If you are visiting Parma forget Culatello and Parma ham for a moment, you have to try this place at least once. Pepèn is a panini place in Parma that has been very popular with the locals for the last 50 years. The small shop can have huge crowds waiting for their meal consisting mainly of sandwiches. Everything seemed very nice and tasty so the choice can be hard to make. We tried the tasty “Carciofa” a savory tart with ricotta cheese, parmesan and artichokes, also the famous panino Spacca Balle (ball breaker) with roast beef and also the Panino con cavallo crudo, a very tasty sandwich with horse tartare, of course only for those foodies who are a bit adventurous. One of the best street food that we have tried in Italy at very convenient prices, expect to pay 5 euros per sandwich with a menu that changes depending on the day of the week, also serve wines and beers. Opens for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday. It is very central at Borgo S.Ambrogio 2, 43100 Parma, Italy. Here you will find their official Facebook page.
Cheese is certainly an acquired taste. If you, however, love cheese and especially parmesan, there’s nothing like a visit to Parma’s regionally renowned cheese producing farm. This popular venue is a haven for cheese lovers and enthusiasts alike. Whether for family vacations or foodies’ gatherings, this fully functional farm in Parma is simply unique at every turn. With lavish and elegant B&B accommodations to a fully course breakfast, the agriturismo truly captures the allure and essence of agrarian Italy. As part of your package, you and your loved ones will see the magic behind Parmesan production. There is also a Balsamic vinegar tasting tour, along with a gourmet lunch and cured meat tasting courtesy of Parma’s top ham producer.
With the help of the owner who will do a guided tour, foodies will simply love visiting the local dairy and cheese producing farm. Upon arrival, guests will meet the farm producer for itinerary and map details. As a fully operational farm, the location in Parma continues to soar in regional popularity. In fact, the farms are a great alternative to pricey and over priced hotels. Whether travelling for business or pleasure, your 2 night tour is guaranteed to be entertaining and educational. From tantalizing tasting tours to mouth watering farmer style breakfasts, what better way to enjoy Mother Nature than at Parma’s top dairy farm? If you love cheese and parmesan, this trip will truly meet your needs within time and budget.
The Parma Farm
The Parma Farm stays and visits are organised by Emiliza Delizia. As one of the most visited countries in the world, Italy has so many foodie’s things to see, do and eat. Whether you love fine wines, or culture and history, Parma simply has it all. With simplicity at its finest, now is the perfect time to visit this great venue and spend countless hours of fun. You can also contact the farm for any questions or inquiries in regards to tasting tours and accomodations.
Cooking classes in Parma.
For those interested in learn how to cook dishes from the parma cuisine it is also possible to organise cookery classes in the region.
When you plan your holidays in Italy we bet that you soon start thinking about delicious dishes to taste. If you then book a tour in Emilia Romagna, those obsessive images of tempting tortelli, Parma ham and chestnut desserts won’t leave you until you go and savor them!
Once arrived in the land of authentic Parmesan flavors, don’t stroll too much to find the perfect place. If you want to have a great meal, just let be guided by our accurate proposals. Emilia Delizia suggests two of finest places to dine in Parma with excellent dishes of the regional tradition, incredible desserts and superb wines: Parizzi and La Greppia.
The outside of the restaurant is classy as much as the interior. Minimalist style and modern concept are the key features of the setting, as you will soon notice entering the door. A mix of tradition and innovation, you would say, reading their sophisticated menu.
At Parizzi you will be served anolini and tortelli d’erbetta (with fresh herbs) or filled with pumpkin (the famous tortelli di zucca) – stracotto (beef), and a mouthwatering “tutto castagne” dessert.
The modern side of the menu features Porcini and Fontina lovely arranged in a crunchy cone, risotto with snails and cress, pork barely smoked. For other culinary advice refer to Marco Parizzi, while for wine tasting ask to wife and sommelier Cristina who will gather some excellent bottles from their cellar. And of course you can ask for the tasteful PDO Parmesan cheese, Culatello and Parma ham.
The elegant atmosphere pervades the suites – perfect for a peaceful rest after a stroll in the city center of Parma – and the school kitchen – hosting exciting cooking lessons for those who wish to bring a little of Italian style in their own kitchen.
Parizzi restaurant is located in Strada Repubblica 71, in the multicolored facade houses street, where the bell tower of the remarkable San Sepolcro church stands out.
A mix of modernity and regional flavors is what you will remember of this women-only run restaurant. Conscious of the strong culinary tradition, chef Paola Cavazzini is well determined to reinvent a menu with signature dishes.
Seasonal food seems to be the secret for antipasti, primi and secondi marked by a strong savor: artichokes covered with a soft ham sauce, handmade pasta stuffed with pumpkin or chestnuts, rice Venere enriched with black truffles, salted codfish with tomatoes and potatoes, veal savored with ginger. Finally, the top desserts pumpkin pudding and kaki ice cream are a must!
At La Greppia, you will dine in a cozy atmosphere, under soft lights and wooden roof. You will happily notice wooden shelves and tables where fine wines and baskets of handmade pasta are exposed, perfectly arranged tables with elegant tablecloths, impeccable cleanliness and service.
La Greppia restaurant is located in Via Garibaldi 39. You can reach the restaurant after a visit to the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Steccata and Teatro Regio, two of the greatest tourist attractions in Parma.
The worst place on earth if you are a pig…
In the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, the humble pig is so revered that an entire month of festivals is dedicated to the gastronomic delights of pork. It is quite understandable! The pig provides the raw product for one of Italy’s most sought-after exports, Parma Ham, but the story of the pig does not end with Parma Ham, and at this month-long festival you will find out how many other great pork delicacies are produced in the region. There are also demonstrations of how the carcass is divided up and how all the various cuts are processed – this event is not for vegetarians, who should perhaps give this festival a miss and rather visit one of the many other attractions of the region!
The November Pork festival, takes place each weekend for the month of November, and each stage is hosted by a different village along the Street of Culatello, (or the Pork Road), starting in Sissa, with “The Flavours of Pork” event. At each stage, the village butchers compete to produce the biggest, longest or heaviest product, which is why the competition is said to be the “greediest” of all food festivals in Italy.
Sissa – The annual “November Pork” fair starts in Sissa on the first weekend of November. On the Friday night there are live concerts and festivities and on the Saturday visitors are tempted by a market of typical products of the area, which include not only pork but also many organic products, fish, teas, spices and spirits. The music and entertainment continues late into the night. Sunday is the day everyone is waiting for – there are demonstrations of cheese making and the making of salamis and other pork products, before everyone gets to taste the giant Mariolone (a type of cooked salami) that the local butchers have been making all weekend.
Polesine Parmense – on the second weekend of the month the festival moves down the road to the village of Polesine Parmense, where it takes much the same form as the previous weekend, with music, dozens of market stalls and this time the star of the show is the Prete(Priest – this is made from the cured meat of the pork shoulder and knuckle, all rolled up in strips of pork rind into a triangular shape, reminiscent of a Priest’s hat) Usually it is a modest sized salami, but for this festival the butchers make the biggest one they can! It is baked and distributed(for free!) to everyone on the banks of the River Po. Of course, it is all washed down with a great local Fortana wine.
Zibello – is the village where the festivities take place on the third weekend, and this time the starring product is the Salame Strolghino; this is a “thin” salami, very delicate in flavour, traditionally made from the trimming of the large pear-shaped Culatello salami, which is locally known as the King of Salumi”. At November Pork, the local butchers of Zibello try to make the longest ever Strolghino to feed the many visitors. And I mean long…sometimes it can be up to several hundred metres!
Roccabianca – is the last village to host the November Pork competition and there are all sorts of extra events to mark the end of the celebrations. These include the “Pork Hot Feet” race, a Christmas Market and, of course, the tasting of the giant Cicciolata (this type of salami is more like a meat-loaf; it is made with some of the best pork cuts, generously flavoured with spices and then set in a loaf-shape, and served with hot polenta).
Each weekend, in addition to all the market stalls where you can buy local products, you can also visit regional restaurants, many of which feature special menus to showcase pork dishes from the region. Also in November, there is a black truffle festival in Parma, a Cheese Fair in Talamello(Rimini), and an olive oil festival in Ravenna, making November one of the very best times of the year to visit Emilia Romagna.
Everybody knows that Parma is the home of some of Italy’s most famous exports, namely Proscuitto di Parma (Parma Ham), Parmesano Reggiano (Parmesan Cheese), Balsamic Vinegar and, of course, Ferrari and Maserati! But did you know that one of the greatest composers of all time also hails from the province of Parma? Giuseppe Verdi was born there in October 1813, and every year the region celebrates the life of one of their favourite sons! The Verdi Festival takes place every year in and around Parma and people come from near and far to listen to his operas being performed in his home territory. This year will be especially wonderful as 2013 marks the 200th anniversary of his birth, and no effort has been spared to make this anniversary a very special showcase for his work.
Giuspeppe Verdi and Parma province.
Giuseppe Verdi was born in Le Roncole and later lived in near-by Busetto in the province of Parma. It is in Busetto that Verdi’s musical talent was first nurtured by Ferdinando Provesi, of the local Philharmonic. After some time spent in Milan learning all he could about music, the prodigy returned to the province of his childhood and became the town’s music teacher. His twenties were marred by great hardship when he lost both his children and his wife, but the Maestro went on to overcome his grief and his best works were composed in the years that followed his tragic loss.
The Giuspeppe Verdi Festival in Parma
The 2013 bi-centennial Verdi festival is a must for all opera lovers, and many special tours and opera packages have been arranged to bring music lovers to Parma. There will be an opera or concert every day at the historic Teatro Regio di Parma (which is also the final resting place of Nicolo Paganini, one of the most renowned violinists in the world) and at the Teatro Giuseppe Verdi in Busseto. Many other side events will take place all over the countryside.
Attending a Verdi Opera or concert at the fabulous Teatro Regio in Parma is an experience you will not easily forget; the beautiful neoclassic style of the theatre makes this an exceptional venue to enjoy the music, and you will be moved by the enthusiasm of the local opera patrons who are very knowledgable about Verdi’s music and respond most enthusiastically.
Operas are usually performed in their original language, and if you do not speak Italian, your experience will be enhanced by reading the libretti – an English synopsis of the story of the Opera – before you arrive for the concert. ( Libretti usually accompany your tickets). Oh yes, do dress smartly for the Opera – on opening nights formal attire is the norm, and for the other performances at least a tie and/or jacket would be acceptable.
The 2013 festival runs from the 30th September to the 31st of October and you can browse all the performance dates and book online at:
Emilia Delizia would be delighted to organise a castle, food and wine tour for your group departing from Piacenza, Parma and Milan. For more information about the castles of the Piacenza/Parma area, please check our article below.
Piacenza and Parma’s Castles, a unique experience in Emilia Romagna.
Planning a holiday in Italy is always a delight with such a lot to look forward to! The Emilia Romagna region in North-Eastern Italy is home to the town of Parma, and we all know that Parma is the birthplace of some of Italy’s favourite exports, Parmesano Reggiano (Parmesan Cheese) and Proscuitto di Parma (Parma Ham), but did you know that the province, (or duchy), of Parma and Piacenza is also home to more than 20 castles? Castles and fortresses are symbolic of the region; they are a constant reminder of the hundreds of years the region has been under siege by successive waves of marauding invaders intent upon destruction and mayhem; they are magical places to visit for adults and children alike and you should not miss the opportunity to include a few in your itinerary.
This area is acknowledged to be the best place to view some wonderful examples of the best-preserved castles in all of Italy, and they are relatively close together, making exploring easy. I will tell you a little about 3 of the castles:
Castello di Bardi. The fortress of Bardi is an excellent example of Military architecture and has stood for more than one thousand years. It was built for defence, but later (16th century) partially converted to an aristocratic residence. There is plenty to see, including the ancient patrol paths, the parade ground, the fortified towers and all you would expect to find in a structure dedicated to defence. The view from the towers is worth the climb, and you can also visit a Museum dedicated to the story of the ancient Valley-Dwelling Civilisation. The Castle is open from March to Nov and entrance is around €5.50 per adult.
Castello di Arquato is found in the little medieval town with the same name (Castell’Arquato) in the province of Piacenza. The Castle was built from 1342-1349, and was a strategic structure, designed for the defence of the area. The rectangular courtyard enclosure is dominated by the Tower (keep) composed of a series of small rooms built one on top of the other, and linked by a series of staircases leading to the very top. Once again, your climbing efforts will be rewarded by the views of the surrounding countryside. You can visit the castle all year round for €3.50 (If you plan to visit several castles, you can buy a discount ticket for €2.00 at the castle that will save you money at all the other castles in the region.)
Make sure to visit the Multimedia Museum of Medieval Life, then explore the pretty little town than spills down the hill and visit the 12th century church of Santa Maria to see some sculptures and frescoes dating from the 12th and 15th centuries.
Castello di Bobbio. Bobbio is a small town near Piacenza, mainly famous for its Abbey and its Christmas Eve Snail Festival! The castle, properly known as Malaspina Dal Verme Castle now lies within the city walls of the town. It was begun in 1304 on the hill overlooking the town and although it is no longer intact, it is still worth a visit. You will find ruins of the Bishops Tower, and another circular tower built on two levels; you can still see the ancient arrow slits on the battlements, now converted to windows. The interior has undergone several modifications but the original large barrel-vaulted main hall is still intact, as are some very old frescoes in the stairwell. The Castle is open all year round and it costs €2.00 to visit. The little town of Bobbio is a lovely place to spend a few hours and you should try to visit the Abbey while you are there.
Food and wine in the Piacenza province.
When all the sightseeing has made you hungry and thirsty, you will be delighted to find yourself in Emilia Romagna, the culinary capital of the country where good food and wine are the order of the day! You are certain to have tasted Parma Ham and Parmesan cheese, but here in Piacenza there are other specialities to try, namely the Coppa Piacentina, Salame Piacentino and Pancetta Piacentina; all of these are wonderful examples of cured meat from the region and have been awarded PDO status (Protected Designation of Origin).
Your meat platter is beautifully accompanied by a glass or two of Gutturnio wine from the hills of Piacenza; this mellow blend of red Barbera and Croatina grapes has recently been awarded DOC status – do not miss it! Salute!
Parma is a beautiful city in Northern Italy. It is located in the region of Emilia Romagna, where you can also find other interesting towns as Bologna, Ferrara, Rimini or Piacenza. The cathedral, the theater Regio or the theater Farnese are very well known. But it is the gastronomy that has turned the world’s eyes to Parma. Do not miss the following events to discover it.
Festival del prosciutto, ham festival
Parma is the town where a delicious cured ham is produced. Made from pig’s ham the whole process can take one year and often even longer. If you want to know more on the production you can visit Parma during the Ham Festival held in middle September. Ham factories are open to public letting people see how they salt and cure the meat. But for those who prefer tasting the product there are many opportunities to do it during these days. Ham is often served as an antipasto with grissini. It can also be used with pasta or pizza as most of the visitors are often used to. If you do not have the time to stop and eat, then a sandwich with ham, a panino, will be your possibility to enjoy the product.
An important point during the festival is the Parma Ham and Deli Meats Museum in the Cattle Market. Other events organized in this period are special menus in restaurants, music and activities for children.
During the month of May since 1985 it is held Cibus, an international food exhibition that attracts a large number of professionals from all over the world. It is a real window for the Italian agri-food sector trying to show the Made in Italy way to the rest of the world. More than sixty thousand visitors from seventy countries and ten thousand products presented are the key numbers. The event is addressed to restaurants, retailers, dieticians, bakers and catering companies. Food processing and machinery are exhibited at la Fiera di Parma where the event is located. The location has been chosen due to its proximity to the Italian Center for Agri-food Research. Next appointment is expected for May 2014.
Verdi festival, a tribute to the maestro
Roncole di Busseto, in the province of Parma is the native village of the great operas Romantic composer Giuseppe Verdi and celebrations of the most famous citizen are held at the beginning of the Autumn. For twenty eight days one of his masterpieces is daily offered at Theater Regio. Otello, The Battle of Legnano, Rigoletto and many other operas are performed by young and great artists. But side events are also amazing and visitors enjoy them greatly. Do not miss Il gioco dell’Opera, an introduction to opera for children, or Premio Zanfi, an international contest for new performers. Concerts and other events are also held under the arcades of the Portici del Grano.
Music and gastronomy are the main activities in Parma, a modern city with an exciting past full of history and culture. Exquisite hotels, tours in the Old Town and unforgettable meals with parmigiano cheese and Italian wine wait for the visitors of the Ham Festival, Cibus and the Verdi Festival.
Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan) guided visit to a cheese day.
Emilia Delizia offers detailed Parmigiano Reggiano cheese tours in Modena, Parma and Reggio Emilia. Our tour will begin early in the morning in order to catch as much as possible. Below we tried to reproduce our tour in pictures to give a better idea to people about what they will see when at the Parmesan dairy.
At the arrival at the dairy we we will see the raw milk sitting in the vats. These large containers “cauldrons” contains 1000 kg of full fat and half milk mixed together. The compound is then acidified and the rennet is added. At this point the milk will turn into a yoghurt like substance.
These are the 2 twins, one is a boy and the other is a girl. Basically these are the curds of the cheese that have been cut and left to rest. From 1000 kilos of milk we obtain 2 45 kilos wheels. Some of the weight is lost during the ageing, and therefore the final product weights approximately 37 kg.
The unformed cheese goes into the Teflon mould for one day and one night. The cheese master carefully add a weight on top of the cheese. In order to squeeze our all the liquid the moulds are then turned every couple of hours. In the evening the cheese cloth is removed and the matrix carrying the naming Parmigiano Reggiano is inserted in the mould. Telon is a new material that has replaced the hand made wooden moulds that were originally crafted by hand. In the video you can clearly see how the cheese is moved from the vat to the moulds. Our guests will be able to see the full production just meters away form the cheese being made.
The cheese goes into the metal mould for another day. These moulds have the shape of the wheel which will not required further manipulation such as the trimming of the edges. The cheese always rest on wooden shelves which allow breathing and the correct ageing.
The wheels then go to a brine bath and stay here for 3 weeks. This is an important step to make hard cheese in fact the high salinity of the water will allow residual moisture to exit thanks to natural osmosis. It is important to keep in mind that Parmesan cheese does not contain any preservative or anti fermentative, therefore it is essential to have the right amount of moisture in the wheels.
The last part of the visit will be spend in the ageing cellars. Here is the Parmigiano Reggiano is stocked on the traditional shelves for a minima of 12 months. During the visit we will learn how to recognise the real Parmesan cheese from imitation and we will discover the nutritional values of the product.
Emilia Delizia is constantly picking up foodies from Parma for our special food tour in Parma that includes visits to Parmesan cheese producers, Balsamic vinegar and Parma ham, therefore we wanted to share some information about some special places where to stay in Parma.
Parma also called the “Petit Paris” as under the French control gained some details of the French cultural influence, so the appearance of a town running along the Parma river started to look like a little Paris.
Palazzo dalla Rosa Prati.
Palazzo della Prati is for sure at the top of our list. Only if you can afford, it is going to be one of the best stay ever while you are in Italy. It is not a a faceless hotel but in Italy is classified as dimora storica or historical dwelling so you get to stay in a real palace, with all the frescoes, statues, chandeliers and charming gardens. On top of this you will be next to the Parma’s baptistery and Romanesque Duomo.
Rubra b&b in Parma.
Rubra is a charming bed and breakfast in right in central Parma, and you will be minutes away from all the delicacies that you find here. Also the owner is said to be a foodie and he will be very happy to point out all the secret of Parma. Rubra is a home away from home with a secluded garden in central Parma.
Villino di Porporano.
Villino di Porporano is in Porporano a small village about 15 minutes from central Parma, due to the location is better to have your own car or be prepared to take a taxi from the city centre. The villilno di Porporano is a fully restored country side villas that wants to introduce you to the charm of the past. All rustic details are taken in seriously, plenty of outdoor space in its idyllic garden. The stay includes a sumptuous breakfast and a swimming pool if you fancy a dip in the morning.
Star Hotel du Park in Parma.
Star Hotel du Park is more popular than ever. The advantages of a 4 star hotel near the city centre (and station) can be difficult to beat. It is situated in a modern building with the look and charm of the past. Along the regular rooms they also offer a vast array of suites to please all tastes. It can be good value when booked on-line and in advance.
Emilia Delizia 3 gourmet tour and farm stay included.
If you decide to stay in Parma and you have your own car, we can also organise a farm stay agriturismo stay in Parma, with Parmesan cheese production. So when you wake up in the morning you can see how the cheese is made from across the yard. The self drive itinerary also includes Traditional balsamic vinegar, and Parma ham.
Emilia Delizia recommends you also to visit the best of Parma while you are staying here and this includes Parmesan cheese producers, traditional balsamic vinegar that can be found in the near province of Reggio Emilia and Modena and of course you can also visit Parma ham (prosciutto di Parma) producers in Langhirano that it is no more than 30 minutes away from central Parma. And do not forget to check where to eat in Parma, and when you are too full you can take a nice walk in Parma to discover more.
Curing ham in a culinary art and it should not be taken lightly.
To become a master Parma ham salter might take many years. Fabrizio of La Perla Parma ham factory in Langhirano says it might take up to 10 years to really master the ability to put the right amount of salt in the right places, he explained during one of our prosciutto tour in the area.
According to the discipline of the Parma ham consortium the back legs of the animals must arrive quickly at the curing facility. In fact the freshly slaughtered meat has bacteria growing on it, the faster you start the production, the least salt you will need to use.
Parma ham is famous for its delicate aroma, and surprisingly it is not salty at all. This is obtained by adding little salt, time and patience. But curing meat with little salt also increases your chances to fail.
When the meat arrives in Langhirano is loaded on a machine that massage and salts the rind.. The difficult bit is to salt the exposed meat, and that it is done exclusively by hand. Below you can see the 3 fundamental points where the leg is salted precisely by the skill full hands of the master salter.
1) it is important that the meat is not covered in salt, but it is applied only in these critical points. Firstly salt is applied on the femoral head as you can see in the picture above. These are points that if they are not salted correctly they will spoil easily.
2) Secondly he presses on the femoral artery, as pictured above, and he adds salt in the area that he created with his fingers. So this is an other critical point where the ham curer should take care of.
3) The 3rd and last part that has to be salted is the fatty part that it is between the meat and the rind of the pig. Therefore the master salter takes a handful of salt and smears it along the fatty line of the leg.
Emilia Delizia organises Parma ham factories tours at small and artisan producers in the Parma province. If you are interested in ham curing techniques we will be glad to organise a detailed visit in the language of your preference.