Join Anna, our expert guide and food lover for a Food Tour of the countryside of Bologna and Parma that will introduce you to some of Italy’s most respected food artisans who make precious parmigiano reggiano and aceto balsamico. Tastings included of cheese and aged vinegar and learn food notes, historical notes and technique of production. The excursion brings you to the area’s two prized makers of the coveted parmigiano and balsamico. Discussions, tastings, lunch and guide included.
DOP Parmigiano Reggiano and Aceto Balsamico, balsamic vinegar, are important local ingredients in the cooking of the Emilia-Romagna region. During a full-day excursion, you will learn about parmigiano, those giant golden wheels weighing in at about 85 pounds, and how they are still made following the same traditional and genuine methods from seven hundred years ago. Their name is trademarked, and there is a legal exclusive control used over its production and sale. Parmigiano is protected by the European Union and can only be produced in a restricted area with the official seal, a zona tipica including the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna and Mantova.
We visit a Master Grader at his workshop and see how this exquisite cheese is made. He leads you through the processing, first the milk is heated and then the cheese is shaped, stamped and buckled in. It then sits in a brine for 25 days, next-it sits in an aging room for 12 months, it is polished, cleaned and turned every 7 days by a Master, it faces a 12 month inspection, a cheese tasting by the Master Grader, and is heat branded. Parmigiano Reggiano is not your ordinary cheese, and the intensive time & labor that go into the making drive the price, an average selling point is $15 or more per pound.
Stop of for lunch in a typical trattoria where you will sample some of the area’s specialties, including deliciously plump tortelli or ravioli, still made by hand in the traditional way. All washed down with a local glass of Lambrusco!
Next, visit to a typical workshop where aged balsamic vinegar has been produced for over 150 years. Once inside these sweet-smelling wooden walls, you will learn how this gourmet delicacy was born. Throughout the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries, the makers in Reggio Emilia had one of the richest and most powerful trade guilds in central Italy, their secrets closely-guarded and passed down from generation to generation. By the 1800s it had become commonplace to enrich the dowries of local noblewomen with jars and little barrels of the precious & pricy balsamico. During your visit, see the maker’s own vineyard, how it eventually makes its way into those glorious glass bottles, and how it tastes. Aceto balsamico is aged for a minimum of 12 to 25 and up to 100 years. The more it is aged the higher its price will be. Discussion & tastings included. Tour lasts approximately 8 hours.
- Full Day Country Tour to a prized parmigiano reggiano producer & balsamic vinegar maker. Driver, guide, lunch and tastings included.
- Pick up and drop off in Bologna city center.
475 Euros per person, based on minimum 2 people. Available all year round.