Clandestino Chaos

Parma, Italy


The lack of posts can be easily justified by the explanation of the utter chaos and insanity that has been endured in the past 3 weeks of my life. I know most of you come to this blog to read about the adventures of my stomach, but this time the only thing my stomach wanted to do was flip and eject itself from the rest of my body (no I did not suffer a digestive virus).

Here is the a list of events that may contribute to the development of my unforeseen schizophrenia:

1) The organization of Italian Bureaucracy is like a scene out of a 3 stooges film. One person bumping into the next, running in circles around each other trying to feign some thread of structure. This has thus made my immigration process absolutely laughable….to say the least I was given an appointment in MARCH to meet with the immigration office.

2) I currently live in a hotel, and my residence naturally, has been booked by someone else in January, forcing me to find a new place to live in very little time. The upcoming Christmas season does not help.

3) I GOT A JOB! As a gastronomic tour guide for Parma Golosa, a food centered travel agency here in Parma. I’ll be giving Americans tours of Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto, and Balsamic Vinegar factories here in the area. They’re even giving me a car!

After all this mess, I’ve come to realize that my life is like a Woody Allen film…only perhaps a little bit less intelligent.

We’ll have to see what’s in store for the next installment of “My Life is a Mess.”

Buon Appetito.

Typical Parmasean Cuisine: A Winter Specialty

As I sit in my apartment, staring out my huge Romantic era glass windows, I am sheltered by the absolute freezing cold that lurks outside. To be fair my California blood has a much lower cold threshold than other parts of the world, but nevertheless…37 degrees is cold.

Each region in Italy has its own typical cuisine, based upon available products and cultural history. Sometimes these cuisines can vary greatly even between bordering cities. NOW, while regional specialties of Parma have become sentimental favorites, they can tend to become a little repetitive and heavy, as every restaurant in this city seems to feature these specialties on their menu.

Some examples of typical Parma foods:

  • Torta Fritta con Salumi: A fried dough pocket typically eaten together with prosciutto and parmasean cheese. This is such a prized specialty here in Parma that many restaurants even advertise it as some sort of celebration. This is eaten more typically in the summer but it can be found year-round.
    Torta Fritta
  • Tortelli d’Erbetta/Zucca: Tortelli, a stuffed pasta similar to ravioli, is a family favorite here in Parma. The most typical fillings to find in this area are Erbetta: herb and Zucca: pumpkin. The herb variety is usually mixed with ricotta while the Zucca is usually just a puree. The Zucca ones are so sweet they sometimes are served with crushed Amaretti cookies as a garnish, though these are a littttle too much on the sweet side for me. They are served with a butter sauce and fresh grated Parmagiano cheese

    Tortelli d'Erbetta doust in butter and cheese...mmmm cardiac arrest

    Cappelletti in Brodo: A very typical winter dish. Cappelletti, meaning little hats in Italian, are small refilled pasta that can look something like what Americans think to be tortelini. They are usually stuffed with ham, cooked to Al-Dente in chicken broth,  and served like a soup with grated parmigiano cheese.

    Cappelletti in Brodo
    As the weather gets colder, heavier the meals get, and subsequently the heavier I get…. as you can see I might be making a weight-loss New Years resolution this year…