Parmigiano Reggiano
Parmigiano Reggiano

Indulge your passion this Cheese Lovers' Day with an Italian Food Holiday

Today, January 20, is Cheese Lovers' Day. If, like us, you can't get enough of this delicious dairy product, we have some Italian Food Holidays coming up this year that will showcase the very best of Italian cheese. 

From the legendary Parmigiano-Reggiano and well known Pecorino, to the surprising Sicilian spun cheese Vastedda Valle del Belice – our enticing itineraries will treat you to the country's full spectrum. So, which cheeses will feature? Read on – and try not to get hungry!


Nothing can prepare you for the awe you'll feel standing among endless rows of ageing wheels of Parmesan cheese. There is much to discover about this already familiar product, from the texture and flavour of Parmigiano-Reggiano in its infancy, to how the 'passport' is pressed into the rind. Experience an in-depth tour at a local producer – complete, of course, with indulgent tastings – on three of our tours...

In both Parma and Bologna, we will take you behind-the-scenes to see exactly how this world-famous cheese is made and to discover its journey from milk to shelf. 

Parma in the Springtime - a 3-day Taster tour
Tastes of Parma
Bologna - the Gastronomic Capital of Italy


This is an ancient cheese with Protected Designation of Origin status (DOP), traditionally made in the country's northern Piedmont region. It has been produced since the year 1,000 and gets its name from the area. To make this cheese, raw milk is heated to 100ºF and mixed with liquid rennet to coagulate it. From here, the curd is broken and left to rest, and then it is gathered in a cloth and left to hang for around 12 hours, which removes excess moisture. After being kept in molds for up to three days, the cheese is then salted and moved to either caves or cellars, where it ages for up to five months. 

On our Truffles, Cheese & Chocolate in Piedmont tour, which will depart on October 21st, we will take you high into the Alps southwest of Turin in Val Grana, where Castelmagno is produced the old-fashioned way. 

Click here to book your place now. 


In the Trapani province of Western Sicily, the Cucchiara brothers have been producing this high-quality, DOP-accredited cheese for many years using milk from their own flock of sheep. They also make Pecorino Siciliano, which is a sharp, firm cheese, but perhaps their crowning glory is Vastedda Valle del Belice. This is a rare spun cheese, made using a curd-stretching process. It has a creamy, slightly sour taste and the milk that produces it must be processed to make this cheese within 48 hours. Vastedda should be eaten fresh and is considered a fantastic addition to pasta dishes or pizza. 

Treat yourself to a place on our Western Sicily - Markets, Marzipan & Marsala tour and pay a visit to Azienda Cucchiara farm and dairy, where you'll be introduced to this flavourful cheese.

Click here now to book a place or to view the full itinerary. 

Piacentinu Ennese

Distinctive thanks to its buttery yellow colour, which is a by-product of its saffron flavouring, Piacentinu Ennese cheese is a delight to taste. Yet another holder of the revered DOP status, this cheese is dotted with black peppercorns and has a delicious flavour. It is a mature cheese, which is made using raw sheep's milk and produced only within the province of Enna in central Sicily. 

A romantic local legend has it that Ruggero il Normanno – King of Sicily – ordered local cheesemakers to produce a therapeutic cheese for his sad wife. Following a series of attempts, they added saffron to sheep's milk and created this visually striking delicacy.

On our Almonds, Pistachios & Aztec Chocolate - South East Sicily tour, we will treat you to a sample of this surprising sheep's milk cheese, with its delicately spicy appeal. 


Another DOP-certified cheese, Ragusano features on our South-East Sicily tour. Made only in the Ragusa and Syracuse areas, this cheese is still made in the same way as it has been for at least the last 500 years. It is also produced and sold in a rectangular shape, which makes it a little more unusual than its cheese contemporaries. 

Unpasteurised whole milk from grass or hay-fed cows of the Modicana breed is separated, with the resulting curds ‘stretched’. Cheeses of different ages are sold – the younger, fresher cheese has a sweet, delicate taste, whilst the more mature cheese has developed a deeper flavour and a hint of spice. No gastronomic visit to this part of Sicily would be complete without sampling Ragusano.

Click here to book a place on this tour or to view the full itinerary now.

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Indulge your passion this Cheese Lovers' Day with an Italian Food Holiday was published on 20 January 2019