This post is long overdue, but better late than never. I visited La Buca four years ago, and it is like yesterday. The sweet memories are nourished by the solid experience of food that permeates and transcends the centuries, and is the same as it were three hundred years ago. I just checked the site of the trattoria and the menu contains all the dishes I tasted back in the summer of 2006, when I visited Miriam Leonardi’s trattoria in the small but famous village of Zibello, a few kilometers away from Parma.
Zibello is famous for the culatello, a salumi made of pork. Culatello is one of the foods that require a specific micro-climate. This is why it is produced only in a small area around the city of Parma, in the flat lands that are covered by the dense fogs of the river Po.
In the photo above Miriam is in her own storage area, with the culatelli suspended above her head.
The culatello dish is a starter in Italy, and what a wonderful starter it is! Tender and sweet, it melts in your mouth and releases the flavors of the cured meat. A little butter on the side creates the perfect harmony. Prosciutto is a lot tougher, while jamon iberico (pata negra), is more dry than the culatello.
If culatello is the perfect antipasto, wait for the first, il primo, which is a mix of tortelli di zucca and tagliatelle con culatello. The tortelli are the elongated shapes on the left, and they are filled with pumpkin paste. The tagliatelle, on the right, are served with fresh butter, grana and culatello trimmings. Both are hand made in the trattoria.
And here comes the second, or secondo, the locally fished eel with peas. The eel is born and raised in the river Po, a few hundred meters away from the trattoria. The peas (piselli) are grown locally and are sweeter than honey. A masterpiece that will never lose its appeal.
Enjoy all of the foods with a glass of the local table rose wine, which is more than adequate. It is not a masterpiece, but it does the job.