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What to eat in Parma

by /// August 31, 2021
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes



After Forbes, which crowned Emilia Romagna as “Italy’s Greatest Gastronomic Treasure”, Parma has been recognized as UNESCO City for Gastronomy.

The Emilian cuisine is often identified with Bologna’s tortellini, while some typical recipes are only known locally because they are passed down within the home.
Actually, Emilia Romagna has an inimitable heritage of gastronomy that varies depending on the area, the district, the many typical products of the territory: Parma is known above all for the handmade production of cured meats, but if the city has earned the designation of City of Gastronomy, there is a reason for sure! So here’s a little guide savoring the typical Parma’s cuisine.


Torta Fritta

In spite of the name (fried cake), it is salty. Similar to gnocco fritto and crescentine, it is perfect if thin, swollen and extra-hot. It should be eaten with cured meats and cheeses, someone dares with Nutella, but the grandparents tell how, the day after, it is perfect to be dunked in caffelatte (coffee with milk).

First dishes


A handmade egg pasta, whose stuffing recipe is very secret and even changes from family to family.

Foto by Lex2 from Wikipedia

Tortelli d’erbetta

Another kind of stuffed egg pasta, in this case, with ricotta and spinach. According to a local tradition, it has to be eaten especially on the night of St. John, June 24th, that is called by locals the “second Christmas Eve”.

Photo by Clop from Wikipedia

Second courses

Caval pist

That is, the horse meat tartare. Well yes, anyone who has never heard about it always remains dumb and stunned but one of the most consumed dishes from Parma is the raw horse meat seasoned with salt and oil.


Scarpette di Sant’Ilario

Shortcrust pastry biscuits shaped like shoes, in memory of St. Ilario’s passage in the city of Parma, of which he is the patron. According to the legend, Ilario found himself walking through Parma on a winter’s day with broken and worn shoes. A cobbler, seeing him, had compassion and gave him a pair of new shoes. The next morning he was surprised to find the old shoes left by Ilario turned into gold shoes.
These cookies are garnished in many variations and consumed on the anniversary of the Saint, January 13th.

Violette candite

The favorite flower of Maria Luigia d’ Austria, beloved sovereign to whom Parma’s people owe the reputation, still persistent, that French blood flows in their veins. It is common to find it as an accompaniment to coffee instead of chocolate candy.

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