Our first morning in Parma was going to be about castles. Upon arriving at the Agritourismo, Adriano gave us a pamphlet with photos of various castles in them. After doing a bit of research that evening, it was determined that we should visit two of them.
The first being Castello di Torrechiara, located about 11 miles South of Parma, it stands on a hill overlooking the Parma Valley.
We parked our car at the foot of the hill and walked up the road. There was a slight drizzle, but that didn't diminish the wonderful view as we walked up to the castle.
The walk up to the gates seem a bit intimidating and forboding…..especially with no one else around on this morning. We had arrived just after 8am when the castle opened.
It does indeed look like a fortress on a hill.
And yet, once you walk upon the wall and porch, you start noticing things....like the magnificent views.
It is quite enchanting.
You start understanding that building this castle was a labor of love. In fact Pier Maria de Rossi built this castle, for the love of his life Bianca Pellegrini, a Noblewoman of Milan. Both were married.....
Once you enter the rooms and see the frescoes you really start understanding.
This is the "Golden Room", the bedroom of Pier Maria Rossi. Gold leaf once adorned the tiles on the wall.
The Room of the Jugglers.
Several other rooms have impressive frescoes......it's quite breathtaking.
It was still drizzling off and on as we walked back down the hill to the car.
We decided to head to the town of Fontanellato about 12 miles west of Parma.
We noticed that all the streets into the center of town were blocked off.
So we went ahead and found a parking lot right outside the town center.
We had actually stopped in Fontanellato to check out the castle; this one was built in the 13th century and featured a moat. But upon arriving in town we were immediately distracted by.....pirates?!?
And Food Trucks?
And Pop Music....American of course......coming from the castle? A quick look at the sign explained all.
"Castelo Street Food" it said....it was some kind of street fair.
We cracked up...….
We decided to just walk around a bit, then grab some lunch.
We weren't in Emilia-Romagna to eat burgers or fish and chips....food trucks were out. We passed by a few nice looking places, but just didn't "feel it".
Then down on of the side street from Rocca Sanvitale we saw a deli....which seemed to have some tables in the front....it also had a nice small menu. The woman behind the counter waved at us; so we walked in.
The shop had a nice little dining area in the back of the shop.
The menu was totally in Italian, but it had started getting pretty easy ordering. Since this looked to be selling a lot of salume, formaggi, and trays of pasta to locals....ordering was easy.
Salume Misto con Torta Fritta (12€).
The torta fritta was a bit thicker and not as light as what we had the previous evening. It was however, super hot, and seemed to bring out the best in the prosciutto, culatello, and especially the fatty pancetta canusina.
The Missus had never bought into the combination of balsamic vinegar on Parmigiano Reggiano; but I couldn't help but order the Gustazione Parmigianno Reggiano (10€), which had 24/30/36 month old cheese.
While we both enjoyed the 30 month old the best; a balanced nutty-milky, the Missus isn't a big fan of the crunchy tyrosine (it's NOT SALT) crystals in aged Parmesan, She did enjoy the 36 month old cheese with the balsamic drizzle. Oh, and none of these cheese were salty.....that's what we found with Parmigiano Reggiano, it's not especially salty. This was a lot ofcheese and we ended up taking half of it with us to go.
The pasta en brodo (9,5€) here was Cappelletti....."little caps".
The broth here was a bit darker than what we had previously and not quite as rich. Nice chicken flavor though and the cheese filled pasta was lovely; milky, not overly milky. There's something about capon broth and these pastas that are so good.
The Missus got the Tortelli de Patate con Funghi Porcini (9€).
Porcini was really the way to go as mushroom and sauce was earthy and almost sweet. The potato filling was pretty much that.....filling; the texture of the pasta was a nice al dente, the grated parmesan added a nice milkiness to thing. This was quite filling.
The Missus enjoyed the Lambrusco....I was driving so I just had H2O. The two young ladies, one which seemed to be the woman behind the deli counter's daughter were very ncie.
A nice meal overall.
Via Guglielmo Marconi 21
Vicino Alla Rocca Sanvitale, Fontanellato, Italy
It's amazing.....a random spot.....another nice meal.