Parma As In Parmesian

Friday, September 12th, 2014

We are in Parma, Italy for Steve’s half marathon. But while we wait with anticipation for Sunday, we took a Cheese, Balsamic, and Prociutto Tour!

The 4 of us met our guide, Ricardo, at the first venue, which was a family-run operation of 5 people. They make about 10 rounds a day, but that consists of gallons and gallons of milk processed with rennet, thyme, and salt. Each wheel is valued at 3-4 hundred euros each! It’s hard work and nothing goes to waste as the cream makes butter to sell, and the whey is fed to pigs for prociutto. Each round is 90 pounds approximately, and is aged to perfection. The cows, feed, rennet…everything must come from this region to make this authentic Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese. And it’s all in the family, generations back to a nephew who had just come on board.

The balsamic was the same way with the minimum ageing of 12 years to a maximum of 30 years. That recipe is wine that evaporates down to a syrup in special casks. Tastes awesome, not the watery stuff you get in the grocery.

The prociutto ham was quite an education too. The ham is raw, from one of the hind legs of a 9 month old pig. Salted and hung, it dehydrates by a third and is tested multiple times for the correct curing. It too hangs around for 24 months.  

You have to have a lot of patience to eat Italian.



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