Blogs from Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy, Europe


Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Parma July 1st 2018

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 ... read more

Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Parma September 27th 2017

If you are of a certain age you most certainly will remember the 60’s. Hippies, flowers in your hair, beads and bells around your neck, kaftans and cream coloured cheesecloth shirts and skirts, multi-coloured jackets and the music. The Beach Boys inviting us to join them on Californian beaches. San Francisco seemed to be the in place to be . I never did get there but it is still on the bucket list. What about another of my favourite 60’s songs? The Mamas and the Papas with Mamma Cass belting out “ Each night before I go to bed my baby – I whisper a prayer for you my baby and the darkest hour is just before dawn”. Well sometimes I say a silent prayer to no-one in particular. Perhaps I ask for things to change. ... read more
The pink and white baptistry
The entrance to the duomo
duomo and baptistry

Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Parma June 20th 2016

After a wonderful morning walk around the city of Genoa to view the 1900’s architecture we are on the road to Parma and this is only with 3 wrong turns. After travelling through tunnels to cross the mountain range we have now reached the long straight roads with large flat farm land all round. We can see many very large farm house with large barns for the storage of the cows (still no animals out in the paddocks). Parma is the home of Parmesan Cheese, Parma Ham and Lambrusco wine, three of our favourite food groups. This is a University town but seemed very quiet for a University campus. While walking around the town this afternoon came across a Food and Beer festival so we did some sampling. For dinner tonight we had a bottle of ... read more

Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Parma October 2nd 2015

DAY 16 - Friday We are going home today. Up at 5am and ready to go. The guy at the desk this morning argued with John for 15 minutes trying to get him to pay for the entire groups extra add-ons. Plus, John had another person in his room (me), that costs extra and laundry service that we never used. John was so pissed because everything was prepaid through Cook Street and Barilla. The hotel person finally figured that out and we were free to go. It was an annoying way to start our day. It's raining again today, we had planned to walk to the train station but decided to take a cab. The train to Milan Centrale took 2 hrs, the train to Malpensa airport took 45 min, check in at the airport was ... read more
Milan Central Train Station
Silly Faces!

Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Parma September 23rd 2015

DAY 7 - Wednesday John felt guilty about skipping school so he went to school with the students. The focus this day was a tasting lecture, including traditional Italian cheeses, cured meats and wine. Nothing new for Cook Street students but hearing it all from a different voice in a fantastic place always puts new life into a subject. The tasting examples where amazing, especially the lardo; pork fat cured in spices and local salt. John has made this at the school, but here in this environment it seems to have more sex appeal. Marleah spent the morning sleeping in, lounging around the room, taking a bath and then around 1:00 walked down to the Barilla Center to meet John for lunch. It's about a 15 minute walk, the sun is shining but the wind is ... read more
Tasting Lecture Day
Cool Door

Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Parma September 20th 2015

DAY 4 - Sunday This morning, before the sun was up, we had to catch a train to the airport to meet John's students as they arrived. The trains/train stations are hard to figure out here, not very informative (which we'll come to find out is that way everywhere we are in Italy). We asked an employee where to go and went there. Thankfully, he realized he told us the wrong information and came to tell us the correct platform we needed to be on. It was very kind and very thoughtful of him to do that and made our day much easier. After having some airport coffee we sat at the arrival area to greet the students as they came out. Barilla Academy (our hosts in Parma) met us and provided bus transportation to Parma. ... read more
Witch Weather Vane
Palio Festival
My New Harvest Crown

Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Parma May 30th 2015

We have been enjoying one of the better “foodie” areas of Italy around Bologna and Parma. As yet this area isn’t on everyone’s itinerary but well worth visiting. One of the highlights was our visit to Bologna which has stunning arcades, arched walkways right through the city centre. Think: kilometres of buildings with covered walkways. It did have an important church, San Stefano, with 7 inner connected chapels. Architecturally, very interesting. However, it was the crowded laneways with delightful little restaurants and delis which really were fun. We snacked on, perhaps an underestimation, ham, fresh ricotta cheese and fig jam! A great combination especially with a glass of red wine to wash it down. We were staying in the hills about 45 minutes from Bologna and were treated to a visit to the local Parmigiano Reggiano ... read more
Bologna Arcade work
Cheese factory
Testing the Cheese

Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Parma April 28th 2015

A jigsaw puzzle that is Castell Arquato Can you imagine the perfect Italian hilltop town? Well you need to start with a jigsaw puzzle. The perfect picture of the Tuscan or Umbrian hillside town is on the box. A Rocca. A palazzo publicco and a pretty Romanesque church . All you need to do is find all the pieces and put them together to form the jigsaw picture . We drove into Castell Arquato and saw the hilltop medieval town from the distance. As always it bodes well . But you need to open the box and see the pieces within. Will they make up the perfect picture ? The first thing you need to do is find all the straight pieces and put them to one side . Castell Arquato has all the pieces from ... read more
The Rocca
The perfect town hall and square

Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Parma June 3rd 2014

Day 17, Thursday, May 29 See the pictures from the previous blog, Jim jumped the gun on posting the pictures from our day, he was on a meat and cheese high! This is our first full day in the area and it has been reserved for a full-day food tour to see how Parmesan cheese, prosciutto, and balsamic vinegar is made. The email we had received advised us to meet our personal guide at a restaurant just off the Autostrada in Parma but the instructions were not very clear so we left a little early just in case. There are three exits for Parma and our instructions were to exit off the Autostrada in Parma and look for a particular restaurant and wait in the parking lot for our guide. We decided to split the different ... read more
All sizes of porcini mushrooms
Veggie van selling at the market
Lisa in Salsomaggiore

Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Parma May 31st 2014

Day 15, Tuesday, May 27 The weather was not the best but we decided to take a drive north to the Chianti wine region. Again our friendly GPS took us on some back roads but eventually we found the Autostrada that took us to an exit to Greve in Chianti, a small town Jim read about that is in the heart of Chianti. Once again we found ourselves on tiny country roads that meandered through small hill towns with roads just big enough for one car to squeeze through which made Lisa very nervous. In addition it rained on and off, sometimes heavy. About an hour after leaving the farm we arrived in Greve in Chianti, parked the car and found a small trattoria to have lunch. Since it was a little cold the outdoor seating ... read more
Chianti Hill Town
Farm Stay in Salsomaggorie
Farm Stay in Salsomaggorie

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