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04 June 2012

Antipasti di Parmigiano Reggiano, Aceto Balsamico & Prosciutto Crudo: A Tribute to Emilia-Romagna

The half-broken clock of the Torre dei Modenesi (Tower of Modenesi) in Finale Emilia continued to flash in my mind after learning about the earthquake that devastated the northern part of Italy. That tower had survived over 800 years of wars, storms, earthquakes and other dangers. Half the tower still stood up after the first major earthquake but now, it was reduced to a rubble after a strong tremor hit the area again. 

Photo by Roberto Serra taken from The Atlantic ( 
That was the 20th of May 2012.  It is now the 4th of June, half past midnight and the news just relayed another 5.1 tremor in the area a few hours ago. Two weeks of frequent tremors left some important and hundreds of years old churches, fortresses and towers in serious damages and some ending up as rubble on the ground. 

That is just the cultural damage. The deepest scar it left is the psychological effect on the people who lost everything and are now just passing the days in makeshift tents provided by the state. Twenty four lives taken and more than 15,000 homeless. The ground still shakes and no one knows when it will end.  But everyone is working to save what can be salvaged and build the cities again. If there is desperation, there is a spark of light somewhere that will lead the way to go through these dark days.

Its gastronomic industry also suffered major damages. This region produces most of Italy's important gastronomic pride. Parmigiano Reggiano, aceto balsamico (balsamic vinegar), prosciutto crudo di Parma, Lambrusco, Grana Padano, to name a few of the region's important products. 

There's a big feeling of loss dampening the spirits of everyone, us included. With the ongoing economic struggles of the country, a major damage like this in an important income generating part of the country burdens the situation more. But this is reality.  Unfortunately.

It had been declared by the state that the 4th of June will be the National Day of Mourning in honor of the victims of the earthquake. All Italian and European flags in public buildings will be flown at half-mast and a minute of silence will be observed.

On this important day in Italy, I would like to pay my tribute to Emilia-Romagna with these very simple antipasti I prepared using the region's three important products and my personal favorites.  Parmigiano Reggiano, aceto balsamico and prosciutto crudo di Parma.

I found this site,  The Atlantic, useful for pictures of the earthquake and it is also where I got the picture of the half-face clock.  

This article  in New York Times had been very helpful in understanding the extent of the damages. 

If you want to know about the damages that the production of parmigiano reggiano has suffered, refer to their official site.

If you would like to donate, please refer to the site of the Italian Red Cross.

Thank you and I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. 

Antipasti di Parmigiano Reggiano, Aceto Balsamico & Prosciutto Crudo di Parma

  • Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan) wedges
  • Balsamic vinegar (the older the better)
  • prosciutto crudo di Parma (Parma ham), slices
  • Melon, wedges
  • Strawberries 
  1. Drizzle the Parmigiano wedges with balsamic vinegar.  
  2. Drizzle the strawberries with balsamic vinegar.
  3. Put together the prosciutto crudo and the melon wedges.
  4. Serve them in three separate bowls or plates.