In keeping with Parma’s love for the opera and for Verdi in particular, Pasquale Giordano named his restaurant “Il Trovatore” after Verdi’s masterwork of the same name. Speaking of mastery, his sister Lucia does a fine job in the kitchen, sending out one specialitá parmigiana after another in this landmark trattoria opened in 1998. Pasquale suggested that we sip the sparkling fizzy Lambrusco, the classic wine of the Parma region. Not only because it is a good wine, but also because it pairs well with their cuisine, which is rich, thanks to Parma’s celebrated hams, salamis, and of course, Parmesan cheese – all of which reign supreme here. A sampling platter of prosciuttos and salamis started our dining adventure.
Two types of ravioli came next – one filled with ricotta and fresh herbs and the other with sweet potato, to be consumed in that order. Next, the tenderest beef, stewed in red wine accompanied by a soft polenta. Then there was a delicately light semi-freddo, called Bacio di Parma, or Parma’s kiss. Pasquale saw that we ended this fabulous meal with tiny biscotti and Malvasia Passita, a deliciously sweet dessert wine.
Of wine, there is plenty. Below the restaurant is a 16th century cantina, where the Giordanos store a selection of 400 different wines and a few hams, of course! Il Trovatore offers after-theatre dining.