Parma: Guide Food Tour or Self Tour

Jan 15th, 2015, 11:53 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 100
Parma: Guide Food Tour or Self Tour

I have traveled all over Europe, mostly on my own. Just rent a car and take off on my predermined course. I know in France you can just look for the degustation signs and taste their wine. So when I am in Italy, can I just look for similar signs for Cheese, Ham, Balsamic Vinegar, or wine, or do I have to take a Guided tour? My wife and her friend, who I will be traveling with, both speak pretty good Italian so language is not a problem. If there are signs, what would they say?
And also I notice there are various "Wine Routes" on some Italian sites, but I can't find good directions for the wine routes or a comprehensive list of the towns. Does anyone know of a good site for this?
okminty is offline  
Jan 15th, 2015, 02:13 PM
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Many food producers in Emilia Romagna require appointments to visit -- especially if you want to see actual production of cheese -- or only offer tours of their facilities at certain times. This can be less true of the vinegar producers or small vintners, who might be happy to show you around if you just show up (if they happen to be there). Some might hang out signs. Some won't. If you are traveling in summer, you might find that some cheese producers are not giving tours at all. At some times of year, the vintners might not be open to the public at all.

So if it is really important to you to get a chance to see food and wine production in Emilia Romagna, you either need to do some research and planning, or join a tour. But if you just enjoy pottering about and won't be bothered too much if you knock on a door and it doesn't open, then you can have a more generalized picture of who is producing what where, and take your chances.

There are only a few wine producing regions in the Emilia Romagna, and one of them is fairly far from Parma. For Lambrusco, this site might help:
sandralist is offline  
Jan 15th, 2015, 11:13 PM
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 231
You don't have to take guided tours, but you have to research and plan like sandralist said above. Also be ready to find closed doors.
Having said that, here are a few pointers to begin your research: not a very good site but better than nothing. (there is unfortunately no mother site for the many strada del vino etc, as getting organized under one leader and acting together is not the strength of italian food, wine and its actors. It can help to google "strada del vino xxx", xxx being the city or area you are interested in.)

You will be in the parmagiano cheese area, some except visits, even during the production process (early morning).

You are also in the prosciutto and culatello area.

Just south of Parma there is a very interesting Lambrusco producer, camillo donati.
A little bit west of that is podere pradarolo.
Further west from Parma, just south of Piacenza, there are a bunch of interesting wineries/winemakers: la stoppa, croci, andrea cervigni, emilio montesissa, dinavolo. The first two are biggest (still very small) and most ready to have guests. Do read up on all wines i mentioned though before visiting them - they are not run of the mill.
vinoroma is offline  
Jan 15th, 2015, 11:14 PM
Join Date: Dec 2013
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Typos: Parmigiano, accept
vinoroma is offline  
Jan 16th, 2015, 12:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,386
We drove out from Parma toward a thermal spa place... and saw several cheese operations maybe 30 minutes outside of town.

Can you get to Modena? We really enjoyed a tour of "Acetaia di Giorgio" which is just really in the attic of their home (this is traditional) and quite something to see. It was free and there was NO pressure to buy... but we ended up buying a bunch because it was so wonderful.

Will recommend the informal and delicious " Al Corsaro" for tortelli d'erbetta. Some of the best we've had... and have returned a couple of times.

Warning... Parma is the only place we've gotten a ticket in Italy... we think it was for driving into the historic area (by mistake) without a special permit... it just arrived in the mail 3 months later.
kawh is offline  
Jan 16th, 2015, 06:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 264
We are owners of a map of the wines of the Chianti region, which we bought in Greve a very long time ago. It has proven to be enduring and useful.

And as far as eating in Parma goes, lucky!!!

carolll is offline  
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