Parma

Parma/Tuscany

11/5

As we set out to explore the town of Parma we realized the rain wasn’t going to let up. We walked around for a few hours and as it rained harder we stopped into a cafe where we got some coffee and devised a plan for the rest of the day. This shop also had a wide selection of pastries that looked amazing.

20111106-082133.jpg

After our cappuccino, we decide to head through the mountains towards Colonatta.  In the culinary world they are most known for lardo; however, the town is even more well known for its marble, which was used for the statue of David. This little town was covered in marble; from their stairs to their drive ways and their patios; you couldn’t go anywhere with our seeing it used. Even the main piazza where people park their cars was made of marble!

20111106-082206.jpg
Marble sculptures with the white marble mountains in the background.

20111106-092102.jpg
Left: salami from Parma. Right: Lardo from Colonatta.

We worked our way down the marble covered mountains and drove towards Lucca where we decided to stay the night and out of the rain.

After a drink at a local restaurant, we set out to find dinner.  After wandering for half an hour we decided to go back to where we had the drinks. The menu looked good so we were going to give it a try. By the time we got back the restaurant it was full and they were using post-it’s to make reservations, which meant a 45 minute wait for us, so we ventured out for another source of sustenance. We stumbled upon a quiet place in an alley and decided to eat there. The wine service was probably the best I have seen and the food was great. It was comfort food, nothing dazzling or over priced, but it was good.

Lucca was a great family oriented town and it almost felt like I was back home. I remembered walking down Pearl Street mall in Boulder, Colorado, with my family, looking at shops and restaurants. We didn’t spend much time in Lucca but it is a great city and I’m glad we made the stop.

Modena/Parma

11/4

The day started out with a visit to the Ferrari museum just south of Modena. The cars were cool and the whole area is built around Ferrari, including museums, restaurants, and hotels. Here are just a couple of the cars.

20111104-184735.jpg

20111104-184718.jpg

After the museum, we ventured through dense fog and into the mountains. We passed through a half dozen villages before we stopped at one for lunch and a break from sitting in the car. One our way back, we saw numerous Parmesan facilities and we stopped at everyone. Unfortunately 12pm to 3pm is nap time in Italy so we were unable to see any cheese making today.

After we got out of the mountains, we found a bar and got ourselves some espresso before beginning our adventure to the lumbrusco facility. This winery makes numerous types of wine from sparkling lumbruscos to grappa, all of which were very good. Later in the tour we went to the attic in the family home and saw the beautiful casks of balsamic vinegar. Lucky for us we got to try a spoon full of 90 year aged and certified balsamic. It was the best vinegar I have ever tried; naturally thick and syrupy, sweet, and a of touch acid. We went into the next room where they had a 150 year balsamic and was started when the house was built. Unfortunately we did not get to try that one. Next stop is Parma, home of cured meat!

Nothing but rain the next few days and if you saw the news about the north west coast, then you would know that there is massive flooding so we decided against the Italian Riviera. We wandered and found a nice bar were we got a very nice cured meat and cheese platter.

20111106-081643.jpg

20111106-081650.jpg
We will set out to explore the rest of Parma tomorrow.