Parma

At the ice cream shop called K2 behind the cathedral on the right. The nuns make a gelato in the shape of a flower in seconds.

A typical restaurant to have dinner is the Trattoria I Corrieri in Via Conservatorio 1, which is situated near the law faculty of the university. Try some torta fritta, and prosciutto di Parma and all the other salami and coppa specialities from that region as a starter, followed by the typical tortelli. If you take Tris di Tortelli, you will enjoy that special type of pasta, one filled zucca pumpkin, raddichio red lettuce and ricotta e spinaci spinage& cheese.

Osteria del Gesso (http://www.osteriadelgess...), Via Ferdinando Maestri 11, tel: +39 0521 230505, mailto:info@osteriadelgesso.it. Osteria del Gesso is a small, quaint restaurant down a narrow street in historic center city. The menu is based on the typical cuisine of the region. The food is well prepared and delicious, particularly the tortelli di erbetta and crespelle di grano. The staff did not speak English, but are helpful and provide excellent service.

La Forchetta borgo San Biagio 6, tel: +39 0521 208812. Excellent ristorante just off the Piazza del Duomo serving typical regional cuisine. Superb tortelli di zucca and a very interesting and creative appetizer of gelato of Parmesan cheese with a fig preserve and balsamic vinegar.

Trattoria delTribunale (http://www.trattoriadeltr...), Vicolo Politi 5, tel. 0521.285527 - Fax 0521.238991 mailto:info@trattoriadeltribunale.it. Excellent traditional restaurant in the city center recommended by the Slow Food editors. The guanciale pork cheek diavolo was tender, sweet and succulent with just the right amount of spiciness. The local specialty, anolini in brodo was also excellent.

Hotel & Ristorante Leon D'oro (http://www.leondoroparma.com), V.le Fraiit 4a, tel. 0521.773182. Hotel and Ristorante Leon D'oro is a family owned restaurant that has been around since 1917. They serve traditional food near the train station and are more of a local place as opposed to a tourist location. They are known for their salumi and handmade pastas, as well as their extensive wine list.

Other Foods

If you are in Parma, your trip is not complete until you try a hunk of its eponymous cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano. Known the world over, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese owes its quality to its source. The cows that produce the milk graze only on grass and hay in fields around the city. The cheese is made and aged from 18 months to over 30.

Another food you must try in Parma is the local cured ham, Prosciutto di Parma. Parma's Prosciutto is the gold standard for salumi. The hams are cured and aged in temperature and humidity controlled rooms for at least 10 months. The result is a salty, sweet, piece of meat that is sliced razor thin and can be eaten all by its self, or as a part of many regional dishes. It is delicious served simply over a plate of summer melon. As far as salumi goes though, Culatello is king. Unfortunately government regulation on the production of Culatello has driven it nearly to extinction, but there are still rogue producers who cure the meat in cellars. Culatello differs from Prosciutto in that it is made from the fillet cut of the ham as opposed to the whole ham. If you can get your hands on some genuine Culatello, do it, because it is next to impossible to find in the U.S. and can go for around $60.00 a pound.

Parma is also known for its delicate stuffed pastas and outdoor markets. Be sure to take advantage of the fresh seasonal vegetables that Parma has to offer.