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.
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.
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.)
The tour was great! We got to see most of the process.
We saw them testing the curd:
The head cheesemaker even let us taste it (for flavor and consistency).
We saw them remove the cheese from the giant cauldrons.
And move it to the mold.
We saw the room where the new cheese goes before it gets its salt bath.
We saw the salt baths,
And even got to flip a cheese wheel ourselves.
From there it was on to the aging room.
From there we got to see what they did with the leftovers.
The leftover curd, gets cooked again, and becomes ricotta cheese.
And the leftover whey is used for a variety of purposes. One of them is a local cure for gout.
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.
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.
Thank you Mara and Fabri for organizing a really wonderful day. It was fantastic!
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.
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.