Parma and the “4 Ps”: where food is culture

If we say Parma and food, and then we say that the city is famous for the “4 Ps” (in Italian) and the culture, what does it say to you?

  • Four local products, definitely
  • also a traditional local dish
  • a food fair, of course
  • a range of Museums whose names all begin with the letter “P”; yes, OK.

In reality, none of these answers is wrong, and if we now say “pasta-tomato (pomodoro)-ham(prosciutto)-Parmigiano Reggiano”, then our 4 Ps become clearer.

In Parma, famous for its food and where food is culture, these 4 Ps are all very important and can be found in many different dishes.

A prime example of Parma and its food could be a starter: tagliatelle with baby tomatoes, crunchy ham and a smattering of Parmigiano Reggiano. An extremely simple dish that features all the 4 Ps.

Parma and food: culture

It is no accident that Parma hosts the Food Museums, which feature the famed products of the Food Valley; we have already mentioned some in other articles, and others will be the focus of future blogs.

  • The Ham and Cold Cuts Museums
  • the Parmigiano Reggiano Museum
  • The Tomato Museum
  • The Pasta Museum

We visited these last two during our Unusual Parma weekend tour.

  • The Culatello Museum
  • The Cold Cuts Museum at Felino
  • The Wine Museum
  • The Porcini Mushroom Museum at Borgotaro currently being put together

Confirmation of the fact that for Parma, food is culture, comes from the nomination of the city as a “Creative City of Gastronomy” by UNESCO.

Parma, UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, is the centre of the Italian Food Valley, a destination with one of the largest numbers of protected traditional local products in Italy: DOP Parma Ham, DOP Parmigiano Reggiano, DOP Zibello Culatello, IGP Borgotaro Mushrooms, IGP Coppa di Parma (shoulder), the DOC Colli di Parma wines and many many more… (taken from the Parma council website).

The tastes of Parma

There are now many events, fairs and conventions devoted to food in Parma and its province. Above all, we should mention CIBUS, a food fair that attracts thousands of tourists and food sector buyers from the whole world, during which the whole province organises tasting sessions, events and fairs.

The most important events take place between September and November.

The city starts with the La Cena dei Mille, a unique event where invited renowned chefs work with local chefs to prepare one thousand dishes that are displayed in Piazza Garibaldi. Next we have the Settembre Gastronomico, which features a different traditional Parmesan product each week in the month.

The range of events that take place in the province in the last part of the year are very varied and always with tourists, confirming the unbreakable link between the city and food. We will keep you up to date with these events as they are announced.

Finally, many of the most important food producers in the world are based in Parma, such as companies involved in the production of pasta, that operate in the tomato fields and factories, and even fish working plants.

And talking of pasta, a staple of the Emilian cuisine, we would like to offer you a short recipe that uses the leftovers from other dishes. It was once normal – and not so long ago either – to create new dishes and flavours from leftovers from the table or allotment.

You can easily make this dish in your camper, with a little care, or prepare it before you leave and enjoy during your journey.

Tomatoes stuffed with Pasta and Ham

Tomatoes stuffed with Pasta and Ham


Tomatoes stuffed with grated and Parma Ham

As already mentioned, some pasta would often be leftover, and so it was used to make other dishes. Here we suggest that you cook it first in vegetable broth.


  • 10 round mature tomatoes
  • 250 gr of cooked grated pasta
  • 100 gr of Parma ham
  • 1/2 glass of white wine
  • shared Parmigiano Reggiano
  • salt and pepper and chilli peppers

Cut your tomatoes and remove the flesh: then add some salt and turn upside down to let all the remaining liquids drain.

Clean the tomato flesh of any seeds, and then cut into small pieces.

Cut your ham into squares and cook briefly in a non-stick pan, with a little white wine. Add the pieces of tomato and the cooked pasta, then the salt and pepper and chilli. Leave to cook for a couple of minutes and then add some butter and Parmigiano Reggiano. Take off the flame, mix well and leave to cool.

Fill your tomatoes with the tomato/ham sauce, scatter some Parmigiano Reggiano on top and place in a non-stick tray. Bake for 15 minutes at 160°C. Cook au gratin for 2 minutes and serve cool.

To make this in a camper without an oven, you can place the prepared tomatoes in a greased casserole pot, and cook covered on a low flame for at least 15 minutes. Add a little water or broth as needed.

They make an alternative succulent summer dish.

So now all that remains is to wish you “Buon Appetito” and invite you to visit Parma to enjoy other dishes made with the “4 Ps”.





4 camping e 3 itinerari

Download our
new guide!

We bring you to the discovery of 3
fantastic itineraries all to be experienced!
We have also selected 4 Campsites that will make your experience even more memorable!