Parma Eats: old-school at Ristorante Cocchi
After not getting to eat at the "recommended" Da Enzo and Da Danilo in Modena because they were full, I called ahead to Ristorante Cocchi to make a reservation for lunch two days later. The friendly guy spoke English well, and asked me to call ahead if I couldn't make the reservation because he said that Sunday lunches were his busiest times.
Cocchi is a bit outside of Parma town center. It's a pretty easy walk down a slightly dull, busy road, but I did take the bus back into town on the return to save time and get out of the sun.
My table was waiting for me with my name on a little tent card!
For my starter, I got a plate of cold cuts - I wanted to eat Parma ham in Parma! The plate included salume, parma ham, culatello (ham from the pig's rear end, supposedly the most tender of all), bacon, and coppa, all served with fried bread.
Next, I got the tortelloni/ravioli sampler. This included pumpkin, ricotta and chard, and potato with black truffles. The potato ravioli were my favorite - the fresh shaved truffles really made a difference.
For my main course, I ordered what the waiter said was their specialty, bollito misto - boiled meats carved table-side. The waiter wheeled around a cart with different warming trays, and pulled out each selection of meat one by one, sliced some off, and plated it. Here you can see him slicing off a piece of sausage made in what looks like a pig trotter.
The bollito misto included, clockwise from top, parmesan cake, beef, sausage that was cut from a pig's leg, tongue, another sausage, chicken breast, and a variety of sauces, mashed potatoes, and a very interesting feature, candied fruits with mustard flavor. That maraschino cherry was the most pungent of all, like eating pure wasabi! Can't say this was my favorite dish - boiled meats is boiled meats, and the sauces couldn't revive the meat.
Ristorante Cocchi was a neat, old-school experience, a great place to get typical Parma food. What I ordered for the main maybe wasn't to my taste, but that was more due to what the dish was itself, rather than any fault in the restaurant's preparation of it.
Ristorante Cocchi (www.ristorantecocchi.it)
Viale Antonio Gramsci, 16/A
+39 0521 981990 for reservations