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An American in Italy was the inspiration!

Updated: Dec 12, 2022

Believe it or not, this is how this wonderful Italy trip started.

This day I played a round of golf at Tjome golf club and sat in the car on the way back to the cabin. I was a little tired and not least hungry. I pushed in the CD with a new audiobook by John Grisham, which I had heard for about an hour. The book is called "An American in Italy".

Text and photo Ingar Næss. (c) (90% translated to English from Norwegian by Google)

Anyone who has read any Grisham books knows that he is a good writer and writes catchy. (for a few hundred million of us) This was no exception. In a way, it will be a bit wrong to ruin it for you who want to read the book first, but you just have to read the book and rather come back here. For all of you who are just waiting for the sequel, here it is. Well, I am sitting listening to Ivar Nergård's fantastic reading of this book. He just takes me into the action and fills me with flavors, Italian flavors. I turn the car around after a few minutes and drive back to Shop since I think they have the best Italian flavors on their shelves. Well, I'm as hungry as a wolf, tired after 18 holes, and incredibly excited about how the book continues. I take with me chees, ham and everything else that says "Italia" and drive to the cabin! My dear wonders what is happening, because she reads me like an open book, in this context, just as it was! I tell you that this year we are going to Parma! I hear an "ok" and put down the carrier bags with Italian flavors on the bench and say. "I'm sold, we just have to travel to Parma and experience all the wonderful flavors that are there! Sometimes everything is so simple, she loves to travel, and I love it too, but the taste of Italy - wow! I have a portable CD player and put in my earplugs and start cooking some bruschetta. This is going to be good! The American football player Rick Dockery was a professional American football player until the day he made a big mistake and the whole of America laughed at him. No American club wanted him more. But his agent still manages to find a club. Rick naturally asks, "Which club?" Yes, the Panthers in Parma, Italy! Italians actually play American football. Very reluctantly, Rick agrees to at least try. He knows nothing about Parma (nor where it is), nor has he ever been to Europe and speaks or understands a word of Italian!

This picture is taken from the real Panthers in Parma

I won't reproduce the whole book, you have to read it yourself, but this much I will say, that when Rick arrives in Parma he is received as a saving angel and hero. Since several of the restaurant owners and chefs in Parma were very interested in football, they had prepared a welcome party that we can all envy. It was after this meal that I decided on Parma. We planned to make the most of this trip. I'm probably a bit more concerned with food than my loved one, but we enjoy ourselves together and that's the most important thing. We decide to fly to Milan but drive directly to Parma. We were going to visit Milan on the way home. We had planned three other places to visit and they were, Rapallo, Santa Margherita, and Portofino. The rest of the trip was determined by chance.


Kjøreturen fra Milano til Parma er i rundt 1,5t m bil, ca det samme med tog og 7t med sykkel.

The time of our departure was in July, and we had received a super offer on a five-star business hotel, within walking distance away from the center, for only half price. I thought there must be something wrong, but when we booked in everything was perfect. We unpack and start the walk up to the city center, to get to know each other. It is warm and delicious, but we are both a little thirsty and a little snorty, so we look for a place where there is a little shade and respite for our palates. We find a small alley and there is exactly what we are looking for, a small bar with two small tables outside and some cushions on the stairs. A sign with "today's": A glass of sparkling local wine, a plate of bread, Parma ham, and well-aged Parmesan cheese. Only US$ 4. I would have happily paid double that and more.

I hope you can put yourself in the picture. You are in Parma, one of Italy's food capitals, it is about 25 degrees, warm in the shade, with a small thatch through the alley we are sitting in. The host comes out with the order and smiles, buon appetito. (I hope it tastes good) I draw in the aroma as I smell the wine. It was a local sparkling and takes a little taste.

The experience cannot be described in any other way than, - heavenly. Then a little parmesan and a new little taste of the wine.

A pleasure far beyond all expectations. The parma ham together with the parmesan and a small piece of the bread makes me disappear into my own little world. My wife sneaks up on me and whispers, "now you have to stop moaning"! Just saying sorry, but this was just fantastic.

Forty kroner and a little heavenly meal. Yes, - pack and go Parma is the place. I'm not lying when I say that this was perhaps the best, simple dish I've ever tasted. Another wow!

It is important to say clearly, - when you get a fresh, well-aged parmesan in Parma, it is impossible to compare with any other cheese experience. It's like you've come home. As I sit down to write, I almost think that we will take another trip there this summer, if only for a long weekend.

If you are the type of person who wants a guided tour, you have plenty to choose from and here you have a link to some of the best, but it does cost a bit, just to say the least.

When you go to Parma it should be 80% off on the food, save everything else for another city nearby. You can of course go on to Modena where you will find some of the world's best restaurants, but then you must have booked a table a few years ago.

But remember, - often the simple is the very best, and often precisely that creates the good memories, Good trip!

After two days and five meals of the highest class, we headed for Rapallo, via La Spezia, a trip of about 2h40min. Rapallo is a small cozy town right down by the coast, a stone's throw from Santa Margherita and a two stone's throw from Portofino. Pleasant places when you don't have to lie in one place for long.

There will be more posts from this tour

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