lunch in their gorgeous restaurant Al Cavallino Bianco. The restaurant is beautiful, with a wall of glass on either side of the room, one facing onto the courtyard and one facing the fields surrounding the estate. Each menu had a large wooden hand-painted cover and inside was a wonderful collection, including an amazing selection of culatello. We each had a culatello “tasting” of 3: one aged 26 months, one aged 30 months and one aged 37 months. Truly divine. We also had a selection of parmigiano reggiano with aged balsamic. We also had agnolotti which were divine. Sorry I can't remember what else we had, but everything was amazing.
We had dinnerat Ristorante Cocchi (16 Via Gramsci) in Parma, which is actually adjacent to Hotel Daniel. It was a cozy restaurant filled with Italians. Big J had a salad with chicken that he loved. I had an amazing rice dish, similar to risotto, know as Savarin di Riso, or Rice with Parmesan Cheese, Butter and Porcini Mushrooms Rolled in Slices of Cooked Ham. M had a lovely parmesan sformatto with white truffles. It was a wonderful dinner with great service. I am still kicking myself for not having bollito misto – guess I will have to return!
Next up - the Alba report
Via Gramsci, 16a, Parma 43100, IT
Al Cavallino Bianco
Via Sbrisi, 2, Polesine Parmense, Emilia-Romagna 43010, IT
via VIII Febbraio,15, Padua, Veneto , IT