Autumn. The Summer green, blue and red leave room for more feeble colours, for harmonious shades of orange, brown, pale yellow, black and violet. These colours change nature and the landscape as well as our tables, featuring in this season gastronomic delights that remind of shades of trees, parks and woods.
Orange as… pumpkin, the main ingredient of the most famous culinary tradition of Parma, the pumpkin tortelli. Pumpkin arrived from Europe and Central America and it’s during the Renaissance years that we can collocate the origin of the pumpkin tortello, which won a place of honour on the greatest courts’ tables. Soon the pumpkin tortello achieved a more popular place thanks to the humble nature of the pumpkin and to the custom the lower class had of wrapping the left-overs into dough layers. The Parma pumpkin tortello is a dish with numerous variations in the area along the river Po and it features a stuffing made of pumpkin, amaretti and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. The pumpkin, with its sweet and delicate flavour, embraces very well the more intense and savoury notes, as mushrooms or flavourful cheese in many other recipes as gnocchi, soup or pasta.
Brown as… mushrooms or chestnuts. Before Wintertime, the woods are alive with their great Autumn products: chestnut trees are full of husks while the ground is scattered with precious mushrooms of any kind, above all the Porcino, the king of mushrooms.
Chestnuts are also known as the bread of the poors. Being a spontaneous fruit, it can be preserved for a long time, dry or fresh, and be used as flour or as an entire fruit, for the preparation of numerous dishes, very nutritious. Among these there is a typical dessert of the Parma province with its many variations, the castagnaccio. The chestnut flour is used in many other recipes and preparations: tagliatelle, gnocchi, tortelli, frittelle. The sweet and delicate flavour of the chestnuts goes very well with another typical autumn product, the porcino mushroom. In Parma City of Gastronomy the porcino mushroom is not a common one, it is the Mushroom of Borgotaro PGI, the only mushroom with a protected origin certification in Europe. Fried, sautéed, grilled or also raw, mushroom is a quality and excellent product, with a unique and recognisable taste and perfume, able to bring out the flavours of pasta, risotto, soups and meat.
Black as… the Black Truffle of Fragno, celebrated for a whole month with the Truffle Fair of Calestano, home of the precious tuber.
The Black truffle of Fragno can be found only in Autumn, collectors work with the aid of a dog specifically trained for that purpose, the local truffles collectors know the woods in which truffles are more likely to be found, and they keep it secret to sell them eventually to restaurants and stores. Truffles release their unique perfume when they are cooked, with an intense and distinctive flavour, brought out by the handmade pasta, eggs and red meat. A real treasure of the woods.
The autumn yellow is the pale and feeble colour of the quinces. Typical of this season, quinces have a sour taste, not much sweet, therefore they are not suitable to be eaten raw. That is why quinces are the right base of many dishes of our tradition and of a famous liqueur, the sburlone, an ideal digestive, perfect after a particular rich meal. Beside the sburlone, quinces are used in Parma also to prepare a very good jam, called cotognata (quince paste), and the unmissable mustard to taste with boiled meat, king of our tables at Christmas.
The autumn culinary world of Parma is rich with colours and flavours to discover, to do that you just need to choose among one of the Parma City of Gastronomy restaurants.