A product and the land where it comes from  September 2010
   

The Parma Hills: History and Flavor

The area surrounding Parma is full of architectural, cultural gems and culinary wonders. The best prosciutto is made here, where the sea air and stones tell the stories of knights and princesses.

What is new in the city

Parma is a city that is constantly reinventing itself. With an eye on tradition and the other on creativity, the city always has something new to offer

Leave your car in a parking garage. The best way to visit this delightful town is by foot or by bike. (To rent bikes, visit the web site). Make your first stop, TPalazzo, a new concept store located in piazza Duomo in a former home built in 1222. The stark white rooms are perfect for contemporary art and design shows. Don’t miss TCaffè, the small restaurant inside the store serving coffee, snacks and lunch. Then head next door to visit the historic Palazzo dalla Rosa Prati. For an aperitivo, head to Via Farini. Of all the bars and restaurants, we suggest Enoteca Fontana (tel. 0521.286037) for a glass of red wine and a Principe panino, with culatello and shavings of hot Parmigiano. If you want to buy meats and cheese to take home with you, head to Salumeria Pasini, in business since 1959. In addition to the classics, the store carries rare ingredients like mostarda from Berceto and mosto cotto. Nearby, La Gatta Matta is a quaint osteria where Paola Pesce prepares traditional Italian dishes in her own creative way. For real traditional food, served since 1925, grab a table at Cocchi. The menu has a wide array of salumi, as well as cappelletti in brodo and boiled meats.
It has a protected designation of origin (DOP) the 18 months aged Prosciutto selected and branded by Academia Barilla – renowned for it’s sweetness and well balanced flavour, people can order this incredible Prosciutto directly on the on line store as Academia Barilla ships all over the world. For more information please write to info@academiabarilla.it.

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Langhirano is known as the land of prosciutto.
The men who work at the Istituto Parma Qualità decide the fate of tens of thousands of legs of prosciutto crudo per year.

The quality controllers stick a thin horse bone into each leg, remove it and then smell it. In silence, the quality controllers carefully select the prosciutti based on experience.
The hams that pass the test are branded with the ducal crown with five points.

Now the meat begins its long transformation processes, from salting to aging, to finally become the king of cured meat.

A tour from the city center towards the hills is the best way to discover gourmand addresses like La Gatta Matta in Parma and the Trattoria da Leoni in Felino

A tour from the city center towards the hills is the best way to discover gourmand addresses like La Gatta Matta in Parma and the Trattoria da Leoni in Felino.

Craftsmanship and excellent ingredients are necessary for a good prosciutto crudo di Parma Dop, but what makes it truly unique is the fresh Versilia air that blows through pine forests and chestnut groves.

Located along the road indicated as “la strada del Prosciutto e dei vini dei colli di Parma,” the town of Langhirano has become what it is today thanks to the resourcefulness of its butchers and the favorable climate.

The courtyard from the 17th century of the T Palace, the romantic style of the restaurant La Gatta Matta, the contemporary atmosphere of the T Café and the simple and coloured tables of the Trattoria da Leoni

The courtyard from the 17th century of the T Palace, the romantic style of the restaurant La Gatta Matta, the contemporary atmosphere of the T Café and the simple and coloured tables of the Trattoria da Leoni.

Today, the companies that are a part of the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma Dop export prosciutto throughout the world.

Traveler’s Notebook

A guide to where to sleep, eat and shop

WHERE TO SLEEP

Palazzo Dalla Rosa Prati
Suites with views of the Duomo
Strada al Duomo 7, Parma
Tel. +39 0521.386429
Doubles from 180 euro
Villino di Porporano
A country chic farm house in the middle of countryside
Strada Bodrio 26, Parma
Tel. +39 0521.642268
Doubles from95 euro

WHERE TO EAT

La Gatta Matta
Creative osteria food

Borgo degli Studj 9/a, Parma
Tel. +39 0521.231475
Dinner starting at 40 euro
Cocchi
Salumi and bolliti: tradition abounds

Via Gramsci 16/A, Parma
Tel. +39 0521.981990
Dinner starting at 45 euro
Osteria dello zingaro
Excellent tortelli d’erbetta and homemade desserts
Borgo del Correggio 5/b, Parma
Tel. +39 0521.207483
Dinner starting at 25 euro
Leoni
For traditional food of the Parma hills
Via Riccò 42, Barbiano di Felino (Pr)
Tel. +39 0521.831196
Dinner starting at 30 euro
Locanda del Sale
Homemade pasta and a rare selection of salt
Loc. La Maestà 5, San Michele Cavana (Pr)
Tel. + 39 0521.857170
Dinner starting at 35 euro

WHERE TO SHOP

Prosciuttificio Conti
The king of Prosciutto
strada Fontana 2/a Valle di Castrignano, Langhirano (Pr)
tel. +39 0521.357020
Salumificio Gino Fereoli & Figlio
Excellent salami
Strada Parma 28, Pilastro di Langhirano (Pr)
tel. +39 0521.639005
Salumeria Pasini
Salumi, culatello and parmigiano
Strada Repubblica 83/b, Parma
Tel. +39 0521.289276

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There is even an annual Prosciutto Festival (held September 10 to 19 this year, visit the web site for more info), which includes tastings, theater performances and other cultural activities, including Finestre aperte (Open windows).
During this event, festival-goers can visit the prosciutto-making facilitates, watch how prosciutto is made and participate in tastings.
This is the perfect reason to visit the Italian Food Valley and its castles, ancient churches and chic capital city, Parma.

Food lovers can also visit the Prosciutto Museum, located in a former cattle market (via Bocchialini 7, tel. 0521.864324) and fill up their shopping bags at Prosciuttificio Conti in the Valle di Langhirano or at Salumificio Fereoli & Figlio on the road towards Parma.

Searching for the famous Crudo di Parma,  where gastronomy blends in with history and architecture of the city and of the countryside.

Searching for the famous Crudo di Parma, where gastronomy blends in with history and architecture of the city and of the countryside.

Located just beyond Langhirano and perched on a hill, the Torrechiara castle is undoubtedly the most important castle in the area. It is one of the best-preserved examples of 15th century architecture and was once the love nest of Pier Maria Rossi and his beautiful lover Bianca Pellegrini.
Less than a mile away, you will find the Badia Santa Maria delle Nevi.
The abbey offers incredible views from the watchtower and also houses a 15th century fresco, “Virgin with Child,” made of the Lombard school. Monks and Benedictines work inside preparing medicinal herbs according to ancient traditions.

For dinner, consider traveling to Lesignano Bagni and booking a table at the Locanda del Sale.
The restaurant serves rustic food in a welcoming environment.
Otherwise, there is trattoria Leoni located in nearby Barbiano di Felino.
The trattoria has a beautiful terrace that faces the valley.
The regional menu includes gnocchi, tortelli, anolini and even tripe with beans. The atmosphere is relaxed, the perfect setting for slow-cooked dishes and great company.

Not far from the trattoria is the Castello di Felino, a 19th century castle. The Salame Museum (tel. 0521-831809) is housed in the cellar, built in the 18th century.
And after a long day visiting the region, rest your feet at Villino di Porporano, a farmhouse, recently converted into a pleasant 5-room hotel.

Silvia Ugolotti – Photos by Marzia Gandini

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“The Parma Hills: History and Flavor”

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