Parma Ham Celebration @ Briciole, Marylebone
Briciole is an Italian trattoria, café bar and deli under one roof, in the heart of Marylebone.
Last night I attended a celebration of its Parma ham: it had won the prestigious title of ‘UK Parma Ham Specialist of the Year 2015’, introduced by the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma.
The menu for this event, hosted in hospitable Italian style, included many variations to tempt the tastebuds. The visual displays were impressive too, for this Briciole Parma ham celebration: there was grissini wrapped with Parma ham, crescentina fritta and Parma Ham, piadina filled with stracchino rocket and Parma ham; a salad of broad beans, asparagus and Parma ham; a delicious fried croquette with Parma ham. My favourite was a delicate plate of avocado with Parma ham and Parmigiano Reggiano, then to finish off – a wonderfully satisfying risotto mantecato with fresh peas, mint and Parma ham.
The prize was an authentic and traditional slicer .
A distinguished guest was the wonderful Antonio Carluccio. I was fortunate to be able to have a conversation with him and complimented him on his handsome carved cane – or stick. He explained it was one of a type used to search for mushrooms – one end of the stick to poke with, the other forked end to trap a dangerous snake – or other dangers – in the awoken undergrowth. As you can see from the photograph it is a tall stick and indeed beautifully carved; Signore Carluccio told me the carving of such sticks was a passionate hobby. Such an insight into parochial values!
I have been searching for a favourite (local) restaurant and this could well be it. Briciole is unpretentious, classy and not over-priced. It’s also romantic, somewhere you’d be happy to bring your partner.
Shaun Traynor http://www.shauntraynor.co.uk
Images by John Holdship