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Parmiggiano-Reggiano Cheese factory tour: Parma, Italy

When Jonathan and I visited Mara on our honeymoon way back in 2007, we mentioned that we would like to tour a Parmiggiano cheese factory. Mara looked and looked, but we couldn’t find a tour to go on.

When we came back this time, the first thing she said to us was that she was able to book everyone (who was here for her wedding) a tour in Parma to see how they make cheese. And not just any cheese. The world’s greatest cheese.
Parmiggiano-Reggiano Cheese factory tour, Parma, Italy

Because cheesemaking starts very early in the morning (around 5:00), we got up nice and early to be there to start our tour by 8:00. We did get to see the sunrise which was beautiful.

Parmiggiano-Reggiano Cheese factory tour, Parma, Italy

Since we were inside the factory while they were making the cheese, we got cool outfits to wear to protect our clothes. (Just kidding. The superhero costumes were to protect the cheese from us.)

Parmiggiano-Reggiano Cheese factory tour, Parma, Italy

The tour was great! We got to see most of the process.

We saw them testing the curd:

Parmiggiano-Reggiano Cheese factory tour, Parma, Italy

Mixing it

Parmiggiano-Reggiano Cheese factory tour, Parma, Italy

The head cheesemaker even let us taste it (for flavor and consistency).

Parmiggiano-Reggiano Cheese factory tour, Parma, Italy

We saw them remove the cheese from the giant cauldrons.

Parmiggiano-Reggiano Cheese factory tour, Parma, Italy

And move it to the mold.

Parmiggiano-Reggiano Cheese factory tour, Parma, Italy

We saw the room where the new cheese goes before it gets its salt bath.

Parmiggiano-Reggiano Cheese factory tour, Parma, Italy

We saw the salt baths,

Parmiggiano-Reggiano Cheese factory tour, Parma, Italy

And even got to flip a cheese wheel ourselves.

Parmiggiano-Reggiano Cheese factory tour, Parma, Italy

From there it was on to the aging room.

Parmiggiano-Reggiano Cheese factory tour, Parma, Italy

Parmiggiano-Reggiano Cheese factory tour, Parma, Italy

From there we got to see what they did with the leftovers.

The leftover curd, gets cooked again, and becomes ricotta cheese.

Parmiggiano-Reggiano Cheese factory tour, Parma, Italy

And the leftover whey is used for a variety of purposes. One of them is a local cure for gout.

Parmiggiano-Reggiano Cheese factory tour, Parma, Italy

That concluded our tour. At the end we were give delicious samples of cheese and the chance to buy some more to take home with us. We were also given some really great cheese knives.

Parmiggiano-Reggiano Cheese factory tour, Parma, Italy

From there we went into the center of Parma and looked at the city a bit before having lunch. They have a beautiful cathedral in Parma. And it was fun to look around.

Parmiggiano-Reggiano Cheese factory tour, Parma, Italy

Thank you Mara and Fabri for organizing a really wonderful day. It was fantastic!

Parmiggiano-Reggiano Cheese factory tour, Parma, Italy

UPDATE:
So many people have asked us questions about this tour that I asked Mara if she could help us with more specifics for anyone who wants to do a similar tour themselves. So, here’s the information from Mara.

Thank-you Mara!

The place we took the tour in Parma was the below:
C.P.L. -Via Pupiola, 15 – BAGANZOLINO (PR).

However one need first to make arrangements contacting the “consortium”, so they can schedule with you the date of the tour and the relative guide. The tours are free and there are also English speaking giudes. Tours are Monday through Friday and by 8.00 AM you need to report to the cheese place (so plan either to get up early or stay overnight in Parma:-). I was in touch with a very helpful lady named Cristiana, here is the email address: sezionepr [AT] parmigiano-reggiano.it

There are a few places that offer tours, so it might not be the same one we visited: once the date of the visit is finalized the consortium will advise you of all the details of the place.

If you need more information or help, let me know.

10 thoughts on “Parmiggiano-Reggiano Cheese factory tour: Parma, Italy

  1. Mardi McGregor

    Hi Carrie and Jonathan,
    Thank you for this wonderful tour of the Parmesan factory in Parma. Could you tell me the name of it? (I’d like to visit the factory the next time I visit my cousins in Parma, and possibly take some cheese making classes there.) My husband and I currently live in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and are planning to move back to Vermont as soon as we sell our house. I am planning to start a small cottage business in Vermont making a variation of the Parmesan cheese that is produced in the Province of Parma.(I realize that it won’t be THE authentic Parmesan cheese, but it would great to create a Parmesan-like cheese that is reasonably priced and contains that wonderfully sharp flavor.)I am currently writing a book about my ancestors who are from the Province of Parma, and my grandfather’s Italian market in the college town of Hanover, NH, where I grew up. His name was Angelo Tanzi, a very popular name in the Parma area. I’d like to call my little company “Tanzi’s Italian Cheeses.” The name of my book is called “Nourishing the Italian Soul: A Memoir of Traditions and Food. Stay tuned!
    And thanks again for the lovely tour, process, and photos! Mardi McGregor

    1. strive4impact

      Hey Mardi! Hope your business goes great! Definitely do as MUCH research as you possibly can and get lots of knowledge about how the production works before going fully into it. I’ve just added an update to this post which will hopefully tell you what you need to know.

      Again, congratulations on your enthusiasm and decision to start a business and hope it goes amazingly well for you!

        1. strive4impact

          Thanks for your compliments Mardi!

          Here’s a thought for you… we just got the forum back up at GreenJoyment and it’s a bit sparse on posts.

          If you will post an ad for your house in the forum, I will feature the forum post in the newsletter next week – the newsletter goes out to about 25,000 active email addresses.

          You’ll help to add a post, and it will be a new start on getting people to post in the forum.

          It’s at http://www.GreenJoyment.com/forum

          Thanks Mardi!

          1. strive4impact

            Nope… we actually had to restart the forum completely. But if you will join there, and post in the forum about your home, I’ll make sure it goes out in the next GreenJoyment news next Tuesday.

            Thank-you!

  2. Pat Miller

    Could you send me some more information on the cheese factory ? My husband and I are coming in May and would love to do a tour . Thank you so much your tour was very very informative .

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