October 23 2009
Slow food has become as fashionable as nouvelle cuisine was 20 years ago, and I recently arrived at a greater understanding of it when visiting Antica Corte Pallavicina, what one might call an Italian “relais” on the banks of the River Po in Emilia Romagna. This centuries-old lightly fortified manor house is worthy of an overnight stay for the moody location alone; expect to be woken by cock-crows, and don’t be surprised if you see the odd peacock. (Double rooms from €140, suites at €250; both include breakfast.)
But if you are a lover of the cult ham culatello, a visit to the cellars is a must, as it is here that hams are hung to mature for anything up to two years. The sight of hundreds of hams ageing is quite remarkable, as are some of the names of the individuals and top restaurants from around Europe who have reserved the hams, chalked on little blackboards: among them was our own Prince of Wales.