This is going to be a short report from our first but very memorable day in Emilia Romagna. After our 2 1/2 hour ride from Florence to Parma, we had lunch at the Casale del Groppone winery which consisted of typical local specialties: Culatello, Parma prosciuto, parmigiano cheese, and various other ham products, accompanied by lambrusco, a rosé and a rather nice malvasia bianco that was bone dry.
We then went to a fascinating visit to a prosciuto ham producer
where we learned that 11,000,000 hams are made and sold each year. We were able to follow the entire process, although we had to dress in these ridiculous outfits for hygiene.
We ended our long day with a visit to a parmigiano reggiano cheese producer and came away with more appreciation and respect for the effort it takes to produce this cheese. Each round weighs 80 pounds and can age from 12 months- the minimum- to 36 months, or more. The longer, the stronger the flavors, and the more expensive. It takes 16 liters of milk to produce 1 kilo of cheese.
We were also joined by Susana Lopez, a friend who lives in Parma and who will lead us tomorrow on a walking tour of Parma, our home for the next 4 nights at the elegant 5 star Hotel de la Ville. We can use the walk to burn off all these calories!