A Trip to bella Italia…

My journey took me to Verona, not for the first time and hopefully not for the last time. Verona, the city of love, the place of Romeo and Juliet, many many cafés, restaurants, osterias and gelaterias and in the center by Piazza Bra the massive Arena di Verona.
Italy….a culture of great coffee and fantastic food…..Pasta, Pizza, and Risotto creations, Polenta, fantastic meats and cheeses and wines. Dinner doesn’t start before 9pm and until you are done with antipasti, primi and secondi piatti, wine, and grappa, espresso, dessert and Limoncello and all the good talks while you enjoy delicious food from fine selected ingredients, you lose all the sense of time and all this accompanied with a breeze of “dolce fare niente”.
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Ham of Parma/ Prosciutto di Parma:
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This is an air-dried Ham from the region of Parma, mainly from Langhirano. The ham stays on the bone. Just before serving, they cut wafer-thin slices.
The pigs have to be from specific regions in Middle- and Northitaly. They are fed only with barley, oats and whey (which remains from the production of Parmesan)
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After the aging of 10 to 12 months the ham gets tested and is ready to sell. The ham is smooth like melting in your mouth and is delicate in flavor.

Culatello di Zibello:
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Culatello is made from 2 different black pig breeds and Mora Romagnola. They are held free outdoor and eat corn, acorns and chestnuts.
The 15 – 20kg heavy hams hintervene 14 months in a perforated pig bladder and get rubbed with garlic and red wine. While the ham is aging, he receives a noble mold. Enzymes reach to the inner and contribute to it’s great taste.
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Primi Piatti:
The first course usually consists of a pasta or gnocchi dish. Especially in the north of Italy a risotto is often served. Various soups – creme, zuppe or minestre – can be served as a first course.
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delicious example: Amarone egg pasta parcels with herb-infused cooked ham and crescenza cheese
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or: Tomato Tortelloni with buffalo mozzarella and bacon on green pesto sauce

Secondi Piatti:
The second course is either a meat dish or with fish or seafood. Also fried, cheese or egg dishes can be served as secondi piatti

Pizza:
The pizza is baked just for a few minutes at the highest possible temperature of 400 to 500 degree celcius. This is done in the lowest possible chamber. Most Pizzas are preferentially thin. If you eat it by hand, they call it “a libro” what means “folded into a book”
….nothing is left to chance 🙂
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Wine:
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In Verona you usually drink wines from the region, Valpolicella. Many of them are light summer wines, that you drink when the wine is at young age. These wines are enjoyed mostly by 16 degrees (60F). They also have fantastic Amarone (sweet and heavy) or Recioto (The grapes are stored for at least 120 days before process)
Many nice restaurants have beautiful wine cellars, that they are proud to show you.
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Panna cotta, Tiramisu and semi freddo you will find on most dessert menus. And their Ice cream is the world’s most famous. In Verona you will find a gelateria on every corner….I guess to find your favorite, you must eat your way through 😉
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Tiramisu:
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Tiramisu (means “pull me up”) is made of alternating layers of biscuits and mascarpone, egg yolks and egg whites. The biscuits are sprinkled with cold espresso, which is flavored with Marsala, Amaretto or brandy. The dessert is cooled for several hours, so that it becomes solid. Before serving, the final layer of cream is dusted with cocoa powder. Most restaurants make their own homemade Tiramisu, served as a piece or in a glass.
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I think, who got to know this country will always want to return….not just for their kitchen, also for the people, their heartiness and generousness.

Buon appetito! Salute! E buona notte, ciao!

Ps: If you ever visit Verona I recommend this restaurant: “il banco”
http://www.ilbancoristorante.it/
delicious prepared typical italian menus from fine selected ingredients, finest prosciutto, great wines at reasonable price.

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