Prosciutto and/or Parm cheese factory tours
I will be heading up towards the bologna/modena/parma area for a day and I'm really interested in doing a tour of a parm and/or prosciutto de parma maker. I found the number to call to arrange a parm cheese tour, but I have been unsuccessful with a prosciutto tour. So...
1) Has anybody done either one?
2) In what town are the tours offered?
3) If I had to choose one or the other, which one should I choose?
4) Are they expensive (I have heard that some parm cheese tours are free)
hi goat, i've heard good things about calling the consortiums directly though i believe you have to contact them 6 weeks before and it should be free. additionally, the cheese tour is supposed to be the most interesting.
anyway, i ended up booking a tour through an outfit called parama golosa. i've heard positive things about them here and elsewhere. the total cost for 3 vendors (prosciutto, cheese, balsamic) comes out to E150 for 2 (including a hefty lunch). You have to provide your own transportation or get a driver.
I carried my vinegar home in my carry-on. I bought a 100 ml bottle, the European equivalent of the US 3-ounce limit.
I placed all my toiletries in my checked luggage. The only liquid/gel I carried onboard was the vinegar. I did this because I needed a bit of good will since the shape of the vinegar bottle would not fit inside a quart-sized baggie.
We flew from Bologna to Paris to the US. The security person at De Gaulle wanted to look at my bottle. Furthermore, he had a baggie in hand since it was clear my bottle was inside the original packing rather than inside a baggie. Once he saw the bottle, he didn't require me to remove the vinegar from its protective wrapping and use a baggie.
My wife and I just got back from Parma, great city, fabulous food, wonderfull people!Bologna just as great,but bigger! More to eat!
The farms to visit are on the outskirts of these cities. More specifically, out skirts of Parma. There are prosciutto museums, and pig farms to visit. Several museums of each!
But, if you want to go to the food direct, head to down town Parma, to Via Garibaldi (what else!), there are two fantastico delicatessans! One is Garibaldi,near the train station and the main piazza. A couple of blocks further towards town you'll find my favorite; Verde something or other.
Please, unlike me , buy more cheese and balsamic vinegars! They are so cheap there, and an amazing , dazzling selection of each! Of every thing!
I can e-mail photos of the food shops if you want, just ask!
A friend recently did just this. She contacted the tourism board, who in turn got her in touch with the prosciutto group, and the cheese group. They took care of everything, including transportation, at no cost. They even arranged shipping of the products she purchased back home. On a previous trip she did the same for balsamic vinegar. She mentioned at the beginning of the conversations that she is an educator in the food field, and that opened many doors.
Well my friend finally responded to me about how she went about her food tours. It sounds painfully simple! She went online and found the contact information for each of the consortiums she was interested in. The 3 she has done over the years were Parmigiano,Prosciutto,and Balsamic. She first sent emails to the respective consortium, explaining when she would be there, and what she wanted to experience. She also explained that she is an educator in food service. The Parma tour was the most elaborate that she experienced, this was the one they provided the driver and the guide for, taking her to the main producers plus some small family operations doing very unique items(wild boar prosciutto,hoof intact). The Balsamic tour was set up the same way, though she said it was far less personal, and she had to pay for the tour and guide($150.00 total). She thinks the Parma tour was the product of luckily talking to the right person at the right time, as she isn't sure this was the norm. She said it was the eduacator component that opened the doors for the Parma tour.
We did a great tour starting early in the morning where you could watch the cheese being lifted out, freshly made. Then the ham and then balsamic vinegar. We had a great guide who spoke really good English. I can't remember exactly how much we paid but it was something like 150 euros for the three of us. You can get info from firstname.lastname@example.org