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A Day Trip to Parma and the Source of Parmigiano-Reggiano by janice waugh

Early morning in Bologna.


Patricia and our guide.

e set out before the sun rose. The early hour

Terroir refers to the unique properties that the geography,

was necessary. To see how Parmigiano-

climate, geology, and plants of a place have on the taste

Reggiano is made, you must arrive when

of food.

the cows’ milk arrives. Only fresh milk goes into making Parmigiano-Reggiano—the real Parmesan that is made in

The terroir of one farm is different from another;

Parma, Italy.

therefore, the milk of the cows on those farms and the

I was with Patricia, a Brazilian travel blogger whom I had met in Bologna. We had already seen the origins of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena and this time we were taking the train to Parma, following our taste buds to the source of the Emilia Romagna region’s famous cheese.

cheese that is produced from that milk is different as well. The difference may be subtle, but it is there and this is why the farmers are the producers. In the production process, milks from the different farms are not mixed together. Each goes into a separate vat.

In most cases, a cheese producer is a company that buys

Each is tracked through the production process. This is

milk from many farmers and makes cheese. In the case

the difference between Parmigiano-Reggiano, which is

of Parmigiano-Reggiano, the farmers are the producers.

monitored by the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano

The facilities and cheese makers are owned and managed

Reggiano, and parmesan cheese from manufacturing

by a cooperative of farmers. The reason for this is terroir.



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