Today our travelers will continue what will be a serious assault on learning the finer points of some of the most classic Italian culinary products. The region of Emilia Romagna, and in particular the area around Parma, has a very extensive and proud lineup of now internationally famous delights. The King of these, of course, is Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
In order to see the production process, we needed to be on the road by 7:30 a.m., arriving at the Caseificio by 8:20. We have known this caseificio since 2006, and Mara still presides over the store. With help from Elena, a local expert in the history of the production of the cheese, we began to learn…
Parmigiano Reggiano is considered “the king of cheeses”. Well, certainly they feel that way in Parma. And while there are many worthy cheeses around the world, who could blame them for feeling that way? And it would be difficult to emphatically dispute. There is a reason Parmigiano Reggiano is such an internationally popular cheese – it is delicious, it is unique, and its handcrafted processes have been around for hundreds of years. Can you imagine if we didn’t have Parmigiano Reggiano?
The process of making it has been going on for the better part of 800 years. We were able to see the entire process – progressing from milk to curds, from curds to salted wheels, from wheels to aging. It is important to note that the many wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano produced annually are being handcrafted by cheesemakers every day – not industrially produced like many of its imposter competitors found on grocery store shelves worldwide.
After a tasting of cheese, of course we were thirsty. So we treated the group to an Italian craft brewing experience. Based just north of Parma, Massimo allowed us to tour the facility and personally selected beers to pair with a selection of meats, cheeses, breads, vegetables, and desserts that we procured from the salumeria next door. It was an amazing reminder that the care, tradition and passion poured into the making of Italian artisan products doesn’t end with the classics – it extends into every area, including products that aren’t always top of mind when we think of Italy, like beer.
After an amazing dinner at a favorite osteria in Parma, complete with the traditional Tortelli di Zucca and Tortelli d’erbette, we called it a night, ready to tackle Lambrusco and Balsamic Vinegar in the morning…and on to Tuscany where our favorite Agriturismo and our lovely friends there will await our arrival.
Inspirational Note: Have you ever noticed that the Italians always offer you still or fizzy water when you sit for a meal? Although we enjoy both, it is always nice to have the option. We would love to have the ability to offer both at the new facility so that we can try and capture a true Italian dining experience.
Caputo Brothers Creamery is a 2014 Martha Stewart American Made Awards Finalist! Vote for us here!