On Tuesday it was a delight to see the historic city centre of Parma transformed into a gourmet spectacle under the stars for the fourth annual Dinner of the Thousand (La Cena dei Mille). A thousand lucky guests embarked on a culinary journey like nothing I have seen or witnessed before.

An Evening of Culinary Brilliance

Picture a 400-meter-long table, elegantly set between Strada della Repubblica and Piazza Garibaldi. It was quite incredible to see. The event commenced with an inaugural conference featuring renowned chefs, local culinary treasures, and esteemed organizations like the Parma UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy Foundation.

Unity and Solidarity

Michele Guerra, Mayor of Parma, expressed his gratitude for the event’s success, emphasising its principles rooted in tradition, innovation, and solidarity. Massimo Spigaroli, President of the Parma UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy Foundation, praised the unity that makes this event a symbol of Parma’s culture and culinary heritage.

Giving Back to the Community

Beyond the culinary delights, the Dinner of the Thousand is an opportunity to give back. This year, it raised 20,000 euros for Emporio Solidale Parma, an organization supporting local families in need.

Menu mastery

The menu was a masterpiece, blending tradition with innovation:

Appetizers: A delightful array of Parma Food Valley products, including Parmigiano Reggiano PDO and Prosciutto di Parma PDO.

First Course: A modern twist on Lombard tradition, “Riso latte, cassoeula e more,” by multi-starred chef Enrico Bartolini.

Second Course: A mouthwatering offering from Parma Quality Restaurants, featuring Guinea fowl balls stuffed with Parmigiano Reggiano DOP sauce and Prosciutto di Parma DOP.

Dessert: A gianduja cream with a heart of Parma saba, crafted by chef Riccardo Monco.

Wine Pairings

The selection of wines and mineral waters added to the gastronomic delight:

Sparkling Wine: Classic method Pinot Nero Moratti R.D.M. Pas Dosè Millesimato 2014.

Second Course Wine: Ora – Romagna Sangiovese DOC Superiore.

Dessert Wine: Xyris, a sweet wine from Lacrima grapes.

Mineral Waters: S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna.

Grand Finale

As the dinner concluded, guests enjoyed a seasonal fruit buffet and coffee tasting corners. Bormioli Luigi and Coccinelle, proud Made in Parma ambassadors, provided mementos for all attendees.

The Dinner of the Thousand 2023 celebrated Parma’s culinary heritage, unity, and commitment to both gastronomy and the community. This extraordinary evening under the stars will be cherished by all who had the privilege to attend.

You can watch the time lapse video here.