The typical cuisine of Parma. What to eat in the city of food and music
It is like asking a child if he loves his mother or father more. The creature, red with embarrassment, will mutter something and, forever, will look at you with suspicion. In the same way ask anyone greedy parmesan (not Parma, mind you. Then it would trespass outside the walls, towards the countryside) which is the best product of the typical cuisine of Parma it will guarantee you oblique glances and tiring turns of words that mean nothing.
That how do you determine if it is better ham, culatello or Parmesan cheese? You can’t, of course. Also because, in addition to mom and dad, in a family there are uncles and grandparents, cousins and in-laws more or less distantly. And then you can not do a rude to the less snobbish relatives, like cooked shoulder or salami from Felinoor displease the cadet branch by denigrating coppa and bacon. And this only to stop at the first degree relatives. That if you scale the genealogy, and pass from the “basic” product to the “cooked” dish, the doubt soon turns into a dilemma.
The typical cuisine of Parma: salami and tortelli
In fact, what can one say about tortelli with ricotta and herbs filling, emblem of the magical night of San Giovanni, or the anolini, an indispensable symbol of Christmas dinner? And of the rustic ruffianeria of the fried pie, of the grandiloquent cadence of boiled meats married with sauces? No, the confusion is extremely great under the Parma sky and perhaps for this reason the situation is excellent. At least around the table so much so that even theUnesco he nominated Parmafirst in Italy, Creative City for Gastronomy.
Parma is in fact one extended family of flavors, of tastes and the people of here know it well. So much so that, beyond the plate, food often ends up colonizing discussions and speeches. And debating about recipes in these places is a little different than doing it elsewhere where someone, making a mistake in good faith, might grumble that, after all, it is just a matter of stuff to eat.
An understandable mistake for those who have not understood that Parma of its food first he talks about it for a long time. Then she chews it with gusto. Finally, and for many here lies the real pleasure, she boasts of it. And if in the chat he can slip some wink, or some pearl fished from a more or less mythical past, the flourish he adds to the stuffed with tortelli becomes perfect. And go to the restaurant it becomes serious.
The diatribe on the filling of pasta
To understand it, just ask the usual greedy native on the recipe of the most classic, and therefore most contested, of the dishes of the typical cuisine of Parma: the anolini. Rigorous professionals of gastronomic research, people who are normally well informed on the facts, in the face of this open their arms and in guides and cookbooks report five or six, even ten, different recipes for a dish that, to trivialize in a demeaning way, could be defined simply stuffed pasta.
Yeah, but stuffed with what? There are those who say of overcooked beef e Parmesanwho establishes that the meat must give way to the only one restricted sauce, who adds breadcrumbs, who would feel lost without a trifle of pork. And all this glissando on who hisses that without surgical insertions of nutmeg, tomato paste and other wonders, more or less secret, the result will not be what was hoped for.
The great confusion in the typical cuisine of Parma
If we add to this that the anolini, for some (it is useless to investigate the reasons) also change their name and become Cappelletti it is easy to understand that all that remains is to resign and keep quiet. Maybe filling your mouth with different tastings and repeating like a mantra the sentence of that sage who established that there are as many real recipes as there are Parmesan houses. After all, the Anolini in these parts are like the team that you cheer for. Whatever happens, you carry that in your heart and palate. And it certainly cannot be changed.
Now, let’s be clear, this Balkan indeterminacy is not that it has produced any damage. Indeed, it is precisely from so much variety that it arises the richness of the typical cuisine of Parma. As it turns out, simply by sticking your head into the perfumes of a delicatessen of the Middle. Where, triumphantly hung or carefully displayed as treasures to be cuddled, are the thousand tasty symbols of the local Olympus which, epicurean concession, never chose monotheism. And where everyone pays homage to their idol. Which, if it is less, is better.
It can only be explained in this way, with a greedy form of very Parmesan snobbery, the passion for stepchildren and mongrels: who sometimes, succulent revenge, surpass the progenitor. This is the case with the strolghino, a thin salami to be eaten in a hurry and which, according to tradition, must be made with the trimmings of the noble culatello. Or the tosonescrap of Parmesan recovered from the wheels before maturing, which gives its best fried and tasted hot. If you wrap it in bacon, then, it’s pure poetry.
But Parma, the heart of one Emilia spurious and snooty, she does everything she can not to forget, and above all to remind others, that she was a duchy and thus, alongside the humble, she glorifies the nobility. If not of blood, at least of flesh. And in the lands of Giuseppe Verdi he does it with a sharp.
The challenge of culatello. Obviously supreme
Here, and only here, once a year, normally very serious and responsible professionals wear one austere red tunic and parade through the vaults of an ancient manor, one of the many castles in the areaunder the aegis of a real prince of the Holy Roman Empire chasing the dream of a supreme culatello. No: not the Grail, not the philosopher’s stone. But the best possible extracted from the most prosaic part of the already plebeian pork leg. It might seem incredible but during the concentrated tasting nobody ever allows himself to smile.
In the same way, between the benches of a tavern under the arcades of the center, for years, the midday break for many corresponds to the stainless appointment with a simple and perfect sandwich: hot focaccia, Parmesan flakes and raw ham. The name is worth a statement of poetics: the prince.
That perhaps, the secret of the typical cuisine of Parma, and of the land it represents, is just that: having always taken seriously something that others laugh at. Worse for them: and those who do not eat plague with us take it.
The typical cuisine of Parma and the challenge of globalization
This is how it is now, that among villages and squares, here and there, as everywhere else, cutters of sushi and dispensers of kebab, but it was also so in the past for a continuity in the cult of the throat which, even with the necessary adjustments, resists tenaciously. Even in the eyes and palate of those who live and write about food and wine Edoardo Raspelli: “Parma and its tastes are still at the center of mine greedy imagery. I think back to when, little more than a teenager, I stopped at Aurora restaurant. A very strong experience that was the basis of my first article on “Civiltà del bere”. Of course, the years have passed but Parma still remains a special place: just think of exceptional products that are born in these lands“.
Places where there are still presences that have left a mark. And there are those who theorize that the signature at the bottom of one recipe is worth for many as the one that signs a canvas because food, a Parma, it is not matter that is only on the plate. But also in the memory. And it is one memory cultivated with smug brushstrokes worthy, perhaps, of a better cause and often bordering on melancholy. “We no longer eat like we used to – say the gourmets. – And also the fog there is no more”. True or false that it is the typical cuisine of Parma, it tries to resist even if now Europe and the import technologists of theEfsaL’EU food authority which is based in the city. Too bad you deal with food but on the wrong side. That of technology and safety, not pleasure.
A journey through the flavors of the typical cuisine of Parma
But then it doesn’t take much to start smiling again. And foretaste a flavor. Globalization, the ugly one, the one that, in many places, has extinguished ancient recipes to replace them with ungracious contamination, has not brought down its tsunami of banalities and clichés in the city. The trattorias so they continue to propose tortelli with herbs and some, lucky encounter, even of nettle, with the first chills of late summer on the menus reappear pork ganassini with roasted polenta. And the bacon still melts on the boiling rectangles of fried pie.
When i gray skies and low autumn begin to rub on the roofs of the houses, noisy tables will meet for the lipid appointment of the suckling pig. And it’s a nice way to understand how many tender declensions an ugly face like a pig can have. In one of these dinners, perhaps someone will say aloud that he anolini I’m the wrong type. You politely assent, smile and explain that you love both mom and dad. Then, call the waiter and have him bring you another plate.