He describes himself as very curious and he is described by his friends as a volcanic and imaginative person. We are talking about Ivano Albertelli, known to everyone as Ivan, host and owner of Hostaria da Ivan, Parma.
His heart is divided among Parma, the Champagne region and his wife Barbara – chef of the Hostaria -. Ivan is a man of overwhelming talk and passion, in love with his job, with the scent of the old-fashioned stores made of cured meats and detergents, and with his city. He makes your mouth water when he talks about his favorite dish, baked duck with potatoes sautéed in Barbara’s gravy, and he makes you envy him when he talks about his duty, as a host, of “quality control” tasting.
An old leather apron given to him by some friends in ’93, a hat and those Riedel glasses that accompany the wines he has been offering for more than 20 years, are his must-haves. A must-
have like Parmacotto Selection Spalla Cotta that Ivan likes to serve slightly warmed, together with honey mustard, or mixed in the filling of crespelle together with ricotta, Parmesan and zucchini on a goat cheese fondue bed. A meeting between the founder of “Salamitherapy,” with more than 30 years of experience in the selection of cured meats, and a product that he describes as greatly balanced and amazingly pleasant.
Chatting with Ivan, you have the impression of being guided through the streets of Parma stopping by at his favorite places, the Duomo, the Farnese theater and his Oltretorrente district, arriving at his favorite restaurant, besides Hostaria, Sparafucile, of which he appreciates the honest menu and the selection of raw materials. A tour made while listening to his favorite Queen songs, Radio Ga-Ga and We will rock you, loved more for the rhythm than for the lyrics- “I don’t know English” he confesses.
His ritual of silence, cigar and wine sitting on the south-facing bench of his Hostaria is a hint to understand his being a guide not only through the flavours he loves, but mostly through the patience it takes to wait for the maturity of a salami, of a wine, of a Tuscan cigar and of a dish.
A man who always did in life what he liked the most, a soul leaned towards discovery, able to combine open-hearted laughter with wisdom, a lot of wisdom, a man who “I leave the goals to the young” and who, to himself as a child, would simply advise to be curious. A rare host who knows how to convey scents and traditions belonging to his territory and – with a wordplay – passion for his passions.