Looking for a quick Balsamic Vinegar tour in Modena, and a tour in Parma for Parmigiano Reggiano and Prosciutto De Palma
I will be driving thru Bologna on my way to Milan passing thru Modena and Parma with the wife and would like to take a few quick tours, nothing expensive, extravagant or time consuming on how Balsamic Vinegar is made along with Prosciutto and Parmigiano. Any info on this would be appreciated as we would be looking to have a lunch in one of these towns also. As I have never been to Italy any suggestions on restaurants, trottorias or what to do in these areas would be helpful. Thank you.
It is rare to see the words quick, Modena and balsamic vinegar all part in the same sentence, and that indicates something of an inherent problem in your request. Not trying to sound snippy, but:
What other part of Italy are you driving from and how much time do you have before you need to be in Milan? (Lunch alone will take you close to 2 hours). If you have never driven in Italy before, be forewarned it is likely to take you close to 1/2 hour to find parking in any of the cities you mention, and then arrive at the tour venue or restaurant you would be looking for.
Can you clarify what you mean by "nothing expensive"? Do you intend to purchase? That is the usual expectation for giving you a tour, and this is expensive stuff.
And these are complicated products, made with many steps, so showing you the process is bound to be "time consuming." Balsamic vinegar made the traditional way involves seven different barrels made of many different kinds of wood, and varying the length of aging means different tastes, so at what point would you begin to consider the full explanation and tastings an "extravagant" tour? Likewise, what are you looking for as a "quick" tour of cheese making or meat curing?
Have you looked up tours being offered by producers or guides and rejected them?
As for places to eat, there are many recent threads for these cities in Emilia-Romagna, identifying specific addresses where people reported on their lunches in detail and have recommended them to others headed that way. So you could look those up.
Never been to any of these museums but if you want to learn, they might work for you since you can go at your own pace, they have nominal admission fees, and there is no expectation that you will purchase:
Any of the tours you mention are liable to take several hours, if not a whole day. For example the parmesan tour we took near Parma took a couple of hours, plus a sitdown for a tasting, and a trip to see prosciutto made will take you off your route (its made S of parma in the mountains. Id suggest you look at the parmagolosa site http://www.parmagolosa.it/ to give you an idea of what might be involved - tours are also offered by trade associations in the region if you search .
It might make the most sense to pair say a single tour with a meal - two suggestions are to visit Spigaroli's culatello operation at Polesine Parmense and eat at one of their restaurants and second, to visit the Pedroni acetaia along with a meal at Osteria di Rubbiara. http://www.acetaiapedroni.it/osteria/
both of these alternatives would permit you to avoid going into a city (tho Parma in particular is wonderful)
We went to 2 places for Balsamic tours the first was Giusti, famous, huge commercial production that has both traditionale balsamico and the 'cheap' stuff. The tour was very interesting and took about 1 hour. It is located outside of Modena, so parking was easy. You have the choice to buy any of the levels of vinegar on site (I did not feel pressure, but walked away with a couple bottles of their commercial blend). The tour was free, but we prebooked.
We also visited Acetaia di Giorgio right in Modena (although still outside restricted parking area). This is a small family run enterprise that only does traditionale out of the attic in their home (the way it used to be done). It was very interesting to see the difference between the 2 operations. I felt slightly obliged to buy, although after tasting, I wanted to buy as well. However had I realized the cost of true balsamic I maybe would not have booked this one knowing I would want to buy! LOL. It is such a treat when I use it now though, and a great memory/souvenir.
You could easily park outside the ZLT in Modena and walk in for lunch then head to either production place (or both). We were recommended to eat at Da Ermes or trattoria Aldina, but did not get to either because we got a ticket for driving in a bus lane that took forever to deal with!
here is the best way to book a free Parmigiano tour (this took a couple hours including tasting
I've heard there's a great experience to be had with foodnwalktours.com who specialise in Parma and the surrounding area. I've not done a tour with them myself but the reviews are good.
I havent visited any acetaia so I cant answer re relative quality of tours or producers,, but one reason people are likely to buy where they visit is because they like a particular item they have sampled. Once you are in the region, you will notice that aceto balsamico tradizionale and related products are on sale everywhere, the markets, gastronomie, bakeries you name it. With such a range of choices Id guess it may be easier to simply buy a known quantity from the maker in a visit. Worth doing a little research on the products before you go.
Ive always wanted to visit Pedroni's Osteria di Rubbiara and acetaia in Nonantola, E of Modena, not least because in addition to the traditional balsamic vinegar and traditional country meals (its a longterm slowfood place but mixes reviews here) they make nocino and fruit liquors which I have always wanted to sample. We love (and make our own) nocino, and its a very fragrant and interesting liqueur, classic in this region.
I would say we felt slightly obliged. I would say if you do not have any plan to purchase that level of product (ie. spend 100eu) then don't bother going to that one. Go to Giusti, they have a huge range of typical and traditional to choose from for every budget and you still get to see the process. If you plan to buy the real thing go to Giorgio, you will fall in love with at least one, and the experience is delightful.