A Wedding in Emilia
We've just got back from our friends, Regina and Alessio's wedding in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. I was so looking forward to this day to see such dear friends get married but also to experience my first real Italian wedding pranzo. And this being Emilia, a region known in Italy for its gastronomia. I knew it was going to be an event to remember. I won't bore you with photo after photo of insalata di farro (recipe coming up soon!), copious amounts of salumi and formaggi, gnocchi fritti, pizzette, between-course sorbetto, frittata, prosecco, mirtillo, and the 7 tiered tutti frutti wedding cake. No, I'll just focus on two dishes you may not have heard of before: ciccioli and the hunka-hunka parmesan.
In Italy, parmesan is not just a condiment to sprinkle on pasta. At big events, weddings included you'll often find huge 1/2 or 1/4 wheels of parmesan sitting on a buffet table with short, wide knife/spatula things to insert and twist off a hunk of parmesan. This is lovely to eat with a glass of wine or with a little balsamic vinegar drizzled on top.
Ciccioli, I must say was a mystery even to some Italians at the wedding. There were a few "cakes" of this fried, salted and pressed pork fat on the antipasto table waiting to be broken off and munched as a snack. This is not for the faint of heart (or for the faint of artery). But I must say it was delicious. Crunchy and satisfying, it's Italy's answer to Southern pork cracklins and Mexican cicharrones. fact, these little crunchy chunks of pork are the key ingredient to cracklin' bread.