best. meal. ever.

my husband and i were driving back to milan from the port of ancona and decided - instead of stopping for lunch at one of the autostada cafes - that we would head off the beaten path for a real italian lunch. 

luckily for us, we found ourselves in parma......

home of this most wonderful prosciutto ham.........

 in the tiny village of noceto, we came upon this cute little place

and there we experienced - quite possibly - the best meal of our lives.


the first thing to hit our palate was an emilia seca called malvasia frizzante - a sparkling white wine traditionally served in ceramic cups

we cheered to our good fortune in finding this place (but not too much, we still had to drive back to milan!)

you can see the bubbles in the carafe...

then the owner asked if we wanted some special bread. almost as an afterthought we said yes.........and these landed on our table

luscious dough sliced with a ravioli cutter and fried in oil, these light-as-air pillows - known as torta fritta- melted in our mouths

yes. my husband and i managed to polish off the whole basket. and the meal was just getting started.

our primi piatti were a duo of scrumptious pastas - paglia e fieno al crudo di parma (straw and hay)

and chicche della nonna, tiny stuffed pasta in a creamy tomato sauce

before the secondi piatti landed on the table, we realized our parking time was about to elapse. worried that our car might be towed, phil headed out the door

past the piazza giuseppi garibaldi

and across the street to where the car was parked. a woman, sitting on a bench near the parking meter watched him fumbling for coins for a moment and then told him:

"don't worry about the parking attendants! they're all eating lunch now -- they won't come bother you!!"

relieved, he arrived back just in time for the straccetti di manzo con parmagiana e rucola to land on the table -- thinly sliced beef paired with shaved parmesan and arugula......yummm 

we were groaning from all the food, but could not resist this unique spin on one of my all time favorite desserts, mandorle torta

washed down with the creamiest of cappucinos

who knew that in the tiny town - which comes complete with its own castle (don't you just love italy?) we would find this gem of a place?

so bravissima and hats off to the proprietors of ostaria ad'na volta -- the famigilia pimazzi: chefs marcello and his mom tiziana, marcello's wife camy and (not pictured) dad pier!! you guys are amazing!! thanks for preparing the lunch of our lives!! 

(and i can promise you i will be dreaming about those torta fritta for a long time......!)

Ostaria ad'na volta
Cucina Tipica Parmigiana
Via Gramsci, 16
43015 Noceto (Parma)
Tel. 334.3112072

p.s. giving a shout-out to my sister deb, who has debuted her own blog at miracles sisters. deb is an environmental activist and documentary filmmaker, so if you have a moment, please take a look!


  1. OMG! Now my stomach is grumbling - how I miss the little osteria in Italy already. And to think that you listened to your navigator and took the unbeaten path to your best meal . ever. possibly!

    Thanks for the plug for my blog miraclesisters.
    You count as top miracle sister on my list!

  2. Hi, delicious pictures! i really liked..

  3. Oh my. I've just eaten and you've gone and made me hungry again. I can rarely resist a good Italian meal prepared in a family-owned osteria. That's where you get to eat the Best food :)

  4. The food looks so inviting! The pictures are gorgeous! Hugs.

  5. Aaaaargh, I hate you Amanda!!!! I'm SO envious. And I'm now ravenous.

    Seriously though, this is the sort of serendipitous lunch that one dreams about. It has happened to me very occasionally in France and elsewhere when I was least expecting it.

    Lovely post. Oh, and I like the idea of drinking wine out of ceramic cups. Memories are made of lunches like this.

  6. haha, dumdad.
    amanda, really, this post should come with a warning. what a gorgeous meal, and your descriptions, it's all completly charming. I hope you can recreate those torta?

  7. Oh, what gorgeous photographs! Sumptuous food. Stunning scenes. They draw one into the atmosphere. On a gray snowy day, with high wind, such as we have here today, this post brightens my evening!!!

    I'm so glad you finally found me again. I've been trying to get back the followers I lost due to a Blogger glitch!! So glad you posted a comment today on my blog. It was wonderful to see your "face."
    Ann Best, Long Journey Home

  8. Are you kidding me? That food looks sooooooo good! Makes my leftover pasta that I had for lunch look pathetic.

    Traveling with you is such fun!

  9. Oh, gosh this made me hungry. Gorgeous food.

  10. As always a great photos !
    I like your simplicity, the good atmosphere, and envy that provide your picture !
    It's very pleasant, bravo !! :))


  11. Haha I loved the bit about the traffic attendants being out to lunch too*!*

  12. Delicate and yummy post. The last photo is the best !

  13. Sweet lord that looks delicious! And that special bread has me DROOLING!

  14. sister - i look forward to hearing about meals like this that you shared in roma with gianni!!


    dejemonos - haha -- i like that -- delicious pictures! ;-)

    loree - could not agree more that family-owned places have the best food!!

    phivos - thanks my friend - hugs to you too!!

  15. dd -- living in France how can it be you're not enjoying meals like this all the time??

    lori - if i can recreate these torta, then something is seriously off in my kitchen as i'm not a baker, just a lowly cook (hehe!!) but one can always dream........

    ann- glad this cheered up a gray day for you -- and doubly glad we 'found' each other on blogger again!!

    julie - that makes me so happy you're having fun traveling along with me! (and if only we could eat fotos we could all have a bite of that torta fritta.......!)

  16. willowy tess - yes, i agree -- it is possible for food to be gorgeous!!

    mahon - envy? i guess i'm feeling that now too because i can't have that torta fritta for lunch!

    annie - perhaps in Italy all bets are off during the sacred lunch hour?!

    anita - glad you liked it my friend! ;-0

    sara louise - maybe you can track some of this bread down in le petit village??

  17. Oh, Amanda; that is so delightful! How did you manage to eat it all?

    Now I'm SO hungry, and lunch was just a couple of hours ago. (I'll blame the hunger on all the vigorous exercise I had playing with Sadie in the back yard — about which I've just finished writing.) This, while I scrounge some dry crackers in the kitchen.

  18. Thanks for the virtual meal – beautiful details! I’m licking the screen. Cool that your sister is blogging too.

  19. amanda, where have i been? here i arrive to this INCREDIBLE meal. i can almost taste it, you have done such a super job with descriptions and photos.

    i can't help being envious envious envious!!! don't you just love finds like this: the little unexpected cafes and restaurants are always my favorites.

    happy holidays amanda ♥

  20. You made me feel hungry! Thanks for the tour of your meal, it looked scrummy.

  21. Amazing! How did you know, or do you think that every little place like this would be just as spectacular? I have been looking at these photos (off and on) all day and they have been tempting me since breakfast! Great story and photos...I'm ready to pack my bags and go!

    So very nice that your sister is blogging also...

  22. r-bear - and i thought bears were supposed to be hibernating about now?! ;-)

    yes - i managed to eat it all but i don't know how......probably had something to do with the fact that i would never be able to make food like that myself!


    sarah -- haha that's pretty funny! but you know, those fotos are making me hungry so i might lick the screen myself!

    kj!!! where have you been indeed (but then where have i been too??!)

    i really feel luck was with us when we stumbled upon this place, but then again - it's Italy - and probably a harder thing to do would be to find a really bad meal!!

    so glad you found me again --and i will visit soon -- in the mean time sending loads of holiday wishes your way... xxx

  23. glynis - i love your word 'scrummy' -- that's just what it was!!

    genie - like i said to kj, i think it would be hard to find a bad meal in Italy, but this place was out of the ordinary good......!!

  24. True, Bears are supposed to be hibernating in this weather. My problem is that I'm a thoroughly urbanized Bear. Finding a good den in a city is tough work. And all the extra noise and light at this time of year only makes things more "interesting."

    Rereading your post just makes me hungry, again.


    Happy holidays.

  25. Amiga, todo bello y delisioso!

  26. What a fabulous find!!!!
    I love places like this


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