Located in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, the city of Parma has been around since antiquity. Home to the renowned University of Parma, it is, however, most famous for a certain kind of cheese…that’s right, Parmesan. Parmesan cheese isn’t the only thing foodies will find appealing about this northern Italian culinary city. Here are three things all foodies should try while they’re in Parma.
Parmigiano reggiano, the official cheese of Parma, is typically aged between 24-36 months to acquire the distinctive taste enjoyed by cheese lovers around the globe. One of the interesting things about Parmigiano reggiano is that it tastes different depending on the season: for example, winter Parmesans take on a stronger, earthier flavor, while Parmesan made in the spring is milder.
Prosciutto di Parma
The pigs of Parma drink the good whey that is drained from the curds during the production of Parmesan cheese (which makes them extra tasty!). Parmesan prosciutto is made from the pig's hind leg or thigh. Depending on the size of the ham, it can take between nine months and two years to salt and cure prosciutto—but it’s well worth the wait. I think prosciutto de Parma is best served thinly sliced and wrapped around a ripe melon slice.
Pasta di Parma
Handmade pasta (specifically tortellini, cappelletti and anolini) is another one of Parma’s culinary specialties. It’s impossible to leave Parma without enjoying a meal of fresh, handmade pasta. For a double Parmesan delight, try a pasta dish made with Parmesan ham with a bit of Parmigiano reggiano grated on top--- you won’t regret it.
Of course, all of these foodie finds are best enjoyed with a glass of vino Italiano from the Emilia-Romagna region (“when in Parma…”). This area boasts wines for every palate---popular choices include Lambrusco (a light, sparkling red), Sangiovese (a robust red), Trebbiano (a fruity white) or Pagadebit di Romanga (a dry white).
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