Balsamic vinegar of Modena and Parmigiano-Reggiano
Balsamic vinegar of Modena and Parmigiano-Reggiano

Food Holidays

PARMA - Parma ham, Parmesan cheese and porcini mushrooms

Parma is one of the great gastronomic centres of Italy, so renowned for its Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and Prosciutto di Parma. Gourmet visitors will definitely not want to miss the chance to see these famous delicacies made, and to taste them in the company of their passionate producers. But there is so much more to Parma for the foodie – porcini mushrooms spring up in the Apennine woods at this time of year; superb local wines are produced from vineyards that carpet the slopes of nearby hills and cookery classes present hands-on opportunities to learn about the specialities of the region. Our perfectly located hotel makes a fine base for exploring the city’s charming historic centre.

What's included?

  •  Flights
  •  Accommodation
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary
  •  Expert guide
  •  All tastings in the itinerary

Today's Price

Deposit: £250 Single supplement: £160

Tour highlights:

  • A cookery class and dinner at the renowned Commanderia del Gusto
  • Watch Parmigiano-Reggiano being made and taste various vintages
  • Visit a family-run maker of Parma ham and taste the distinctively delicious prosciutto
  • Hunt for porcini mushrooms with an expert guide in the Apennine woods
  • Savour a traditional bomba di riso dinner at a quality local restaurant

Tour details

Dates 15 September 2020 - 18 September 2020
Duration 4 days
Today's Price
Deposit: £250 Single supplement: £160 Balance due by 23 June 2020
Tour code G01A20

Book Now or call 01453 823328 if you have any questions

15 September 2020: Itinerary

We fly from London to Milan this morning, arriving around lunchtime and transferring to our hotel in Parma. After a little time to settle in, we depart for the delightful agriturismo Commanderia del Gusto, which offers a highly regarded cookery class introducing the key flavours and influences of the region and the chance to create your own delicious pasta dinner. We return to Parma and our hotel this evening.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Centrally located hotel

The morning is dedicated to a veritable trinity of Parma tastes. Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) is produced exclusively in Parma, Reggio-Emilia, Modena and parts of Mantua and Bologna provinces between the Po and Reno rivers. This slow-maturing, granular cheese, with a distinctive, highly concentrated flavour, is exceptionally rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals. Around 3.5m 40kg ‘wheels’ of Parmigiano-Reggiano are produced every year, making it a multi-billion Euro industry. We visit one of the iconic dairies to watch the cheese being made, and taste from a selection of variously aged wheels.

Then we make a private visit to a family-run Parma ham maker. Parma has been renowned for its air-dried prosciutto since Roman times – its micro-climate is particularly conducive to ham production. As such, in common with many of Italy’s great foodstuffs, Prosciutto di Parma is protected and production strictly limited to an area of the Parma hills between the Enza and Stirone rivers at a height of less than 900m above sea level. The curing process, at least 12 months in duration, takes immense patience and skill (salt and air are the only ‘additives’) but the reward is truly special – sweet, tender meat with echoes of chestnuts and the sea, borne on the fragrant breezes of the Parma Valley. Naturally, we taste it for ourselves.

Some excellent sparkling wines are produced in the nearby hills, and we conclude our morning with a winery visit and tasting. On a good day, the Alps should be visible. Lunch is provided at the winery.

In the afternoon, we tick off another characteristic taste of the region – balsamic vinegar – with a visit to a family-run producer. Made from grape ‘must’ (the juice, skins and stems of the grape) and matured in a series of ever-smaller barrels, the best balsamic is produced in Modena and the surrounding area. Like Parmesan, great balsamic has various vintages, with longer-aged examples offering a richer, rounder flavour, as we discover for ourselves. The evening is at your leisure to dine independently in Parma.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Centrally located hotel

September and October are the perfect months to hunt porcini mushrooms (also called ceps or ‘penny buns’) – those wild fungi so prized by chefs and gourmands. We head out into the woods, high up in the Apennines, with an expert guide looking out for conifer trees, where this earthly treasure is most often found. In addition to a host of nutritional benefits, porcini mushrooms transform the flavour of a dish, adding a meaty, savoury richness and nuttiness. Lunch is prepared nearby, inviting us to sample not just porcini mushrooms, but also some almost-forgotten mountain dishes.

The afternoon is at leisure, perhaps to discover more of the city’s fine architecture and rich history. Then the gourmet aspect of our short break in Parma concludes in style with a bomba di riso dinner at a fine local restaurant. This show-stopping ‘rice bomb’ is a huge pie made with pigeon meat which can trace its history back to the tables of Renaissance nobility.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hotel: Centrally located hotel

A further morning at leisure provides the time to shop for souvenirs and tastes of Parma to take home. After an independent lunch, we transfer to Milan for our flight home.

Meals include: Breakfast

  • Commanderia del Gusto cookery class, with dinner to follow
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano tasting
  • Parma ham tasting
  • Wine tasting
  • Balsamic vinegar tasting
  • Porcini mushroom hunting excursion

15 September 2020: Additional Info

15 September 2020: Accommodation

All of our destinations are known for their rich, cultural heritage, as well as their cuisine, and these holidays invite you to appreciate some magical towns and cities. We will be staying in high quality (generally 3*-4*) hotels.

15 September 2020: Enquiries

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