Our first day in Bologna saw us on the "Tasty-Bus", yes that was the actual name. We had booked a full day of touring food producers, tasting their goods and buying some for Rupert and Pauline when we go to Berlin. Today was an early start we had to be in Parma by 8:45, over 1 hours drive from our accommodation.
Our fist stop was to an artisan cheese factory to watch the final stages of Parmigiano-Reggiano being made, tasting the young kurds, and then a tasting of 12 month, 24 month, 36 month, and 48 month Parmigiano-Reggiano, we love the 36 month cheese is wonderful to just eat this in chunks.
Next we ventured into the mountains to a family run Parma Ham factory and curing house, the father originally started the business, and has died, but his wife and three daughters along with 10 staff run the business now and produce 150,000 hams per year.
After a bite for lunch we found ourselves at a Balsamic Vinegar factory or Acetaia, this owner was very happy to show us around and view all of the barrels of Balsamic Vinegar Tradizionale which starts at 12 years, but most
good ones are 20 to 30 years. The process was very interesting as contrary to wine the barrel is stored in a hot part of the building, not airtight, a hole in the top with a cloth covering to stop any contamination, and the vinegar will move from barrels made from different wood to develop different flavor characteristics. This was an entirely cool hobby to have.
After we got back to our apartment we found another great little local restaurant for dinner. A great day.
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