Pasta World Championship in Milan & Parma

Our trip to Italy - to Milan and Parma for the Pasta World Championship.

Pasta World Championship in Milan & Parma

It’s been a crazy few months. We moved into our new place in Chicago, almost immediately left for a whirlwind trip that took us through France and Italy, then ended back in the Midwest in Madison before heading back home. I’m eventually going to share a little bit about each trip, but for today I’m starting with the most logical place to begin – the middle! Italy!

Jack and I spent 4 days in Milan and Parma at Barilla® Pasta World Championship. It’s crazy to reflect and see where our work takes us. Eating our way through northern Italy was a blast, to say the least.

Pasta World Championship in Milan & Parma

The competition started in Milan with 19 young chefs competing, each with their signature pasta dish, for the title of Pasta World Champion. Each dish was more creative and artful than the last. Look at those colors! My #1 takeaway from this event was that my pasta twirling skills definitely need some work 🙂

Pasta World Championship in Milan & Parma

At the end of Day, 19 chefs were narrowed to 10 to compete the following day. We weren’t in Milan very long, but we managed to squeeze in an evening walk to the Milan duomo and the next day, of course, some gelato time.

Pasta World Championship in Milan & Parma

On day 2 of the competition, each chef made their version of Spaghetti Pomodoro. It was fun to watch the variations that each chef made using tomato, pasta, and basil. The dish at the top of this post was my favorite (not the winner, but maybe next time they’ll let me judge, ha ha).

Pasta World Championship in Milan & Parma Pasta World Championship in Milan & Parma

After the competition was whittled down to 3 contestants, we headed to Parma where we strolled the picturesque cobblestone streets with fellow bloggers Gaby from What’s Gaby Cooking and Jenny (with her husband Jordan) from Spoon Fork Bacon. (Not pictured, we had 2 great meals at La Forchetta and Ristorante Cocchi).

On day 3, each chef made their signature dish again and a winner was chosen – Chef Accursio Lota the chef from San Diego (originally from Sicily) was named the Pasta World Champion. We were especially rooting for him, not just because he was representing America, but because his dad (who speaks no English) bravely stopped waiters from taking my bread away at dinner the night before.

Pasta World Championship in Milan & Parma

The last day was the day I was waiting for – the day we visited a Parmigiano Reggiano factory. Look at those rows! We also visited a balsamic producer where we tasted tiny drops of the best aged balsamic vinegar ever in Modena.

Pasta World Championship in Milan & Parma Pasta World Championship in Milan & Parma

So that was it, and we had a blast! We got to photograph and taste amazing pasta, hang out with friends and see Parmigiano Reggiano making in Parma! Plus, we can’t wait to visit Chef Lota’s restaurant in San Diego and try more of his delicious pasta!


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  1. EWS

    I live in Parma (near the Duomo!) and teach English at Barilla! A wonderful, wonderful world!!!

  2. AGS

    Do you happen to have a photo of the winning dish?

  3. Linda

    I have to ask, why would you support a company like Barilla after their CEO made such horrible homophobic remarks a few years ago? It’s a shame.

  4. Angela from

    Beautiful! This is at the top of my bucket list.

  5. Sandra

    What an experience…..almost said “A once in a lifetime trip” but then caught myself. The food is gorgeous and well……just everything – the street scenes ………!

  6. Sabrina from

    wonderful post! What a wonderful trip, especially the world pasta comeptition, my personal favorite is your visit to the Parmigiano Reggiano factory, my favorite cheese, even straight, love it and have always wanted to visit one!

  7. These pictures are gorgeous. Really makes you appreciate the art of food, it’s flavors and beauty!

  8. Peter

    I have seen quite a few pictures of cheese being aged and stored like you have in your photo. Tell me what does a cheese storage room smell like. I go to a farmers market most week ends and my first stop is always the cheese stall and the smell of all that cheese is just out of this world. Yes and as soon as I get home its cheese on toast for lunch. Cheers from NZ

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.