All tagged Italy

Naples Impressions

As gritty as the guidebooks make it out to be, Naples turned out to be incredibly exciting city, and the closest in feeling to the energy of a thriving Chinatown.

Best Gelato of Milan and Emilia-Romagna, 2017 Edition

Gelato.

I got my first taste of the inimitable texture and pure flavor of fresh gelato in my trip to Rome almost a decade ago, but it wasn't until I visited Florence and Bologna a few years ago when I became truly obsessed with gelato, even taking a gelato-making class.

Now, every time I come to Italy, I make an effort to try as much gelato as possible. Every store is different, and the pistachio in one gelateria will be different from the pistachio in the next. Besides, as I learned in my class, gelato uses more milk than cream, so it's almost healthy! ;) (It's also why the flavors shine through so clearly compared to ice cream - there isn't so much fat that gets in the way.)

This trip to Milan, with a weekend in Emilia-Romagna was no different: I'm proud to say that I averaged 1.67 gelatos per day over the course of my 9-day trip. Here's a rundown of the highlights.

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.

A Day of Cheese, Vinegar, Prosciutto, and Food Coma!

When I was choosing where to spend my weekend after Milan Design Week, I originally had decided on Cinque Terre. It was a place I missed visiting on my Pisa/Florence/Bologna trip a few years ago, and it seemed like a relaxing place to be for just a couple of days.

When I looked into it more, though, it seemed like a combination of cute buildings, stunning scenery, and a bunch of tourists. Which isn't bad - Lake Como is kind of like that -, but I thought back to my Pisa/Florence/Bologna trip and remembered another part of the region that I missed: learning more about the vinegar of Modena ("balsamic vinegar" as we call it in the US), Parmesan cheese, and Parma ham.

I investigated doing a tour of my own, looking up different cheese factories and their opening times, seeing how much it was to go by taxi to the different spots. I quickly came to the conclusion that a food tour would be much more convenient, relaxing, and potentially cost-saving. The food tour from Italian Days had wonderful reviews online, so I just booked it and didn't think twice about it.