Allora, I will now appeal to your taste buds by take you to the town of the original parmesan cheese and prosciutto ham 🙂
Of course, this is not the hospital kind of scrub but rather the kitchen/factory kind (aka the yummy kind)! As part of the program itinerary, we traveled to Parma, Italy to learn about the production of Parmesano Reggiano cheese. Parma is located in the country side and has the optimal temperature and weather for the drying of meat. As the bus drove through the roads, I can honestly say I have not seen a sight so green and beautiful decorated with unending rolling hills.
We started the day by meeting with our tour guide. To be honest, I forgot her name, but I learned that she graduated from college with a major in food sciences, or something of the sort, and her job was to take tourists around the factories and explain the processes to them. We arrived at the cheese factory, which was quite small from afar and had to “scrub up”. We were given plastic gowns, hair nets, face masks, and shoe covers to wear before entering the factory.
Inside, you could see a few wells used to mix the cheese. She started to talk to us about how the cheese was made and the work that was put into it. We observed the cheese master at work. They were stirring hard, feeling the cheese in their hands and putting them into molds. We then visited the storage room where there were mountains of cheese ranging from new to three years old! It was such a great tour and I learned so much about the process of making Parmesano Reggiano cheese! I highly recommend this tour if you are ever in the hill country of Italy. 🙂
After the incredible tour of the cheese factory, we walked over to the gift shop to taste some cheese and buy souvenirs. I decided to buy 2 slices of cheese to bring home to my family! The trick is to keep the cheese refrigerated during your trip, and then packed at the bottom of your checked baggage because it is cold at the bottom of the plane. My cheese made it home safe, sound, and still fresh!
After the tour, we went to a winery for lunch where we got to taste different kinds of ham, wine, pasta, and dessert! 🙂
On our way back to the hotel, we passed by a castle that held a love story history. From what I remember, our tour guide told us that the castle was built by a king who fell in love with a woman. To express his love to her, he decorated their room with everything made of gold. From the wall to the bed, the room with its beautiful view was dedicated to his loved one. However later on after the King passed away, the castle came under new ownership who used the castle as a place of gambling. To pay off debts, the new owner would chip away at the gold inside the room and eventually there would be no more gold. A sad ending to the castle, but still a sweet and romantic history.
Well that’s it for today! Before this study abroad, I’d never heard of Parma, but I’m so glad I did! Such a hidden gem. Please feel free to ask my any questions if you’re planning on traveling to Italy ! Until next Wednesday 🙂