True authentic Parmigiano Reggiano is produced only in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Mantova and Bologna. After many cooking classes, tours and workshops throughout our trip, one thing missing was a trip to a cheese factory. Parma seemed like the best place to fix this. It was a bit difficult to find information online about a Parmigiano Reggiano tour. There were some organised all-day trips, but we wanted to arrange something independently. If you want to actually see the cheese being made you need to arrive fairly early at the dairy right after milking is finished.
Hombre Parmigiano Reggiano Tour
Finally we found out about parmesan cheese factory tours at Hombre. Not too far from where we were staying they offer daily tours at regular times. Disorganised as usual, we emailed at the last minute and they were able to fit us in the following day. One thing I have learned on this trip, it is always worth trying. If you think you’ve left it too late to book a tour, try anyway. Most people will go out of their way to be helpful if they can. The one hour tour was just 5 Euro each and they didn’t charge for the children.
Parmigiano Reggiano Facts
- 500 litres of milk for just one parmesan wheel.
- A minimum of one year and up to 30 months of ageing.
- Each day Hombre use 7000 litres of milk to make just 14 wheels of delicious, authentic Parmigiano Reggiano.
- Hombre is a closed-cycle, organic farm, everything they feed the cows is produced on their farm, in the pursuit of the very best quality milk.
Inside the ageing warehouse at Hombre, surrounded by 8000 wheels of cheese we heard about the parmesan making process, from start to finish.
S collected some slightly random facts in her diary about the cheese-making: Today I went to a cheese factory. They use cows to make the cheese. They get milked when they are 2 years old. Then they put it in a very cold place to keep it fresh. They burn a stamp onto it and put a green stamp on it. They keep it there for 2 or 3 years, that is a long time. Then we tasted it. They call it Parmigiano, the English way is parmesan.
You know how a piece of strong cheese can smell in your fridge? Imagine being in a large cool store with 8000 wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano. It is definitely fragrant!
The kids quite enjoyed the tour and found it interesting, but they declared the best and most interesting part of the day, to be the cows.
For Get Your Guide Tours leaving from Parma click here.
In truth I think Paul was humouring me a bit with the parmesan cheese tour. He enjoys cheese, but there was another reason to visit this particular dairy farm. On the same site you can visit a collection of Maserati cars.
Panini Motor Museum
The history of the Panini Motor Museum and how this collection of cars came to be is interesting. You can read more about it on their website, as well as more details about the cars. One of the highlights of the collection was the Maserati 420M Eldorado, driven by the great Stirling Moss. The collection has expanded to include motorcycles and outside vintage tractors and bulldozers. Whether you are a car enthusiast or not you cannot help but appreciate this collection.
After our morning visit to Hombre and the Panini Motor Museum, we headed into Modena. We only had a quick look around, but did arrive in time to catch the end of the Saturday market where we picked up some delicious fresh pasta for our dinner…
And briefly admired the Cathedral…
In the afternoon after our Parmigiano Reggiano tour we visited a Balsamic Vinegar producer – read about that in our previous post. It was a food-focused day so the cars mixed things up a bit.
In our next post we visit somewhere that we’ve been before but the kids haven’t. Gondola rides, beaches and Murano glass blowing, Backpacks and Sunhats visit Venice!