Friday, May 22, 2015

24 Hours in Parma

Just a short jaunt from Milan are several towns renowned for their DOP (denominazione di origine protetta) food products. These products must be produced in certain areas and only with certain products. Everything is checked for quality by officials of local consorzios. The quality of these products is known to be higher and of a more specialized nature.

An example of this is the cheese Parmigiano Reggiano. To qualify as a DOP product the producer must follow strict standards to have their cheese meet the requirements for the seal of DOP.

Despite America's love for that plastic green can of Kraft parmesan, I promise you that is not the real thing.

A few weeks ago, Caitlin and I headed to Parma to check out their regional food products. We spent the afternoon wandering the town, listening to a surprise orchestra concert and drinking some wine. The following day we joined two of our co-workers for an opportunity to check out local ham, cheese, and balsamic vinegar producers on the Three Kings Tour offered by FoodnWalk tours.

three types of tortelli


At the cheese factory I shot this video using the Hyperlapse app so that you could see it happen super fast! It was pretty cool and I was impressed with how it all happened. However, I can't imagine doing this work EVERY DAY.


We also got to see where the cheese ages, for anywhere from 12 to 28 or more months. I bought some 24 month aged cheese to share over Mother's Day and with my book club.

So delicious!

early in the process

watch the video to see how the cheese ends up like this

the cheese takes a swim in some salt water

#cheesefordays

the cheese is marked to identify its DOP status 

We also stopped by a place where prosciutto is cured into Parma ham. Before living in Italy I was fairly uneducated about prosciutto crudo and what it was but after living here I am a total convert. I love it. Especially when you get crudo super thinly sliced...it's like butter melting in your mouth.

outside the ham production plant

the hall of ham

the mark received when it's legit

Unfortunately, we did not get to sample enough of this product on our tour. We had just a small amount over lunch and I was definitely disappointed.

Last, we made a trip to an acetaia in the region to check out their balsamic vinegar production. Modena is home to Italy's most famous balsamic production, but there is production in other nearby areas as well. Modena's balsamic is made with red grape, but the production we saw in Reggio Emilia was made with white.

cute little barrels of different woods with aging balsamic

tasting the balsamic

I have become a balsamic snob.

At least for the high end grocery store versions.

The prices of the fancy balsamic made by DOP producers is really high! But, given that the version we liked most was aged at least 20 years, I suppose that makes sense.


Some of the nitty gritty details:

We stayed here for one night. It was clean and fairly modern. Prices were decent. It is close to the train station, but we had no trouble with the area.

We ate here. It's a huge place, which surprised us. Order the three types of ravioli and the gnocco fritto. We made the mistake of skipping it and totally regretted it.

Book the tour here by contacting them via email. While this tour has some great Trip Advisor reviews, I'm not sure I'd recommend it. Our guide was very knowledgeable and friendly, the tour was full of information, but little food. I think that should be improved. For the price you pay, I'd like to see more tastings on offer. Note...you must have your own transportation for this tour.

To learn more about the cheese:
Brochure about Parmagiano Reggiano

1 comment:

  1. I really ejoyed the cheese, thanks for bringing it!

    ReplyDelete

Friday, May 22, 2015

24 Hours in Parma

Just a short jaunt from Milan are several towns renowned for their DOP (denominazione di origine protetta) food products. These products must be produced in certain areas and only with certain products. Everything is checked for quality by officials of local consorzios. The quality of these products is known to be higher and of a more specialized nature.

An example of this is the cheese Parmigiano Reggiano. To qualify as a DOP product the producer must follow strict standards to have their cheese meet the requirements for the seal of DOP.

Despite America's love for that plastic green can of Kraft parmesan, I promise you that is not the real thing.

A few weeks ago, Caitlin and I headed to Parma to check out their regional food products. We spent the afternoon wandering the town, listening to a surprise orchestra concert and drinking some wine. The following day we joined two of our co-workers for an opportunity to check out local ham, cheese, and balsamic vinegar producers on the Three Kings Tour offered by FoodnWalk tours.

three types of tortelli


At the cheese factory I shot this video using the Hyperlapse app so that you could see it happen super fast! It was pretty cool and I was impressed with how it all happened. However, I can't imagine doing this work EVERY DAY.


We also got to see where the cheese ages, for anywhere from 12 to 28 or more months. I bought some 24 month aged cheese to share over Mother's Day and with my book club.

So delicious!

early in the process

watch the video to see how the cheese ends up like this

the cheese takes a swim in some salt water

#cheesefordays

the cheese is marked to identify its DOP status 

We also stopped by a place where prosciutto is cured into Parma ham. Before living in Italy I was fairly uneducated about prosciutto crudo and what it was but after living here I am a total convert. I love it. Especially when you get crudo super thinly sliced...it's like butter melting in your mouth.

outside the ham production plant

the hall of ham

the mark received when it's legit

Unfortunately, we did not get to sample enough of this product on our tour. We had just a small amount over lunch and I was definitely disappointed.

Last, we made a trip to an acetaia in the region to check out their balsamic vinegar production. Modena is home to Italy's most famous balsamic production, but there is production in other nearby areas as well. Modena's balsamic is made with red grape, but the production we saw in Reggio Emilia was made with white.

cute little barrels of different woods with aging balsamic

tasting the balsamic

I have become a balsamic snob.

At least for the high end grocery store versions.

The prices of the fancy balsamic made by DOP producers is really high! But, given that the version we liked most was aged at least 20 years, I suppose that makes sense.


Some of the nitty gritty details:

We stayed here for one night. It was clean and fairly modern. Prices were decent. It is close to the train station, but we had no trouble with the area.

We ate here. It's a huge place, which surprised us. Order the three types of ravioli and the gnocco fritto. We made the mistake of skipping it and totally regretted it.

Book the tour here by contacting them via email. While this tour has some great Trip Advisor reviews, I'm not sure I'd recommend it. Our guide was very knowledgeable and friendly, the tour was full of information, but little food. I think that should be improved. For the price you pay, I'd like to see more tastings on offer. Note...you must have your own transportation for this tour.

To learn more about the cheese:
Brochure about Parmagiano Reggiano

1 comment:

  1. I really ejoyed the cheese, thanks for bringing it!

    ReplyDelete