Transcribed by Marcelo Pinto June 1st, 2012
It’s a bank, but not as we know it. With all the security of any vault, except in here, it’s not money they’re guarding but cheese.
Three hundred thousand blocks of Parmesan cheese worth 120 million pounds to be exact. All part of a unique cheese for money loan program run by a bank. We help fiance the Parmesan cheese makers because their cheese takes two years before it’s ready for sale, that gives them a cash flow problem. So we take take their cheese in return for a cheap loan.
The Credem Bank takes the cheese from local producers on deposit and stores it here. It’s cleaned, turned, and tapped in a constant process of checking. Once the cheese is here in this vault both the parmesan cheese maker and the bank want to make sure it’s kept in top quality condition. Which is why this man is tapping it, he’s an expert in keeping that parmesan fresh.
A small wonder because this one block weighs 40 kilograms and is worth more than five hundred and fifty pounds. Giovanni Gualdi is 71 and has been a parmesan cheese maker all his life. But it’s a slow labor intensive process. But whilst the cheese ripens, the bills and wages still have to to be paid.
More than a hundred cheese makers have been forced out of business in the past five years. That’s why those like Giovanni rely on a cash-for-cheese agreement to be paid.
It ‘s been a difficult 5 years. The market has been very bad. Businesses here have spent money so they rely on the loans. Otherwise they would shut.
If the producer defaults on his loan, Credem Bank can simply sell the parmesan. It’s thinking about extending the idea to olive oil and parma ham. For now though it’s cheese and a bank that’s taking a mature attitude to lending. Duncan Kennedy, BBC News, Emilia-Romagna, Northern Italy.
Submit your review
I visited the Food Tours with my wife, we were looking forward to this some time ago and I can state that this tour bring to us very interesting time and experience in spite of the fact that we departed from Milano by morning train at 5,50 am. Our guide was young man and we enjoyed all morning together talking not only about the parmazan, balsamic and parma ham. I really appreciate it. He was very communicate, his driving was safety, very polite. Parmazan farm - amazing, balsamic farm -
My boyfriend and I thoroughly enjoyed the Foodies Tour, which included stops at producers of cheese, balsamic vinegar and cured meat. Paolo was an amazing tour guide – he's extremely knowledgeable, kind and a great communicator. We learned so much! It was really nice to be in a smaller group and most of the producers we visited were small so we were able to get a close up view of the processes. We'd highly recommend Emilia Delizia as this tour was truly authentic and a highlight of our trip!
thank you for the kind review
The tour of the Parmesan Reggiano cheese dairy, Balsamic Vinegar farm, the Parma ham and lunch at the organic vineyard was thoroughly enjoyed by our family of 4. Paolo was a gracious and knowledgeable host for the day and provided us with insights to the production of the cheese and balsamic vinegar which was enhanced due to his chemistry background. We would thoroughly recommend this tour to those interested in the specialities produced in the Modena region.
We had a wonderful tour, best part about visiting the Modena region!
The tour was perfect. I think Paolo would be a splendid ambassador for Italy in the EU. He knows how excellent Italian food and eating together can solve many major problems, and can stop aggressive behavior. Not the hunt for more money, but the well being of family and friends counts. Paolo shows us the products of ages of civilization and he did this like an artist. So after the tour we really love Italia more and we'll come back. We will call you Paolo, Thanks!
Following two tours with your guides this week I would like to express my thanks for some wonderful experiences.
Monday we did the tour of cheese making, balsamic and Salami which was very good and the guide Paolo was very knowledgeable.
The truffle hunt tour today was absolutely amazing, the guide Stefano is pure gold and the tour was built with much thought. Our best experience so far, by far.
Looking forward to more tours and fun next time we are in Italy.
The group (and me) was VERY satisfied. We really enjoyed the Parmegiano Regiano which was interesting and we got to buy some delicate and cheap cheese, the same with the balsamico. The Ferrari driving was off course an experience for life. The Winery lunch felt very genuine and the people there was really welcoming and nice people. The genuine feeling there was however the big plus for us.
Paolo was excellent as our guide. He also felt very genuine. He did not talk just for the sake of talking, but when he had something to say he did it in a respectful and nice way. Everyone in the group really liked him.
I wanted to let you know what a great day we had this past Friday on our tour with Jacamo. (Probably not spelling it right) He was very nice and explained everything to us. It sure gives you a new appreciation when you are slicing cheese. 🙂 Our tour ended with him taking us to the vineyard for a tour and lunch and there, Paolo, the owner could not have been more nicer. It was a perfect ending.
Please let Jacamo know what a great job he did and how much we really appreciated it and his knowledge
The website is well structured and we received a prompt answer to all questions. Gabriele supported us with all information we needed and the organization before the trip was excellent.
We had an air conditioned van, which was very relaxing through the whole tour. The first stop was the parmigiano production, which was very impressive and interesting. We could learn and especially see all the different steps and even taste the various aged parmigiano. The second step was the balsamic vinegar tasting. Finally the meat part was interesting in the museum but we hoped that we also could see more about the production and their work, but the tasting was delicious. In overall we had a very informative and well accommodated half day with our guide
It was great experience! We visited Parmesan cheese production, Balsamic vinegar farm, Ham museum and Farmer's lunch. Our guide gave us a detailed explanation, we were very satisfied. An excellent tour for a reasonable price, highly recommended.