Penne Cole's thoughts on food, travel and more
We are on our way to Bollogna from Lake Como and there is no time for anything but a quick pit stop in Parma, Italy. It seems like the rest of the world agrees with us as the city is eerily deserted when we arrive. It is a grey, drizzling Saturday, and it appears that the Parmesans have sensibly decided to stay at home. Undeterred, we hunch deeper into our jackets, and, head bowed against the rain, stride single-mindedly, towards our destination: Trattoria Corrieri.
When we get there, we discover where everyone went. Trattoria Corrieri is among the top recommendations from the blogosphere for cheap eats in Parma so it is perhaps unsurprising that the place is packed to the rafters with both tourists and locals out enjoying their Saturday lunches.
Stepping into the rather cramped foyer, we are immediately confronted by a large glass window that offers a peak into Corrieri’s busy kitchen. Baskets of its speciality, hand-made tortellini, sit in the window while half a dozen chefs, garbed in pristine whites, bustle about the kitchen.
We don’t have a reservation but within minutes, we are led through the cavernous restaurant to a table set within inches of our neighbour. The room is packed, and the vaulted ceilings and exposed brick pillars make me feel like I’m sitting in a cellar. However, large windows, partially covered by filmy white curtains, ease the claustrophobia.
We spend a few minutes half-heartedly perusing the menu but we already know what we want – the tortelli di zucca or pumpkin tortellini is highly recommended. My partner goes for a plate of the mixed tortellini, with herb and cheese, meat and potatoes, and the pumpkin while I stick with the pumpkin. We also share a plate of salumi between us; after all, we are in Parma, home of the deliciously silky Parma ham.
Hungry, we dig into the basket of bread on our table but discover, to our disappointment, that the bread is barely palatable. Coming from France and its excellent bread, this bland, white stuff only just qualifies as bread. Before long, the salumi arrives and we dig in with gusto. We have ordered a mixed plate, which seems to include slices of bacon, salami, parma ham, and what looks and tastes like luncheon meat. Everything but the latter is tasty and exactly what we’ve come to Italy to sample.
But then the tortellini arrives and everything else is forgotten. The presentation is simple, with the plate bare except for the tortellini and a generous sprinkle of parmesan. But then again, the tortellini are like little pockets of heaven, so why would they need any more adornment? The tortellini is perfectly served perfectly al dente, providing a slight bite that is in perfect contrast to the creamy filling. The pumpkin tortellini is both sweet and spicy, and the sprinkling of parmesan on top provides just the right amount of savoury balance. The other two flavours are good as well, but the pumpkin is the clear standout.
By the end of our meal, we are well and truly stuffed. In hindsight, we could probably have done without the salumi, but a visit to Parma wouldn’t have been complete without it. Our bill comes up to just over 30 Euros, pushed higher by the cover charge (coperto) that most Italian restaurants seem to charge. Even so, Trattoria Corrieri serves up some cheap eats indeed.Trattoria Corrieri Via Conservatoria 1 43100 Parma, Italy firstname.lastname@example.org
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