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Golden Day 114: Pleasures of Parma

June 19, 2014

I loved being in Parma, one of Italy’s most elegant small towns. Its name conjures up images of some of Italy’s most beloved foods, which are produced in this province:

Parmigiano Reggiano…

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Proscuitto di Parma…

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In fact, Parma’s specialty foods are so revered, that on the outskirts of town you’ll discover the Musei del Cibo (Piazzale della Pace, 0521821139) , which includes the Museo del Proscuitto di Parma, Museo del Parmigiano Reggiano, Museo del Salame, Museo del Pomodoro, and in May, a Museo della Pasta was added to the mix! You can visit each to get a bit of culinary history, and of course, have a taste.

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Add to the delicious tastes, the lovely atmosphere of the town’s historic center, for a Golden Day in Parma:

Begin at the Pasticceria Torino (61 Strada Garibaldi Giuseppe, 0521235689), where you’ll elbow in with the locals for buon cappuccino and a choice of scrumptious pastries…

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Head to the Piazza Duomo, home to some of Italy’s most glorious medieval architecture: the Romanesque Duomo…

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and the pink marbled Baptistery.640px-Battistero

 Inside the Duomo is an amazing fresco in its cupola: Correggio’s Assumption of Mary. It’s a dramatic Renaissance wonder!

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 You’ll enjoy strolling through the historic center, flanked by cyclists, as most of the area is pedestrian only…

 PARMACYCLISTSA great place to stop for lunch is Salumeria Garibaldi (Via Garibaldi 42, 0521235606), where you can choose from a top selection of cheeses and cured meats, and sit at a wooden table with a tumbler of local wine…

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 You may also wish to visit the Camera di San Paolo, where you’ll find beautiful mythological scenes by Correggio, painted on the walls and ceilings. Always looking for the female angle, I love this place because it was once the reception area of a rich abbess, Giovanna da Piacenza, who hired Correggio to decorate her place so splendidly!

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An afternoon activity I loved was a cooking class with Micaela Sini Scarpato. Micaela’s a young, energetic signorina, who I found through The International Kitchen ,a Chicago-based company that offers classes all over Italy.

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The class takes place in Micaela’s cozy apartment kitchen, where she taught me how to make tortellini stuffed with spinach and ricotta, just as she learned from her grandmother.

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We also made Rosa di Parma, braised beef stuffed with proscuitto, and enjoyed the whole meal at her elegantly set dining table.

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That was all I could eat that day, but if you stay around, here are some more recommendations:

For extraordinary gelato and sorbets, go to Ciacco (Viale Mentana 91/A, 0521 570208). It’s run by two young guys who are dedicated to using the highest quality ingredients. Their pistachio is out of this world!

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For aperitivo, Via Farini is lined with places where university students spill out to the sidewalks. Check out Le Malve (Via Farini,0521230260) for pizza,cocktails, wine, and a great selection of cured meats.

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 Restaurants to try are:

 La Greppia (39/A Strada Garibaldi, 0521233686), Parma’s legendary place for elegant dining and refined cuisine. They have a great wine list, and do a wonderful job with the specialties, and secondi such as veal with balsamic vinegar. Save room for fabulous desserts from the trolley!

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For something more casual, go to La Forchetta, for homemade pastas, such as tortelli d’erbetta.  

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 I enjoyed staying at Hotel Torino (Borgo Angelo Mazza 7,0521281046), a simple, modern place, in a great location…

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But going fancier, right near the Duomo, is the beautiful Palazzo dall Rosa Prati (Strada al Duomo 7,0521386429)…for next time…

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To have the full Parma experience, I also recommend you check out the schedule for Teatro Regio (Via Giuseppe Garibaldi 16/a,0521039393) a jewel box of a theater that has an excellent season of opera and concerts.6345519262_82f887eae6_z

 

Buon Viaggio!

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