Thursday, December 30, 2010

Parma, if the whiff is right...

Parma was the first stop of our holiday for culinary delight, (about an hour and a half out of Milan). I have now experienced my comfort food of a ham and cheese sandwich, but as the life of a rock star. A large plate of Parmesan cheese, parma ham and fresh bread rolls, (not quite the greasy square parcel I used to purchase from the school canteen growing up, nor was it served by my friends mum who wore a 'moo moo' and had flippy floppy triceps). I had a feeling this 'ham and cheese' would be the theme for lunch, dinner and an expected breakfast. Specialties of the region are prosciutto (ham), parmigiana reggiano (cheese) and Modena's Aceto Balsamico (balsamic Vinegar); also tortelloni and tagliatelle, (which we sampled at lunch in a pumpkin and salmon version). Our daughter ate the pasta, (which she usually pushes aside), and our son took one for the team, (again), hubby and I were left amazed again that the children had managed to eat majority of our ordered meals. Our first successful meal for our Christmas holiday.

The buildings in the historic part of town were pretty, neat and the town was clean with lovely shopping. But as my husband noted, 'there was a lack of balconies on the buildings', I did not really notice as my eye was drawn mid street to the Christmas lights still on display between the buildings, and the fresh produce markets.

IF - Interesting Fact

Parmigano reggiano cheese has been produced around Parma region for more than 700 years and is aged for 2 or more years. Parma's Prosciutto is left for 10 to 12 months of drying, salting and then the cutting process; ham is judged ready if it passes the final test. This involves being pierced with a needle made from a horse bone and sniffed by an expert - "If the whiff is right the ham is ready!" (Personally, I think this would make a good t-shirt logo.)

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