prosciutto di parma
A showcase for famous ingredients
This recipe for tagliolini alla parmigiana is inspired by a dish I ate for Sunday lunch in a country restaurant near Langhirano. This is the village where most prosciutto di Parma (parma ham) is made. It showcases the two most famous products of the region: prosciutto di Parma and parmigiano reggiano cheese.
Rosa di Parma
I’ve been obsessed with a dish known as Rosa di Parma (Parma Rose) ever since I read about it in a Rick Stein column. Knowing I was coming to Parma, where the dish originates, I decided to set about finding a restaurant that served it. A quick search on Tripadvisor brought me to Angiol d’Or, a restaurant right in the heart of Parma that had it on the menu. The name is parmesan dialect for ‘golden angel’ which is reflected in the restaurant logo.
This time of year in Italy can be hot and I mean really hot. In Venice, temperatures and humidity soar making you want to leave the city and run away to the countryside. From a food point of view your body demands fresh, lean flavours to cool it to the core. Luckily, nature comes to the rescue by providing us with a large variety of summer fruit and vegetables of which a personal favourite is melon. At this time of year, Venetian shops are piled high with melons in all varieties and colours and this recipe works equally well with any of them.
A recent ad on Italian TV said, ‘If Italy was a house, Emilia-Romagna would be the kitchen.’ Many Italians from other regions might throw up their hands in horror and rightly say, ‘but we have an amazing cuisine too!’ However, this demonstrates the reputation that Emilia-Romagna—the capital of which is Bologna—has as the foodie region of Italy.
I might correct the ad to ‘If Italy was a house, Emilia-Romagna would be the larder …’ because with one or two exceptions the fame of Emilia-Romagna is not for dishes but for several ingredients and products now considered essential to Italian cuisine in general. This list would include: Aceto Balsamico di Modena (balsamic vinegar), Prosciutto di Parma (Parma ham), Mortadella, and the indispensable Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan cheese).
I recently spent a weekend in Bologna and decided to put together this guide to the city, focusing on its food but also history and art. If you’ve never been and are looking for an Italian city-break destination, I would highly recommend it.