Travel Tips

Tour of Motorvalley Panini Collection Modena Emilia Romagna

Motorvalley and Panini museum in Modena, Italy.

by Marcelo Pinto  June 16th 2012

Panini collection in Modena

The Motorvalley runs through the valley, crossing “via Emilia” to the Modenese countryside, where the “Hombre” farm is located.
330 hectares for 500 cows, all managed by a young farmer from the lowlands, Matteo Panini.
He belongs to the last generation of farmers and thinks of himself as the last olive left on a tree that was planted many years ago. He’s Umberto’s son, the same Umberto who, together with his brothers Benito, Franco and Giuseppe, invented Panini stickers, cultivated the land and a passion for motors.

Modena’s history in the motor vehicle industry

When people ask him how Enzo Ferrari or Modena managed to become so important in the motor vehicle industry, he says the reason is really simple: Modenese people come from the land, and once only cattle, horses and men were needed. “Then, the steam engine was invented; after that, the internal combustion engine was developed, and thus the tractor was born. This made it possible for Modena to grow all at once in both the agricultural and mechanical sectors. That’s how the role of the “metalmezzadro” was born: Enzo Ferrari needed a “metalmezzadro”, that is, a person who is both a farmhand and a factory-worker.”
Tractors
So, Panini’s motorcycle and car collection started with tractors.
We can find, for example, a Landini from the year 1934. According to Matteo Panini, it’s one of the best and it still works perfectly. This is where the legend began: tractors were like wooden logs, carved repeatedly until the most beautiful cars in the world were created. These are classic cars, the crown jewels of Umberto and Matteo Panini’s collection.

The Panini collection

The collection consists of three so-called branches. The first one is Panini’s Maserati collection, which is possibly thought of as one of the most important in the world today. The second one is the branch of vehicles that Umberto Panini picked up when people left their cars behind. Finally, there’s more or less a hundred motorcycles, the means of transportation people once used to start with.

The Maserati collection

Matteo starts by showing us a Maserati Moto. Not everybody knows that there was a Maserati Moto in Modena. His father used to work there at first, and he was the Experience Department manager: that is, he would ride a motorcycle until it broke. Just like a test pilot.
But then Umberto became a Maserati car collector. An important vehicle for Maserati is a 1958 car built specially for the brand “Camillino Eldorado”. Eldorado used this car like it was a modern marketing tool. It’s a big cream white “ice cream” featuring a 8 cylinder 4200 cc engine, which was once driven by Stirling Moss. Another important car in Panini’s collection is the 250F, a single-seat car, seen as Formula One itself. It portraits perfectly how cars from the 50s were like. Driving this model, Fangio won the World Championship. Maserati managed to put a 12 cylinder 2500cc Formula One engine right there, thus exhibiting in 1957 an engine that was light years in advance of 6 cylinder ones. When asked why the tachometer is installed inside out, he explains that the driver has to look ahead, so the pointer has to be straight up when reaching 6k, 6,2k rpm. When the pointer is straight up, you know you have to change gear.
Then there’s the Maserati Birdcage. Its frame is so daring in terms of manufacture , it’s made up of 200 steel tubes, that make it look like a net. Because of its reticular shape, in English it was called “birdcage”. Thanks to this car, with only 22 models built, Maserati became very popular during the World Sportscar Championship, that once was possibly more important than Formula One. Matteo says he used to drive and still drives this model.

Maserati’s challenge

There’s a giant poster along the stairs to the second floor: a photo from 1926. Alfieri Maserati is sitting in a car, the first Maserati ever built. Maserati’s staff looks really proud, and Matteo Panini calls it “engineering pride”: “These men had no money and challenged brands like Bugatti, Auto Union… they faced manufacturers like Alfa Romeo. We shouldn’t forget Mussolini was behind Alfa Romeo, just like Hitler was behind Mercedes. So, starting from Bologna they challenged such motoring giants.”

Cars and bikes

We can also find a Stanguellini car. Matteo explains his father worked as a pipefitter for Stanguellini, so that’s the reason they’ve got to have one of those. Besides, the Stanguellini museum, one that true fans shouldn’t miss, is a few kilometers from here, in Modena.
The Panini collection isn’t just made of cars and motorcycles. Matteo shows us a bike which was used by light infantry soldiers. It’s a modern mountain bike, with front and rear shock absorbers. By switching the front wheel with the back wheel, you can also change the gear ratio. He says he likes to think that the person who built it thought it had to be unbreakable. It can also be folded, showing the practical way people once conceived things.

Motorcycles

The motorcycles are located on the second floor. We can find a wide range of motorcycles, like the Guzzino, the Formichino, the Ducati Cruiser (designed by Ghia), which is a really rare item, the Galletto, which was commonly ridden by priests, the Lambretti Vespa, the Delfino Motom, the Aquilotto. There’s also a parade of British motorbikes, from Norton, to AJS, to BSA. According to Matteo, in Italian BSA became the acronym for “Bisogna saperci andare” (You’ve got to know how to ride it) and in reverse, “Anche senza benzina” (Even with no gasoline).

Other significant pieces

Speaking of British, there’s also a Welbike, the bike for parachute drops. It could get folded and placed in containers which were located right under the aircraft’s wings. And speaking of aircrafts, we’re shown a Messerschmitt car, that truly looks like the cockpit of a Messerschmitt aircraft. With regards to torpedoes, there’s also a missile-shaped Lambretta. According to Matteo, it was probably able to reach 200 km/h. There’s also a Lotus leaning against the wall, far from the rest.
When asked if there’s too many models in his collection, Matteo says, “Maybe, but my father comes from that generation. He didn’t pay anything for them, because people would just phone him and tell him to come and pick them up, and so he did.”
The key is simple: we have to enjoy the Panini collection in small amounts, taking our time.

The Hombre organic dairy farm and producer of Parmigiano Reggiano

Speaking of the relationship between motors and land, our last stop is the farm.
Matteo says the farm is like the dynamic part of this passion, with its 500 cows thanks to which 12 wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano are produced every day.
Motorcycles, motors and wheels of Parmigiano all have something in common: you recognize them from their sharp sound. Matteo agrees with that, adding that engineering is also involved.
For example, a hammer can have different weights, and depending on its weight and where you put it, it can give you different feelings and vibrations.
And they ask why this is the land of mechanic and motors.

 

Casa Enzo Ferrari museum opens in Modena

A pioneering piece of design and a worthy monument to the great Enzo Ferrari. The building’s roof is modeled after the hood of a car. After more than five years of construction, the Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari opened over the weekend in the Italian city of Modena. It’s an honor to be here today. I think it’s great for Italy, he represents the best of Italy, he will represent the best of Italy and he always did.

I was involved in this this project since the beginning and I remember the house completely lost, and nothing here. From now, but because you have a place where to go and hear about the story of my father, the passion of my father. The house where Enzo Ferrari was born is now part of a museum. 6,000 square meters in size.

Enzo’s son Pierro Ferrari is the brains behind the project. He’s included several personal items belonging to his father. Originally, a locksmith’s apprentice, Ferrari Sr. became a race car driver and founded one of the world’s most legendary sports car companies. Well, but my father has been written hundreds of books.

Every person who met him I wrote in the past, I know the real Ferrari, I know the real story about him. But was a very complex personality, and very demanding, especially to myself and was very hard job to stay with them. In addition to the personal possessions of Enzo Ferrari, one wing of the museum will display Ferrari automobiles as well as temporary exhibitions.

The building was designed by leading architecture firm Future Systems. Finally we choose this very modern structure because he was always looking to the future, as you know, eh? He was looking to new ideas. And he was always trusting young people, young engineers, young architects.

Andrea Morgante designed and built the museum together with the now deceased Jan Kaplický. They drew all their ideas from Enzo Ferrari’s cars. Those were our reference of inspiration. So when we started the competition we were scanning pictures of details of engines and bonnets. Look how beautiful the shape of this part.

I mean this is art, this is culture, and not many people see that. People just see a fast red car, but we knew the value, the artistic value. So We say, let’s take this and let’s make is a building, let’s make it really big as a building. The dominant color in the new wing is yellow, the color of the Ferrari emblem.

The building is meant to be sleek and innovative, just like Enzo Ferrari’s creations. Everything here is untested. This is a huge prototype and is an amazing challenge, because no one did this roof before. This is a double curved aluminium roof. Is a three dimensional piece of sculpture of 3,000 square meters.

It’s quite a challenge. Same thing the facade, it’s quite a technical challenge, so it has the same spirit that you find in building these cars. Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari resembles the big car museums of German manufacturers such as Porsche, BMW and Mercedes. Their buildings cost much more than the one in Modena, much of the 18 million euros needed for the Ferrari museum came from the local authorities.

When you go to maybe one which is only for a brand, it has the impression of like a showroom, that maybe you’re being sold the idea or you’re being sold the brand of that particular car. I think here it does feel freer, you’re not having the corporate message shoved down your throat maybe quite so much.

They don’t have the place where Enzo Ferrari was born. Maybe they have the place where Michael Schumacher was born but he don’t have Ferrari so that’s a good start for us. The place where Enzo Ferrari grew up been in relative poverty at the start of the 20th century provides the perfect setting to tell his success story.

Enzo told us a sort of life lesson, never to give up, you know and if it looks difficult, keep dreaming.

It’s hoped the new museum will draw up to to, two hundred thousand visitors a year. Here, they can retrace the Ferrari legend, even if most can’t afford the trademark fast red sports car.

Text transcribed by Marcelo Pinto  June 16th 2012 from this youtube video

Best Hotels in Bologna, Italy

Best Romantic Hotels in Bologna

Written by Marcelo Pinto  June 10th 2012

Aemilia Hotel

Aemlia is a hotel which is based only two minutes away from the city edge and it only takes ten minutes to walk to the main square. It offers free WiFi, a buffet selection for breakfast and a lovely roof top deck so you can enjoy the views across the city. The staff are friendly and hope to see you soon.

Hotel Cosmopolitan Bologna

The Hotel Cosmopolitan Bologna is located outside of the city but it is still convenient to the town centre. It is easy to find and the parking there is also convenient. The rooms are comfortable and include coffee and tea making facilities. The owners welcome feedback and always look to improve their services and facilities.

Sav Hotel

The Sav Hotel is located in a really convenient location, ten minutes from both the airport city centre. The staff are really friendly and helpful and the atmosphere and décor are lovely. The owner boasts the fact that the Sav Hotel is only 2 kilometers from the main street of Bologna.

Grand Hotel Majestic

The Grand Hotel Majestic is a stylish hotel that boasts large, well decorated rooms. It is said to be a luxury in the heart of Bologna. Because of its location many guests prefer this hotel over others as it is right in the city centre. The staff are lovely and the food is good.

Savoia Hotel Regency

This hotel is said to be wonderful with friendly staff who go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and to offer you services to make you stay stress free. It is not a very expensive hotel but it is a very good hotel and has a wonderful restaurant.

Palazzo Loup

The Palazzo Loup is a great hotel in a beautiful location. It is located on top of a hill right outside of town and boasts amazing views. It also offers great Italian cuisine at the restaurant. This hotel is said to be amazing with fantastic staff.

Art Corona d’Oro

This hotel is located in the city centre and is very close to the main attractions. The staff are friendly and helpful and the suites are beautiful. It is a very modern and up to date hotel and there is even breakfast included in your stay.

AC Hotel Bologna by Marriott

This hotel has rooms that are very modern in dark colours and it offers free parking out the front of the hotel. They also offer a nice selection of foods for breakfast and wireless internet. It is a well priced hotel.

Al Cappello Rosso

The Al Cappello Rosso hotel is located in a nice quiet street near the middle of the town. It is not very modern but it is clean and comfortable with more of a boutique style. They offer breakfast and the staff are friendly and willing to help you.

Art Hotel Commercianti

The Art Hotel Commercianti is a pleasant hotel right in the heart of the city. The building is ancient looking and the rooms that it offers are large and comfortable. The staff are accommodating and the food is flavoursome.

Parma travel guide for leisure and business

Written by Marcelo Pinto  June 10th 2012

how cheese is made

Science and poetry, craftsmanship and industry, sophistication and authenticity. Parma is an admirable synthesis of these apparent opposites, as revealed in its history, and is still true today.

Background

Parma was the capital of the Duchy, and at one time was ruled by royalty – Marie Louise – the second wife of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. It is a city of affluence and sophistication, famous nowadays for its culinary specialties. It is the only place in the world where the strict rules of an age-old tradition have become the driving force of economic development. The Ducal Palace, offered as headquarters to the European Food Safety Authority, is an emblem of this complex personality. Built in the 16th century by the second Duke of Parma, Ottavio Farnese, it stands in a splendid park, surrounded by exotic tree species. The very name of Parma fascinated Stendhal and Proust.

Architecture

High on the list of desirable places to live, Parma has been admirably shaped by the hand of history. There is the square containing the Romanesque cathedral, Duomo, with frescoes by Correggio, and the pale-coloured Baptistery, designed by Benedetto Antelami, that are silent witnesses to a great architectural heritage, preserved in the very heart of the city. Piazzale della Pace, redesigned by Mario Botta to show off the massive proportions of Palazzo della Pilotta, houses a theatre built by the Farnese family, and entirely of wood, unique in that it could be filled with water for staging naval battles, to the delight of the court. The grandiose building now hosts the Galleria Nazionale, and features paintings by Correggio, Parmigianino, and Leonardo. The Teatro Regio – Royal Theatre – elegant in its neoclassical simplicity, is a temple dedicated to the music in the city of Verdi and Toscanini. Facing it stands the imposing Church of the Steccata, with precious works by Parmi
gianino. A short stroll away is Piazza Garibaldi, the real centre of the city, an elegant showcase of buildings reflecting different historical periods.

Food

The love of good food, reflected in products famous all over the world, is more a matter of art than an industry. Discover our unique local products, with their bewitching flavours. Parma ham, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Culatello di Zibello, and other exquisite foods – tomatoes, Parma’s Red Gold; mushrooms from the Valtaro; black truffles from Fragno; and sparkling aromatic wines. The genius of this city has been in inventing ways of transforming these fruits of the earth. It has conquered an international market by maintaining the authentic flavours of farm-made preserves and hand-rolled pasta, even when producing them in large quantities – a decision based on policy rather than marketing. And it has proved to be a winning formula, because it is deep-rooted, drawing on the history and the traditions of this fertile land.

High-Quality Standards

Parma has succeeded in combining taste and technology, developing a culture of food and its production. Of course, everyone has heard of Parma ham and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Throughout the world, hams marked with the five-pointed crown symbol are a benchmark of quality. For cheese to lay claim to the Parmigiano appellation, the milk must have come from cows bred in the region, and been processed using a method dating back to Etruscan times. Then, it is left to mature for at least a year.

Economy

It was here that the humble macaroni first became an international business. 1870 saw the founding in Parma of the firm Barilla, the first in Italy to produce pasta on an industrial scale. Here in Food Valley, the statistics say it all – a turnover of €10 billion, 25,000 employees, and exports worth €3 billion.

Education

Culture is synonymous with the University of Parma, founded in the 10th century, and one of the oldest in Italy. The new campus offers a wide range of specialisations, including food science.

Other Industries

But Parma’s story is not only about food and technology. Parma also has important clothing and leatherworking industries, reflecting an ancient tradition of craftsmanship, dependent on skilled labour and top-quality raw materials.

Ducal Palace

Just outside the city walls stands the Reggia di Colorno, once known as the “little Versailles” on account of its gardens. Only one word adequately describes it – a marvel. It now houses the ALMA, the International School of Italian Cuisine, interpreting Italy’s gastronomic tradition to the wider world.

Castles in the Countryside

This is a fertile, generous land, bisected by the ancient Roman highway of the Via Emilia, and peppered with castles erected to defend the estates and vaunt the fortunes of its feudal lords. Torrechiara was built by Pier Maria Rossi in honour of his lover. The couple would meet in the sumptuous golden chamber, whose terrace dominates the whole of Food Valley. The fortress of Fontanellato, built by the counts of Sanvitale, boasts some magnificent frescoes by Parmigianino. The Meli Lupi Castle at Soragna is another splendid aristocratic residence, with magnificent gilded interiors.

Torrechiara castle

Famous People

This is the province which, in the 19th century, produced the operatic genius of Giuseppe Verdi. It was also the home of Arturo Toscanini, whose house is now a museum, and of humorist Giovannino Guareschi – creator of Don Camillo – whose books have delighted millions all over the world.

Spa Town

It also boasts the invigorating waters of Salsomaggiore, one of Italy’s oldest spa resorts, already popular with the Romans 2,000 years ago.

Strategic Location

The quality produce, research, investment, hospitality, and general sense of well-being associated with Parma, are also explained by its favourable geographical location. Parma is right at the heart of the Po Valley, just an hour’s drive from the international airports of Milan and Bologna. From its own airport, named not surprisingly after Giuseppe Verdi, there are daily connections with Rome Fiumicino and several European capitals. Parma is within easy reach of some of the most beautiful parts of Italy. An hour’s drive up over the Cisa Pass, and you are at the seaside – Lerici, Cinque Terre, Portofino. In the opposite direction, passing through a string of splendid medieval towns, you arrive at the world’s most beautiful city – Venice. Strategically placed between middle Europe and the Mediterranean, Parma has been able to blend the two different culinary cultures throughout its history, refining it through scientific research, a heritage now widely recognized and shared with the rest of Europe.
Science and charm, industry and tradition, business and culinary excellence. Parma already has all these things. Rich in history and timeless wisdom, this is a city waiting to be explored.

The text has been extracted from the Parma chamber of commerce video

Top 5 hotels in Parma Italy

Parma’s best hotels for the luxury traveller.

Written by Marcelo Pinto  June 10th 2012

battistero a Parma

Written by Marcelo Pinto  June 4th 2012

Whether it’s business, pleasure or both that bring you to Parma, there’s a hotel for you among the top 5 hotels rated by your fellow travellers at TripAdvisor.

There’s a lot history in Parma, no better reminisced than at Teatro Farnese, an ancient wooden theatre with a fantastic historic atmosphere. The Magnani-Rocca foundation offers a permanent exposition of paintings and sculptures, and everybody loves Castello di Torrechiara: a classic example of Italian castle architecture and frescoes, with incredible views of the Langhirano countryside.

If you’re a business traveller, you won’t need to see the sights. You’ll appreciate affordable and reliable internet access. The breakfast on the way out doesn’t have to be fancy either, just good enough to get you started on your busy day. The Best Western Hotel Farnese, Grand Hotel de la Ville and Hotel Stendhal provide free wireless internet access. The breakfasts are crowd-pleasers at any of these hotels, probably because they all serve wonderful Parma ham, but the favourite when it comes to mornings is Hotel Stendhal: Strong flavourful coffee, lots of fresh bread and fruit choices. If your overall satisfaction from a hotel stay is in the breakfast, stay at the Stendhal.

If you’re in Parma to see the sights, you’ll want fast access to as many of them as possible. Starhotels Du Parc gives you a fifteen minute walk into the centre of Parma using the rear entrance, a bridge and pathway through a beautiful city park. The Hotel Stendhal is a winner again for the sight-seers with close proximity to the city center, fine restaurants like La Greppia, and the archaeological museum across the road.

Not mentioned yet among the top five is the Ora Hotel. It’s three kilometers from the center of Parma so it’s not ideal for sightseeing on foot; you’ll need a car for that and pay for parking when you go to town. The rooms aren’t big compared to the other hotels and the charges for wireless internet will have you firing up your smart phone’s internet tethering right away. You might miss the in-room coffee and the breakfast area is small so if the hotel is busy, you’ll need to get down there early. Despite all this, there’s one real value in a stay at the Ora: it’s quiet.

For business or pleasure, it’s easy to find your favourite hotel in Parma.

Images from wikipedia

What to do in Parma in 48 hours

Written by Marcelo Pinto  June 4th 2012

Most tourists who visit Italy are captivated by Rome and the Vatican, and don’t realize there is a whole world of discovery in this beautiful European country if one cares to look for it. Parma, located in northern Italy, is fast becoming a tourist destination, and has been known for years to be a center for art, renaissance architecture, and delectable cheese and ham. Come with me as we explore the various sections of this beautiful city in terms of restaurants, and what to see and do in 48 hours.

 

To begin with, let’s have a look at the various attractions worth visiting.

1. Duomo di Parma

This gorgeous church is a marvel and stands proud as a testament to Romanesque architecture. It was built in the 12th century, and has a stunning collection of frescoes in its interior. Guarded by pink marble stone lions as you walk past its huge doors, you will experience a sense of being taken back into time. Putting a couple of Euros in the offering will cause the ceiling to light up, which in itself is a magnificent spectacle. This is a great way of spending your afternoon in this charming Italian gem of a city.

 

2. Galleria Nazionale

One of Italy’s most prized museums, the Galleria Nazionale hosts a variety of artwork that will delight any art enthusiast. Examples of artists whose works are featured here include Coreggio, Leonardo da Vinci, Parmigianino and Van Dyck.

 

Places to Eat

 

1. Ai due Platani

Known for its delicious proscuitto and tortelli alle erbette, this restaurant is popular with locals and tourists alike. It has a laid-back ambience that is sure to put you at ease as you savor their delicious dishes. While here, be sure to try out the wide homemade pasta with rosemary-infused duck sauce; it is to die for.

 

2. 12 Monaci

This restaurant will leave you breathless and wanting more. Located in Via Rome, its specialty is the veal and homemade pasta, and due to the fact that it is a family-run establishment, it has a homey feel to it. The restaurant was originally a monastery, as is evidenced by the interior. This adds to the restaurant’s ambience, giving it a romantic look and feel.

 

Things to Do

 

1. Teatro Farnese

Built entirely of wood in the 16th century, this theater is a great way of spending the early evening hours admiring the intricate architecture and being bathed in a one-of-a-kind atmosphere.

 

2. Teatro Regio

Touted as one of the top venues in Italy, the Teatro Regio hosts various operas, and you might be lucky to catch a performance of Verdi’s Opera. Ensure to book your tickets in advance so that you can have a true appreciation of what this opera house has to offer.

 

So there you have it; a list of places to see and things to do. Spend your evenings at some of Parma’s restaurants and get to experience the authentic heart of Italy. The city can be easily accessed from both Bologna and Milan, and is a great destination for those who want something different from the beaten tourist path.

Palazzo del Governatore, Parma

Images from wikipedia

Parmesan production video – how Parmigiano Reggiano is made

Normally its cows that are branded, but this is Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy often referred to as parmesan cheese. Parmesan does start with cows but it’s only their milk we want. This dairy in Mantova, Italy uses half a ton of milk for each block of cheese. It’s made in these huge copper vats. Each one holds 990 liters enough to make two giant Parmesan wheels.

Those cows have a lot of grass to eat to keep up with production. Parmesan is a hard cheese so the milk needs to be solidified. The ideal temperature for this is 33 degrees. To get the milk to solidify, the cheese maker will use rennets. This enzyme comes from calves stomachs, and it’s poured in and left for a moment to work its magic.

Because of strict European laws constraining trademarks. Parmigiano-Reggiano can only be made in certain Italian regions. This means each producer must make as much as they can because global demand is huge. As the rennet takes effect, the head cheese maker will notice subtle changes in the milk’s consistency.

The workers keep a very close eye out so they know when to start the next step. When the time is right, they get to work. Using custom made cutters, they slice through the yogurt-like substance, breaking it into lumps. This helps separate the cheese curds from the whey. After three minutes of this, the temperature is raised and the two parts separate.

The solid curds fall to the bottom leaving the liquid whey at the surface. This custom made knife casts over 4,000 pounds and it’s designed to cut the big lump of cheese at the bottom of the tank in half. In the Parmesan business, high tech goes hand in hand with old school. The cheese master now uses his big wooden paddle to lift the two halves so his colleagues can wrap them in cloth.

If they left the cheese in the bottom of the tank, someone would have to climb inside to get them out. This way is far easier. The workers can now suck out all the old whey, making the tanks ready for the next load of milk. Once the cheese is removed, it’s wrapped up and a weight is put on top. This squeezes out excess fluid.

As a hard cheese, Parmesan needs as little fluid as possible. It’ll remain like this for eight hours in a Teflon-mold. As the cheese spreads out, this imprints the dairy’s name into the sides. After about 24 hours, the Teflon form is substituted for a metal one. Here it will sit down and take on the characteristic wheel shape with a flat top and bottom and curved sides.

After three days in their molds, these cheeses could really do with a bath, a salt bath. This process actually improves that cheesy smell. The cheese is left in this salty brine for a month before it’s taken out to be dried. This helps improve the cheese’s final flavor. Once it’s time to get out of that shag bathwater they make their way to the ripening room.

The contents of this room are estimated have a total value of 17 million pounds and our freshly baked Parmesan wheels are about to join them. The wheels will spend up to two years in here maturing slowly. But to avoid growing mold they have to be turned at least once every two weeks. Turning this many cheeses would be very dull and very hard so a robot is used instead.

Although after doing this job for such a long time it looks like the robots could also do with some turning. As it matures the staff keep a close eye on the cheeses. Using his official hammer the head cheesemaker will tap on a random sample. His expert ear knows the sound of a good Parmesan from a bad one.

He’ll use a little corkscrew to test a sample, and ensure the cheese is maturing nicely. When he satisfied it up to scratch, he’ll fire up his trusty brand and mark the cheese. From it’s humble beginnings via some rather dark and briny bathwater, the world’s favorite pasta topping is born.

The Text has been extracted from this video, the cheese represented is actually Grana Padano and not Parmigiano Reggiano.

 

A video in high quality shot during our gourmet tours in June 2012, with cool music and special effect enjoy.

Tenuta Rampada and Traditional balsamic vinegar of Reggio Emilia

Originally appeared on Fine dining Lovers by San Pellegrino

Transcribed by Marcelo Pinto  June 1st, 2012

The traditional balsamic Italian vinegar from Reggio Emilia is one of the most
well knows product of the Italian cuisine. A rare product spread all around the
world for its particular taste ad proprieties. Grapes and tradition linked to
give to the people a unique product loved by everyone. A way of life, tradition
and respect for the land, love and family heritage that stand still in this
particular area since many years. The Italian food culture is well know all
around the planet and this is why it is so. The heritage of the families stand
where it belongs.

The Rampata word comes from a non common term, a dialect from Reggio Emilia
“La Rampeda”, a famous area that slopes or in some cases “ramps” upwards the
hills around.
We find our selves on the banks of the little Enza river in the Montecchio
Emilia area. A region well known for Lambrusco and obviously for the balsamic
vinegar from the region
Henry III of Franconio in 1046 crossed the north of Italy traveling to Rome to
see the Pope and receiving the imperial coronation.
In the days in the Po’s region he brought a lot of gift to Boniface of Canossa,
the father of Matilda and one of the most relevant men in the kingdom. This
is because he’d like to receive in return the famous vinegar from this area a
product well known in the area and made in his castle. Many people told him
about the qualities of this product.
Balsamic vinegar is a rare good, a luxury good because the specific
term “balsamic” comes from the word “balsam” and it was used and considered in
the past as a drug and an elisir of long life.
The secret of this product is the time that guarantees the best quality and it’s
impossible to have a traditional balsamic vinegar from Reggio Emilia without a
long time process.
We’re cooking the grape juice because the must needs one day cooking in a
cauldron directly on the fire, but at low heat.
In this way. The liquid part slowly disappear and the sugars can concentrate.
When the product will be put into barrels the natural process will happen, the
fermentation that get converted the sugar into alcohol.
When I was young, none of us: my brother, my cousins and me can help in this
particular phase because it was considered too dangerous.
We can watch the cooking from the window and because it needs a long time, we
woke up early in the mourning opening the windows smelling the aroma of the must
entering the rooms.
Knowing what was happening, but the only thing we could do was to peeking out
from the window.
Our farm stands inside the vineyards, our oxygen, our family’s oxygen.
We have Malvasia’s wine, Trebbiano, Ancellotta, Grasparossa and few varieties of
Lambrusco.
There is a maniac care gives to the plants, because we perfectly know that
everything is born from here, from this soil. So we can’t leave everything to
chance, especially in this last period, thanks to all the attention and care to
the basic ingredients and production phases of the Lambrusco Wine, we’ve reached
incredible results.
Not just the Italian market, but also the foreign markets have given us huge
satisfaction. Wines absolutely need a good years.
We try to produce the traditional balsamic vinegar during good vintage, but the
grapes play quite a relative role, meaning that grapes juice when cooked for
long time automatically loses a but of its vintage.
Talking about the traditional balsamic vinegar, really needs ageing in the
barrels, into the barriques. This is the real secret.
We’re in the “acetaia”, in the attic. All the “acetaie” are always in the top
parts of the buildings, in the attics because the strong cold during the winter
time and the humid heat during the summer are really crucial.
To get the traditional balsamic vinegar you need a series of different barrels
called “batteria”.
Our family tradition use to have a 5 barrels series made of different sizes: 50
litres, 40 litres, 30 litres, 20 and 15 litres. All made from different woods.

Evey time a child was born, especially a girl, a new “batteria” of barrels
started. This “batteria” was given as dowry for the future marriage of this
girl.
Every member of my family has a personal “batteria” and obviously every
personal “batteria” is personally considered the best one.
Thinking about my childhood the treasures were these family traditional balsamic
vinegar barrels.
My family has been producing traditional balsamic vinegar and wine for 4
generation, about 100 years.
My grandfather Ermete inherited this passion for the work, the wine, while the
traditional balsamic vinegar was kept only for family use.
The word “tradition” is connected entirely to my microcosm like everything that
belongs to me. It’s an experience of my life, a part of me from the outside and
the inside.
The important is communicating this feelings in a correct way to the others, not
only the children, but all the persons the we meet daily.
I have a huge respect for the people who have passed this down to me, but always
watching to the future.

The Italian tradition inside a simple product that is possible to use in many
different ways. A precious recipe that stand still on the top of the Italian
goods export. The traditional balsamic vinegar from Reggio Emilia is the essence
of the Italian rural culture and a cuisine product that is possible to use on
many different foods. If you have never tried this amazing product, now it’s
time to change you habits and to enjoy the taste of a unique essence.

 

 

Parmesan cheese BANK – BBC news

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.

 

Food Shopping In Parma – A Walking tour in Italy’s Food Valley

If you want to explore the delicacies of Parma you can do this by following our walking guided tours of the town, either on your own or you can hire one of our English speaking guide to take you around and help you with your gourmet shopping. These days there are many deli shops in downtown Parma, and many local producers have opened their own spaces there, so you do not need to travel to the countryside if you want to do some food shopping before heading home.

parma
Salumerias and high quality Delis are very common in Parma – source

CASA DEL FORMAGGIO

Parma cured meats and cheeses are sold here. As the name says “The House of Cheeses” you already know what to expect.
The shop has a wide selection of the local produces including , Parma ham , Culatello (a type of ham), Salame di Felino (a local mountain salami, very tasty indeed), and rare cold cut like Spalla di San Secondo which is a true pork delicacy.  The shop  also sell many varieties of Parmesan cheese as well cheeses from Italy. In the Pasta department you will find ready to cook tortellini, tortelloni and tagliatelle.

ANTICO FORNO FERRARI

It is a family run bakery which opens only in the morning, you will find many hand crafted speciality bread here. They use white  and wholemeal flours as well as spelt flour, which is supposed to be very good for your digestive system.

Salumeria e gastronomia dall’Olio Mauro

Typical delicatessen in Parma with a wide selection of local cured meats, cheeses, food, and other household items. As you might be expect you will find all best Parma’s Salumi (Italian for cured meats), here you will able to buy Parma ham as well as Parmigiano Reggiano of different ageing. Here you can also buy ready made meals such as lasagne, Tagliatelle, a large selection of cakes and desserts. They also stock more generic items such as ground coffee, milk, dried pasta. water, wine and softdrinks.

L’Angolo Del Parmigiano

The name says it all. Gourmet shoppers will be able to purchase the products that put Parma on the map: ham, salami, cheese and wine. The staff is very approachable and they will be able to advise regarding the various and excellent products that they stock.

Pasticceria D’Azelio.

Your trip to Italy and Parma will not be complete without a trip to the local pasticceria. The store is just minutes from one of the main park in Parma: Parco Ducale.
It is a typical upscale cake shop and here you will be find satisfaction for both sweet and savory gourmet treats. You can savour your snacks outside in the patio and accompany the food with wines and champagnes from the well stocked wine cellar.

Enoteca drogheria Viani

An Italian typical wine and spices shop. Here you will find a wide selection of local and not so local wines including organic beers. The shop also stocks household and general cooking items such as sugar, flour, soaps, detergents, pasta, canned sauces and so on.

Parma
Buy some salami and Parma ham before heading home – source