Friday, July 31, 2009

Sorelle Picchi , Parma

Sorelle Picchi is a legendary Salumeria and Restaurant in Parma . The 2nd generation Picchi sisters sold out to a big local producer of Prosciutto (Cotto and Crudo)Parmacotto. I'm glad to report that this institution so favoured by the likes of Dario Fo and gastronomes from all over, Parma , Italy and the World is still superb.

The procurement of the finest Prosciutto di Parma , Culatello di Zibello , Salami di Felino and local Coppa is if anything improved . I suspect the new owners also own many of the suppliers like Antica Salumeria Rosi.

The wine list is now a bit longer and broader and I was very happy to find the superb Pinot Nero from Alto Adige made by Martin Hofstätter . At 15 euros this is a veritable bargain and great match for the remarkable Salumi and Tortelli.

I have eaten here 3 times on this trip and have enjoyed some of the best Culatello and Proscuiutto di Parma I have ever tasted and I have never had better Tortelli alle Erbette.

Also sampled superb Fetuccini con culatello e porcini, Cappeletti en brodo and con sugo di carne whilst the best main was without doubt a melt in your mouth Guanciale de Vitello ( Veal cheek stew).

The only desert I managed on my 3 visits was a beautifully balanced semifredo di zabiaone con salsa di cioccolato caldo .

By my third visit I was actually worried that I would be able to squeeze through the little gap between the wall and the wooden counter on which rests the cash register and enter the back room, a vision of white tablecloths, packed with wooden chairs and busy waitresses serving a myriad of simple staple Parmigiani dishes.

What impressed me about Sorelle Picchi was the cross section of local people who ate in this restaurant at both lunch and dinner. There were doctors ,lawyers , shopkeepers , professional footballers,employees from Parmalat , secretaries , students and farm workers from the province of Parma. This is not unusual in good restaurants in Italy but certainly not common in the UK.

Parma like Bologna and most of Emilia Romagna produces wonderful food and it is really difficult to eat badly. I have always found the cuisine of this region along with large portions of the south (especially Calabria , Campagnia,Basilicata and Sicily)to be head and shoulders above the rest of Italy.

For those who have not visited this part of Italy and tend to focus on Rome , Florence , Venice and maybe Verona too try and find time to discover not only great food the beautiful cities and countryside around Parma , Modena and Bologna !

Sorelle Piccchi

Via Farini 27
43100 Parma
Tel 051 233528