The making of Parmesan

Parma Gourmet 4-Hour Guided Tour

From £177 Per group up to 4

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Key Details
Duration
4 hours
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Live Guide
Spanish, English, French, Italian, Russian

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What You'll Do
  • See the birth of Parmesan cheese in the only place on earth where it can be produced
  • Taste the perfect balsamic vinegar that’s a result of at least 12 years of aging
  • Watch the secretive Parma ham-making process at a plant in the Parma hills
Overview
See how local products are made on this half-day Parma gourmet tour. Visit locations in the countryside around Reggio Emilia and Modena where the finest Parmesan cheese, Parma ham, and traditional balsamic vinegar are produced.
What to Expect
Parma lies in the Po valley, next to the longest river in Italy. In the Middle Ages the area was divided into small states ruled by different lords, but much of the power was in the hands of the Church.

Monks had knowledge, money, estates, and cattle, which explains why they were the ones to invent a special cheese that could be aged for years. After 9 centuries, this product is still made in exactly the same way.

The ideal time to begin your 4-hour tour is around 08:45, with a visit to a Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese producer. See where fresh cow milk is transformed into cheese every single day of the year by the skilled hands of specialized workers. You'll be surprised to discover how much work is still carried out by hand!

After watching the birth of the cheese you’ll visit the salting room, where the wheels are submerged in brine for about 3 weeks to absorb the salt, which is necessary for preserving and flavoring the cheese.

You’ll see the warehouse where millions of wheels mature for at least 12 months, constantly checked and cleaned to guarantee a perfect result. At the end of the visit you’ll have the opportunity to taste the cheese!

Next on the tour is a farm surrounded by vineyards, where a special balsamic vinegar has been made for more than a century by the same family. The only ingredients used are the local grape and time. The product is aged at least 12 years.

Although the processing looks simple, just pouring the aged cooked juice from one small wooden barrel to another – but it has to be done for 12 or 20 years!

The last stop will be at a Parma ham (Prosciutto di Parma) plant. This product can only be made in a very limited area in the southern part of the Parma region, close to the hills. Just 2 ingredients are used: meat (pork) and salt. The rest of the magic is in the hands of skilled artisans who transmit the processing secrets from generation to generation.

Your visit begins in the rooms where the fresh meat is refrigerated after salting and you’ll continue following the seasoning process until it is time for a tasting of the 2-year-old Parma ham, which is deliciously sweet.

Note that this 4-hour guided tour is priced for up to 4 participants.
What's Included
  • Guided visits of the 3 facilities
What's Not Included
  • Transportation
  • Tastings/lunch
  • Entrance fees
Meeting Point

The meeting point is in Parma, at Viale delle Esposizioni 3, in front of the Roadhouse Grill restaurant. When your tour is confirmed you will receive a detailed map. (Open in Google Maps)

Know Before You Go
The morning is the best time of the day for this tour. The Parmesan cheese is made once a day, in the morning from 08:00-09:30. The tour is possible at other times of the day but the birth of the cheese can only be seen in the morning.

From £177 Per group up to 4

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Parma Tourist Guide

Product ID: 50397