Ah, the parmo. One of Middlesbrough’s best kept secrets.
If you’re not familiar with Teesside’s very own gastronomic delicacy, let me enlighten you.
The parmesan, or parmo as it is better known, is a slice of fast food heaven unique to Middlesbrough.
It’s a chicken breast, flattened and deep fried, covered in breadcrumbs, béchamel sauce and melted cheese. It’s usually bigger than your head.
It’s so big that being able to finish a whole one after a night out is a rite of passage for our youth.
If fast food isn’t your thing, you can be refined and order one in most of the restaurants or pubs on Teesside. Most offer a ladies parmesan for those who don’t fancy tucking into a behemoth of fried chicken and cheese.
The parmesan is such a phenomenon on Teesside that tomorrow sees the final of the World Parmo Championships, which will be decided by a cook-off.
You can even purchase a parmo from Asda, thanks to Jeff the Chef and his ready-made versions.
Slowly the parmo is starting to achieve recognition outside of Teesside. I was in Liverpool a couple of weeks ago and had a chat with a lovely taxi driver who was a convert to our favourite takeaway. He was amazed to hear about the supermarket version, so I don’t think they’ve quite rolled out nationally yet…
Even the Telegraph has featured a parmo recipe, introducing the rest of the UK to our culinary prowess.
Most outsiders will frown and say: “A parmo? What’s that?” Now, pronunciation is important here as I’ve witnessed southerners struggling to get the vowels right. This is no place for the long RP ‘o’. Keep it short. Par – mo. That’s it. Say it again. Par – mo. You’re practically a Smoggie, mate!