November 1, 2016
Parma is a small city with a big imprint on the gastronomic world with its Parmigiano (Parmesan) cheese and Prosciutto di Parma (Parma ham). It also features other forms of dry-cured meat, such as culatello. Here is a view of a crowded Parma store featuring local specialties.
Giovanna, Linda and I went for dinner at Cocchi in Parma on October 10, 2016.
There are several dining rooms on both sides of the entry lobby.
We were taken downstairs to a room looking into the wine cellar, which also showed hanging whole prosciutto di Parma hams.
We shared our cosy room with a local family celebrating a son’s admission to medical school, and another table of men they knew.
For our apéritif, and to go with our first course, we had a bottle of “Trentasei” Lambrusco di Modena Spumante D.O.C. Brut Metodo Classico. Well, normally I would never think of ordering a bottle of sparkling pink wine, but they take Lambrusco quite seriously here and so we had to try it. Refreshing to start, it then had more body and went better with the cheese and culatello than the prosecco we normally would have ordered.
A plate of Parmesan cheese chunks was put on the table. It was fresh and quite soft with great flavor.
Our first course was
Culatello di Zibello (18/30 Mesi – Antica Ardenga, Antica Corte Pallavicina)
Culatello is a version of prosciutto made from a hind loin portion of the pig and processed in a special way. This one is from the town of Zibello and has been dry aged for 18-30 months. It has a refined meatiness. To go with it we ordered a plate of
Torta Fritta (da accompagnare ai salumi)
The fried bread dough puffed up like a pomme soufflée. It was a nice accompaniment to the culatello, cutting its richness.
Having finished the refreshing Lambrusco, we ordered a bottle of a regional red wine: 2013 Barattieri Gutturnio Superiore.
This is a mixture of 60% Barbera and 40% Croatina/Bonarda. It is grown in the Gutturnio DOC at the western edge of the Emilia-Romagna wine region. (Thus the Barbera, rather than Sangiovese.) It was assertive.
Giovanna’s second course was another Parma specialty
Tortelli di zucca.
The tortelli were filled with lightly spiced pumpkin and dressed simply with butter and parmesan cheese.
Linda and I had
Risotto con tartufi bianco.
We could not resist the offer of aromatic, seasonal white truffles grated over risotto. This brought back memories of our biennial trips to the Piemonte at this time of year.
Giovanna went on to
Insalata Rustica (misticanza, pancetta croccante, scaglie di parmigiano, olio extravergine d’oliva e balsamico)
She loved this mixed green salad with parmesan shards, crispy bacon, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Linda and I had
Punta di Vitello Ripiena e Patate Arrosto
A slice of roast breast of veal stuffed with polenta was flavorful, but not tender. It was served with excellent roast potatoes and sweet red peppers.
We did not have dessert.
The ambiance was very local and good. The service was friendly. The pace was leisurely, but we were not in a hurry.