Horse pesto, in Parmesan dialect “caval pist”, is one of the most appreciated and most representative dishes of Parma’s culinary tradition, prepared with equine minced meat.
Equine meat, a type of storically unpopular and few consumed meat, has been traded in Parma since 1881, when the first equine butcher shop opened in Oltretorrente. Horse butcher shops were recognized by the presence of some white handkerchiefs hanging outdoors as well as a horse-headed “sculpture” above the door.
Some of these sculptures are still present in the city, witnessing a still alive tradition.
The cavallo pesto is a very loved dish by the Parmesan who choose it for a quick lunch break, is perfect as a single dish accompanied by grilled or fresh vegetables, or as street food, consumed as a sandwich in a beautiful “micca di Parma” (typical bread). It consists of raw minced meat (three types are distinguished depending on the amount of fat) seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic, the caval pist can be eaten natural or seasoned with olive oil and lemon juice. The minced cooked meat is the base for the preparation of other dishes such as vècia (horse meat with onions and peppers) or meatballs.