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Busseto: Welcome to the “Salsamenteria”

Must-do stopover for food and music pilgrims

Slow Tour in Emilia, in the area of Parma, homeland of Giuseppe Verdi.

The historical “Salsamenteria” of Busseto is a must-do stopover for food and music pilgrims: it is one of the oldest delis in the world, the place where the great Master used to spend his time.

Try some red wine in a bowl, that is the local way


Cover pic courtesy of Salsamenteria di Parma


Video full text: Salsamenteria

Patrizio, welcome to the Bottega. How are you?
I’m excited, they told me that this is one of the oldest delis in the world.
Perhaps the most famous deli in the world,
the Salsamenteria is a stopover for food and music pilgrims.
Here, Verdi is everywhere
Verdi helped us make it famous!
He came here, and his second wife, Giuseppina Strepponi, often came here to shop
Verdi came in the afternoons and hid away in the corner
The Barattas, the former owners, told me
In the afternoon, when there was nobody here, because he wasn’t very sociable
Sometimes he would even write …
He wrote here! Inspired by what, the culatello?
The culatello, spalla cotta, some pretty woman passing by in Via Roma
His eye tended to wander for those things …
Are these for soup?
No, in Bologna they would be for soup, but here we drink wine out of them
How do you drink wine from a bowl? And why?
It’s tradition. In the old days, there was an inn here in the late 1500s and this is how they drank
That’s disgusting, you put your finger in? What kind of innkeeper are you?!
That’s how the older generation drank, with their thumbs in
If you thumb gets dirty—and it does—you just lick it
That way you can tell if it tastes of cork … That’s what the old folks say
This is a local Gutturnio
Nice, unusual, fairly light but honest
I wet my finger!
Now let’s eat something, a slice of bread
This is called a “miseria”, a type of bread made before the war in the 1900s.
It was called “miseria”, or poverty, because that was all there was to eat
Its special characteristic is that it is very hard and will last 4 or 5 days
Nothing was ever thrown away
It’s soft! White!
This is salami. Another interesting fact. Normally it is sliced like this
This would make Verdi mad, he liked longer slices of salami …
But because his doctor didn’t want him to eat very much of it
He only ate two slices a day, but they were very long and thick!
Here’s one of each—a single slice!
But one is twice as long and thick as the other
Right, Maestro?
He looks very serious, he must not have been very friendly …

Italia Slow Tour

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