Recipe for Italian Salsa Verde

As with Mexican style salsa, there really are no rules when it comes to Italian salsa. I’ve seen plenty of recipes that incorporate anchovies and capers, while others avoid them. Bread is another ingredient that is sometimes used and other times not. Salsa is a condiment and depending upon the application, the stronger, more contrasting flavors of salty, sour, or spicy could be used to offset or compliment another flavor in the dish.

mastro_scheidt_salsa_verde

I chose NOT to use anchovies, capers, or spicy peppers in my salsa verde. Instead, I favored citrus, copious amounts of oil, and a rustic style bread for substance. I was using the salsa verde as a spread for my confit of thigh and slow braised pork sliders, instead of barbeque sauce, aioli or pesto.

3 thick slices rustic bread, crusts left on
3 tablespoons Rice wine vinegar
1 cup Olive oil
1 clove Garlic
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1 whole bunch of Parsley
3 branches Tarragon
3 branches Marjoram

Cut your bread into small chunks and soak with the vinegar and olive oil in a shallow bowl for about 5 minutes. Mix and fold the bread so that it is completely saturated in the liquid and easy to pulverize in the food processor.

Take all the rest of your ingredients and the soaked bread mixture and place in a food processor. Pulse the mixture several times until all the ingredients are mixed well together and form loose paste.

Taste the salsa verde for seasoning and salt and pepper to taste.

Outside the Guidebooks, Italian Travel

Let me help translate what the guide book refers to as European charm, quaint surroundings, or living like a local.

Dog crap on the sidewalk. Enjoy it, it's everywhere. Parma had the most, Lucca was a close second, with Florence reasonably clean on main tourist areas, but in the less frequented areas, poop. Siena is relatively free of dog poop, except in outlying neighborhoods. Verona, Padua and Vicenza were much like Siena, with lower percentages per square foot. Dog poop is everywhere, pray it's raining and raining hard at night.

Random Smells. If you AirBnB as I did, some apartments have smells coming from the outside at certain times of day. Depends on the neighborhood. Beware heavy student populations, lots of close quarters living. Parma was fine, other than dog poop. Lucca had zero smells where I rented. Siena, positively wonderful. Florence, near Santa Croce, on the other extreme, a combination smell of burning garbage, boiled meat, a hint of sewer, mixed in with diesel exhaust and perhaps that 2pm and 11pm waft of cigarette smoke from the flat next door. If the house was locked up all day without the window open, yep, your pillow was gonna smell like burnt garbage, boiled meat, cigarettes and diesel fumes. 

Ancient streets can wear on you. I love the charm of an ancient city and its streets and alleys. I like the old streets, cobblestone, roughed stone, etc. However, one needs to pay attention when walking, firstly for the aforementioned dog poop, secondly for loose stones and protruding stones. Dog poop hides in these nostalgic, ancient street cracks like a moray eel waiting to attack. This may be why Europeans walk slowly. Less issue with becoming unbalanced or tripping on a stone when walking slowly and greater reaction time to avoid dog poop. If you're in a hurry, you may experience knee and ankle problems or a complete wipeout.

Cold floors in your apartment or hotel. Regardless of where one stays, even a four or five star hotel, your floor will be concrete or tile and it will be cold. Period. If the owner bought a rug, consider it a bonus. Bring slippers.

Your floors will be cold. Wear slippers. 

Your floors will be cold. Wear slippers. 

A shower that sucks. Sure, everyone has a bidet, but the offset is a low pressure, coffin sized shower, that barely has enough room to turn around in and the water may or may not get hot. Hotels aren't much different. Or better yet, a bath tub with a long shower head attachment but no shower curtain and no pole to hang the shower head. 50/50 chance on reasonably consistent hot water. Learn to deal with it. These shower inconveniences fall under the same category as No Air Conditioner in Summer.

Ambient heat radiators. It may be a mortal sin if an Italian increases the heat in their apartment to 19c which is not 70 degrees. Of course the thermostat is located near a heating unit, not actually where you sit down to eat or watch tv, those locations are 7-10F degrees cooler than where the thermostat is located. The advice is usually, wear heavier clothing inside. My advice if you need to warm up? Go to one of the 83 clothing shops down the Main Street that are using all the electricity in the town to crank their heat up so they can leave their doors open for tourists to come in a shop. If you want to be warm, go shopping, the heating rules obviously don't apply to retail clothing or shoe stores in Italy.

This will totally heat up my apartment. Not! But it will dry my socks. 

This will totally heat up my apartment. Not! But it will dry my socks. 

Washing machines? Sure! Clothes Dryer? No chance. I know I just bashed heating units in Italy, but they do haveanother use besides heating the wall it's attached to and preventing the thermostat from registering an accurate temperature. Ambient heat radiators are great for drying socks, underwear and jeans. Throw a spun dry pair of denim over a wall mounted radiator unit, flip a couple times, you'll have bone dry jeans in a hour. How am I supposed to dry my clothes in a house that's 60 degrees and the outside temp is 38 with no sun in winter time? By the way, this little washer will take in upwards of 2 hours to wash your clothes, so wash your clothes the night before you travel.

This washer takes 2 hours to wash my clothes and doesn't dry them for me. 

This washer takes 2 hours to wash my clothes and doesn't dry them for me. 

Sitting at a restaurant bar is near impossible in Italy. As a single traveler for most of my business career, I've been seated at many a restaurant bar, it's the norm. I generally don't think Italians like people to sit at their bar. Italians seem to want everyone seated at a table. I was lucky enough to snatch a seat at one bar all night long, while others were simply turned away, like beggars.

This is a No-Joke security door.  

This is a No-Joke security door.  

A couple positive thoughts:

On the upside, Italian security doors are awesome. 100% metal. Multiple contact points and bolted or screwed into the concrete around them. There would be less breaking in from perps in the US, if we installed doors like these. In order to get to one apartment flat, it took 3 keyed doors to get in and up 3 flights of stairs. Try stealing a 60 inch plasma from my flat perp!

Summer versus Winter Travel?

 It's a lot less busy in city centers and train stations during winter, even at the busiest stations like Milan and Florence. Now, it hasn't rained much, so I haven't been inconvenienced, and it is cooler, much cooler. Sweating constantly in the humid Italian summertime climate can be challenging. No air conditioning is no fun. Yep, winter travel in Europe is better.

Do and Do Not in Italy

So you want to blend in as an Italian?

If you do not want to be picked on by street vendors trying to sell you something or approached by some horrible restaurant hawker just off some historical landmark, or be thought less of by a restaurant server, please follow some basic rules:

Avoid this restaurant with your last breath. Even if you are starving!  It's in English dummy.

Do Not do the Following!

1. Eat within a one block radius of a grossly famous landmark, like the Duomo in Florence. In fact, you can avoid eating in Venice altogether. Eat in Verona or Padua.

2. Wear your waterproof jacket from REI or North Face. Remember, stylish and wet is better.

3. Under no circumstances, wear a scarf from Gryffindor.

These are tourists in Venice.

These are tourists in Venice.

4. Put on Tennis/Athletic/Cross trainer shoes UNLESS you plan on actually jogging. Totally appropriate.

4. Wear red pants, not appropriate in winter. Ochre color is the winter color.

5. Wear a Baseball cap. Don't wear one, wear a watchmens cap instead.

6. Wear cargo pants. No. Those are for work related activitiesin the United States of America.

7. Wear flannel. No Italian wears flannel, unless they are out hunting or laying brick. 

8. Use a selfie stick. You will be tempted. It's a scourge that needs eradication.

9. Hipster alert! Please don't be fussy at restaurants by asking that your bottled water is "room temp". It's totally an American trying to show that they know Italian culture, when you actually don't. You look like a jack ass.

10. Ask for more grated Parmigiano on your pasta. In fact don't even think about using the grated Parm your server is going to put on your table; that is bait to see if you're an American. 

Please Do the Following

1. Scarf in winter. Wear one. In fact they asked me at customs in Milan if I had one with me. I thinks it's a new law in the EU, I could be wrong.

2. Consider taking up cigarette smoking again. You may not be able to smoke indoors, but many Italian smoke. I'm a fan of the Man with no Name cigars Clint Eastwood smoked in all those Spaghetti Westerns. Do not underestimate these cigars. They are harsh and smell like an out of control mesquite wood barbecue fire.

There are two kinds of people in this world,  those with cigars and tourists.

There are two kinds of people in this world,  those with cigars and tourists.

3. Down jackets are fine. Excessively gaudy, over-stuffed, brightly colored down jackets are permitted, but you should probably have a shaved head and stylish glasses on as well, as if you just got off the slopes and this is apres ski ware.

4. Jeans are ok. Plenty of Italians wear jeans. Ripped open knees seem to be the trend right now.

5. Leather shoes. A must.

6. Unnecessarily carry an umbrella and open it under THREAT of rain. Very European. It doesn't actually have to be raining at all, just looking like it's going to rain.

7. Consider renting a small dog to walk each evening. The smaller the dog, the better.  Don't worry about picking up after your dog, no one will mind.

8. Rent a bike, ride it through crowded streets while talking on your cell phone, with a bag of groceries lashed to your other hand and the handlebars of the bike. Very Italian.

9. If you are with your significant other, randomly stop on busy streets and go full on High School Make-Out Mode. Age in not a factor. Just do it. Make-out as long as you like. 

10.  When boarding a train, get as close to the door and passengers off-loading from the train as possible. Consider partially blocking the door and offering a 1000 yard stare toward each passenger, for the inconvenience of having to wait for them to leave.

Punto Part Two, Lucca

I've already sung the praises of Punto in Lucca. I found their approach to be refreshing, technically proficient, and complimentary toward traditionally Italian dishes. I could have chosen anywhere in northern Italy to finish out my last several days in Italy, I chose Lucca for two reasons, the town is lovely and Punto just changed their menu again.

I saw the menu change at Punto online and the introduction of a beef tartare to the menu, it made my decision that much easier.

Redemption!

Beef tartare in Italy was found worthy at the one place I thought it might. Punto in Lucca.

A smokey oil on the tartare carried all the flavor. Like the oil from salmon skin, silky and packed with flavor, the oiliness transferred smoke, salt and umami to the dish. I think that it almost had the scent and oiliness of cold smoked salmon. Nothing is what it appears at Punto. Looked like every other boring and unseasoned tartare I've had in Italy. I spoke again with the partner about this; we are in agreement about the boring nature of tartare in Italy. The fact that beef needs time, a Michael Mina table treatment won't work on beef. It needs time. Tuna can be quick cured at the table. The beef needs time to penetrate.

Celery risotto. Exactly as billed. No tricks. Celery was breathed all over it, almost juiced in it, so the pungency wasn't there but you knew what it was, celery. No stray celery fibers, instead, very tiny pieces of celery that were perfectly soft. Some ground black sesame garnished the dish. Beautiful presentation.

Guinea fowl was spot on the fegato on top of the farrow polenta added fat. Simple prep, but each piece was moist and flavorful

Chocolate dessert was a flavored mascarpone mousse covered in chocolate dead simple easy to do ahead. Take what I had at Le Logge in Siena, the creamy nutty goodness and soak that on here too. The mascarpone was almost cheesecake like, not so soft like a mousse, but not as thick as a dense cheesecake either.

Punto deserves respect. 

Italian Wine Notes, Tuscany and The Veneto

I wanted to drink great Sangiovese in Italy. 

One must continuing trying wines. Great wines. Lesser wines. Wines that come from a jug. Wines that I'll never remember the name; but I'll remember the experience. I make wine for a living and I don't want to develop a "cellar palate".

The pictures below are the wines I've been drinking during my travels in Italy. I don't give scores; I give basic descriptions, often the impact of the wine and my personal outlook at the time. I was probably eating something while I was drinking. These tastings are not blind, ever.

I'm only looking and reporting on the score from the major critics after the fact. I generally didn't have any idea on scores while I was purchasing. A few wine stores did post the score at the point of sale. The descriptions are varied, sometimes without a single word regarding any of the properties often assigned by critics; a simple Up or Down vote from me might do.

This is NOT an exhaustive list of wines I consumed in Italy. Stuff falls through the cracks, but it's a good representation of what I've been drinking. I might be drinking with friends, restaurant staff, the winemaker, winery owner, or alone. The list is heavily Sangiovese influenced, that is the one purposeful item I injected into my overall experience. After all, I make Sangiovese for a living.

Risottoria, Vicenza

A tour de force of risotto in Vicenza. This is a locals spot, a short drive out of the main center. Naturally, I was introduced to this restaurant by locals, this restaurant doesn't show up in the guide books or the Gambero or Michelin guides. The rule of thumb, one risotto per person. We pick them and the restaurant decides in which order to serve them. They will come out one-at-a-time.

Please take notice, the risotto has texture, yet remains loose. Individual grains have texture, "bite", not mooshy and over-cooked. There is also liquid surrounding the rice. Risotto is NOT served dry like pilaf or white rice. 

Mantovana, with crema di zucca, salsiccia cotta with rosemary fresco tritato. Great way to start off the evening. Creamy mouth feel, rosemary is mellowed out, sausage adds depth. I'm not a fan of rosemary mashed potatoes, the rosemary is just too pronounced. However, with risotto and with the lighter touch of rosemary, there isn't the pungency, only the fragrance, opening up the senses, almost as an appetizer should.

Mantovana

Mantovana

El Burielo, it had smoked meat and veggies in it. Smoke, tempered, just added perfume to this risotto. Think about adding a speck to a risotto. Spanish chorizo could be introduced here, a play on paella. Opens up a world of possibilities. Smoke is a meat flavor multiplier. There wasn't that much smoked meat in this dish, but that smoke makes you believe you've just eaten some barbecue.

El Burielo

El Burielo

Tartufato, with scagliette di ricotta fume. It's hard to beat this risotto. It's truffles for Pete's sake. A lot of them too. Really, I have not words. It's wonderful. It also removes any smoky nuances from the previous risotto.

Tartufo  

Tartufo  

Piccantino alla Puttanesca, rice with black and green olives, capers, spicy tomato sauce, anchovy, peppers. Wins the award for unique. Why is puttanesca parochially reserved only with pasta? I think risotto melds the ingredients of puttanesca better than pasta. There's an edge on pasta puttanesca (I know that's the point), sharp flavors of garlic, pepper and anchovy can be off-putting. The risotto incorporates the flavors better because of the starch in the sauce. A bite of anchovy or garlic doesn't stick out in risotto like they would with pasta. With each scoop of rice, every single ingredient is part of every bite with the same basic concentration. With pasta, many of the ingredients are at the bottom of the bowl, not homogenized around each bite of pasta. With risotto, no ingredients are left behind, homogenized evenly in the entire dish.

Puttanesca  

Puttanesca  

I finished with a lemon sorbetto in a martini glass and the sorbet was a bit loose, and certainly had egg white. I sometimes forget how much I like something bright, clean and acidic to finish off a rich meal; a rich meal with a wide variety of flavors.

Pasta is still my favorite dish in Italy, perhaps in the whole wide world. However, this stretches the boundaries for risotto as truly a main dish and a dish that can take on any combination of ingredients and styles, just like pasta can. And for the gluten free crowd, a proper risotto preparation is ten times better than any rice, whole wheat or quinoa pasta.

Osteria Le Logge, Siena

Osteria Le Logge, not 50 yards from the Campo in Siena, normally wouldn't be a restaurant I would choose, due to its proximity to a famous landmark; these places are touristy and terrible. But Le Logge is different. They are also a Brunello producer, are noted in the Gambero Rosso guide, have their own cookbook, and limit the menu to a few choices in each category to what I would consider classics. Yes, it's an institution of traditionalism, but it seems to serve them and their guests, well.

One wine with the entire meal, Gianni Brunelli 2010 Brunello di Montalcino - this is a more traditionally styled Brunello.  Not heavy on the palate with oak or fruit or tannin, but softer, more anise and earth on the nose than fruit notes. Paired up great with each dish, save the foie. I'd love to see what happened in 24 hours and how it would have developed. The food and wine were one, not only because I finished the bottle, but because this wine was crafted to be elegant and not overpowering.

Italian Ham and Eggs

Italian Ham and Eggs

To start, ham and eggs with toast. I'm poking a little fun here about my description, but upon presentation, that is the first thing in my head. The cracker of amaretto was both sweet and texturally playful in a world of oozy eggy hamey goodness. The local Proscuitto was similar to the lonza that I cured a few years back, ripe and wild flavors with great texture when sliced thin enough. The egg was sous vide and served at room temp, not hot. The liquid around the egg and the base of the plate was hot, while the egg remained cold in the center. I ate the dish with a spoon and bread. If I'd been polite and used a fork, I would have missed out on three-quarters of the dish.

Seasonal winter pasta

Seasonal winter pasta

The pasta was spaghetti "Faella" with onions, shallots, green onions, and pancetta. I've basically made this dish in Italy about 5 times or at least a version of it. This pasta confirmed that the pastas I have been cooking at the apartment have been seasonal, because of the onions, the cabbages, the chicory and lettuces that are in season. I thought I was being unoriginal with my thought process, doing a version of this pasta in Lucca and here in Siena; but I was thinking properly, seasonally. The use of cured meat also makes sense, that was the whole reason you cure in the first place, to use it in winter. No tomatoes. No squash. No eggplant. No peppers. No summer fruits and vegetables.

Spinach was fantastic in this dish

Spinach was fantastic in this dish

Lamb shoulder en croute. The lamb was thick cubed and cooked sous vide. There was no other way the lamb could have been this tender unless there was a sous vide machine involved. The spinach, however, made this dish. The spinach was sweet and has nearly none of the oxalate that dries out your mouth. The en croute was a phyllo dough applied just prior to finishing the lamb in the oven. This is continental cuisine with the use of a modern sous vide technique.

A bit of a left turn from traditional Italian

A bit of a left turn from traditional Italian

Bonus from chef. Cold chicken liver pate, dredged in curry/tandor spices, a quick grape jelly and avocado. I told the owner that this was a version of a dish I had at Robuchon with eel and avocado. The play on textures and flavors is there. Fun, yet cross cultural. The curry style spice mixture was powerful, so wine pairing will temporarily be on hold until you have a coffee or grappa.

Liquid Gianduja

Liquid Gianduja

Dessert was liquid Gianduja  puréed in cream or mascarpone with hand-torn pieces of doughy bread. Then if it wasn't rich enough, pastry cream filled cannoli and add some creamy gelato to the mix. It's sweet, rich, mouth filling and the perfect end to a really savory meal. The dessert was fantastic.

Il Campo for the 2009 Palio in Siena, my shaved head in the foreground.

Il Campo for the 2009 Palio in Siena, my shaved head in the foreground.

A delightful afternoon at Le Logge. It's hard to believe that back in 2009, not 35 yards away I was in the middle of Il Campo for the Palio. Good times.

Osteria del 36, Parma

Upon entry, I didn't see anyone at the front desk. So I made a little cough noise. I can only assume it was the owner that heard me, he clapped twice, loudly, as if to summon someone from the back to help. That's exactly what happened. The summons clap, something you won't ever hear in an American restaurant.

Incredible wine list here. Pages of stuff. Lots of big names and verticals from Tuscany. This is where traveling solo has a disadvantage, missing some great wines at reasonable prices. This is probably the reason this restaurant is on the Michelin list as an up and comer.

It's pasta, it's soup, it's good. 

It's pasta, it's soup, it's good. 

This is the first place that I noticed non-Italian music in the background.  Club beats in English no less, from Pitbull. Truly Mr. International.

To start, tortellini con brodo. It was pure. I added 2 spoonfuls of Parmigiano. There's not much to say here, it's broth, it's pasta (some meat filled, some only cheese), it's good. Look at the picture.

Time for your close-up Ms. Pasta

Time for your close-up Ms. Pasta

Wild board with pears

Wild board with pears

For my second plate, wild boar. The cut is a loin chop, bone in, with pear in a red wine reduction finished with what are small enough to be huckleberries and  a ton of butter. A true pan sauce style. The boar is gamey and wildish in texture and flavor like wild ducks. Frankly, a bit tough and chewy. The rare part near the bone is where it's at. The Italians can cook a steak perfectly rare, but pork or boar, always cooked through. The pan sauce is the bomb. I actually took bread to soak it up. If it weren't for the sauce, I would have been disappointed.

A first, Parmigiano with honey

A first, Parmigiano with honey

Parmigiano with honey. A first. The pairing doesn't clash with the pitcher of wine. No problem. Never seen honey served with Parmigiano, only w Gorgonzola. 

This is basically what I drank at Osteria 36

This is basically what I drank at Osteria 36

My pitcher of red wine is a drinker, plain and simple. It's my Jug wine. It's red, Sangiovese based and an easy going bouquet that will pair with everything I eat. This is why I made the Jug wine.

Grappa generally has a couple choices, morbide or dolce and then bianco or the caramel colored variety that has been aged in oak. The Italian purists believe that anything other than bianco is not one should drink. Basically, the oak adds color, some sweetness and mellows out the flavor. That oak treatment is something I've seen in many an American restaurant for sure. We do love oak, sweetness and mellowing. I tend to get bianco and morbide.

Grappa and the end of another meal

Grappa and the end of another meal

Was this my best dining experience in Parma? No. However, there was one very positive take-away, chunks of 24 month or older Parmigiano pair very well with wild honey and dry red wine and for that alone, I'm glad I dined here.

Another night (or two) at home

Creating my own meals are just as important in Italy as going out to dinner. I get to shop at various markets in my general area, work on my otherwise horrible Italian language skills, and walk-to-shop something I haven't done in too many years (I drive to shop for everything these days). 

Buying some basic stuff from the market; fennel, oranges, persimmon, raw onion, and treviso I can create a simple, seasonal salad. While this salad is just basically chopped stuff on a plate (because that's what it looks like), I did slice the fennel and onion about an hour ahead of time, squeezed oranges and a pinch of salt over them to allow the fennel/onion mixture to "cure" as I didn't want the harsh flavor of the onion and overly crunchy fennel, as my knife selection here isn't sharp (or I would have cut the fennel thinner)

Fresh winter style salad. 

Fresh winter style salad. 

The salad makes a great starter course to be followed up with pasta with braised fennel, onions and mortadella, topped with Parmigiano. 

Homemade pasta in Parma

Homemade pasta in Parma

Dolcetto d'Alba. Easy drinker for the week. 

Dolcetto d'Alba. Easy drinker for the week. 

Re-working a dish of leftovers, is just as important as a new dish when you're only in town for a few days at a time. You may recognize the big green cabbage roll (below) that I had earlier in the week (that's another purchase) since it's filled with pork, it's going to be tonight's protein. Beneath the cabbage roll are the denser and greener stalks of fennel as well as the whiter parts of the treviso, scraps from the salad I mentioned above. Add a little bread to the plate and bingo...another meal in the books and no waste. 

Pork filled cabbage roll with braised fennel and treviso

Pork filled cabbage roll with braised fennel and treviso

What's next in the kitchen? Don't know. I keep a supply of yogurt for breakfast along with a big hunk of Parmigiano for when I get hungry mid-day. We'll see what the market has to offer.  

Ristorante Cocchi, dal 1925, Parma

I discovered this restaurant on one of my random walks down (or was it up?) one of the main thoroughfares of Parma. Located in the Hotel Daniel, Ristorante Cocchi has been around for some time.

To start, Insalata Mista with warm speck and potato. Speck is a smoked ham, usually found in mountain towns. The dressing was simple, a sweet balsamic and olive oil. Solid. Normally I wouldn't order salad but it was kind of nice considering its cold outside, around 38 degrees and I walked about 2 miles to get here. Good start.

Mixed green salad with warm potatoes and speck

Mixed green salad with warm potatoes and speck

Next up, pasta with potato filling and shaved truffle. Good crack of black pepper. There was a starchiness to the sauce, which leads me to believe the pasta was placed in a sauté pan with butter and black pepper with some of the pasta water and tossed through with extra butter. Notice a bit of a brownish sauce coating the tops of the pasta., super viscous.The potato filling was good and hearty, the truffles are all about luxury and perfume. A couple elements on the plate to produce a wonderful lunch.

Pasta with truffles

Pasta with truffles

Grilled steak. Let's get something straight. My server didn't ask me how I'd like my steak because there's only one way it SHOULD be prepared, THIS WAY! No medium or well. Medium rare to rare. No sides. The sauce is olive oil and the garnish is salt. The simplicity of it all. Yes it was tender, yes it was tasty. And if it makes you feel better, I went Paleo on this course.

Filetto di Fassona

Filetto di Fassona

image.jpg

The mezzo of Sangiovese from Fattoria Zerbina went with everything. 100% Sangiovese Grosso, aged in stainless steel and concrete vats, no oak, and I'm guessing not aged for more than a year. Easy to drink but not weak or thin. The wine easily paired with this whole meal. This is why I make Sangiovese, because it's good and pairs with lots of things.

Zabaione with crushed amaretto cookies. We've got a Goldilocks moment here. Too much liquor whipped in with the egg yolks and the zabaione is ruined. Not enough and it tastes like mousse custard thingy. But the zabaione at Cocchi, just right. The magic of having a crushed cookie lurking in the depths of that yellow custard is a nice surprise to, not all creamy and luxurious, but with an edge.

Zabaione with crushed amaretto cookies inside

Zabaione with crushed amaretto cookies inside

Always some grappa to finish! 

Grappa to finish

Grappa to finish

Ristorante Cocchi, Parma

Ristorante Cocchi, Parma

I enjoyed my lunch experience at Cocchi and my 2 mile walk back home.