Free Cancellation Up to 48 hours in advance
Duration: 3 hours
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Visit a traditional Parmigiano Reggiano cheese factory near Parma. Learn everything and taste different kinds of seasoned cheeses with wine.
When it comes to seasoned cow milk cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano stands out among the bests. This Italian cheese is sweet and tasty so that everybody likes it. Visiting a Parmigiano cheese factory in Italy is a must for those who like gourmet food. When you buy a tour like this with My Tour in Italy you don’t need to worry about the organization. We have set up everything so that you have one mandatory goal, enjoy your experience! Your parmesan cheese factory tour will start from your accommodation. There, our driver is going to pick-up and drop you off. In a few minutes, you’ll be in the countryside surrounding the city of Parma.
Here an expert guide will introduce you to the Parmigiano Reggiano historical context. The very first producers were monks. Benedictines and Cistercians living in Parma and Reggio Emilia invented it during the Middle Ages. They were trying to create a cheese that could last over time. Then and now, parmesan production relies only on three ingredients. Milk, salt and rennet.
Usually, Italians call a cheese factory caseificio. In the past, those ancient factories were called tollbooths (caselli). These clay bricks buildings name originated from their location. They were close to the main roads because they collected raw milk daily from the breeders. Today the tollbooths are high-tech plants, but their function is still the same. Each day the cheesemaker (casaro) cook the raw milk in the caldera. A huge copper pot that contains about 290 gallons (1,100 liters) of milk. That’s the exact amount needed to have two parmesan wheels. For each one, the approximate weight is 88-90 pounds (40 kg).
After the cooking, the fresh wheels need to remain for a few hours in their round-shaped boxes to get their characteristic design. Then, they need to stay submerged in a salt solution for 15-30 days, depending on their weight. The brine is really important for the future Parmigiano Reggiano. Being immersed in those special tanks, they absorb the right amount of salt. That quantity that magnifies the raw milk flavor. While in the brine, wheels are moved daily. That is to check salt solution density, chemical, and organoleptic characteristics. The penultimate stop of the tour is at the seasoning warehouse. Here you are able to act like the cheesemakers in the famous tv commercial. Experts beat the Parmigiano Reggiano with a wooden stick to hear the sound of each wheel. In this way, they check about the seasoning process. Only when a cheese produces the exact sound needed at 12-24-36-48-60 months the cheesemaker can put it on sale.
At the last stop of the tour, participants can enjoy a special tasting of Parmigiano Reggiano. Three different types of aged Parmesan are offered. Along with local red wine and other typical products of the Parma region.
As you are going to discover by yourself, creating a wheel of Parmesan cheese is a long process. A single 88 pounds wheel can cost an average of $ 800-1,000. That is about $ 10-11 per pound, more than double the price of cheddar. But Parmigiano is different. For a wheel you need appr. 145 gallons of high-quality milk. And this milk contains the secret of its success. Cows feed on a special merge of alfalfa and hay. Each year 3,5-4 million wheels are produced here. The biggest area is in the Emilia-Romagna region and a small percentage of the production is in Lombardia.
- Minimum 2 pax required. - In case of participation of children up to 6 years old, please specify at the time of booking. - Please note that the start time of pickup from meeting point may vary depending on local traffic. - Please note that the following are not allowed: sandals or flip-flops, pets, open-toed shoes, and strollers. - Before choosing the pick-up point, we kindly ask you to check which one is the closest one to your overnight/departure hotel.
Awesome tour, makes you appreciate the craft, absolutely worth the time.
Robert Saar,Robert Saar
Hotel pickup service was great. We had an in depth look at the cheese making process. Our guide was very knowledgeable and comes from a cheese making family. Had answers to all the questions. Prices in the store were very good. Recommended.