I’ve always tended to go for Prosecco with Parma ham but last week I found an even better wine pairing - Malvasia.
I was actually in Parma on a two day press trip looking at both parma ham and parmigiano reggiano (aka parmesan cheese) which gave me a chance to taste ham of a quality we rarely get in the UK. The best, which we ate at a lovely traditional restaurant called La Greppia, was 33 months old and came from a top producer called Pio Tosini.
The owner, Maurizio Rossi, buys the hams at 14 months, takes delivery of them a few months later then ages them for a final few months in the restaurant cellar. They are, of course, freshly sliced which makes all the difference.
The taste and texture of the ham were so sweet and delicate that it was obviously critical that whatever wine we drank with it shouldn't overwhelm it. Maurizio, who has an 800 bin cellar, suggested a bottle of the Lamoretti Colli di Parma Malvasia 2008, a deliciously aromatic white with an almost peachy flavour. It was good with the ham on its own but absolutely stellar when it was combined with fresh figs - one of the best pairings I’ve come across this year.
The following day we tried some more ham (at a different restaurant) with the sparkling version of the same wine which was also good. It also went well quite well with parmigiano reggiano but there are more rewarding matches for that, I think, about which I’ll be writing in due course.
* I travelled to Parma with the Discover the Origin campaign.