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Parmigiano Reggiano and Parma ham tour

Immerse yourself into the world of Italian cuisine with a tour centred on two of the most loved delicacies of the Emilia Romagna region: Parma ham and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. The history of Parma Ham has its roots in Roman times: Parma was renowned for the activity of its inhabitants, who raised large herds of pigs and were particularly skilled in producing salted hams.


Over the centuries, Polybius, Strabone, Horace, Plautus and Juvenal spoke of ham and its preparation technique. But it was Guglielmo Du Tillot, Prime Minister of the Duchy of Parma, who was the first to study a plan for the construction of two pig slaughterhouses in Parma, in order to enhance and increase production. Since 1996, Parma Ham has obtained the recognition of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and is controlled by a strict production control measures, which is a true guarantee of quality. Not everyone knows that, for example, the only preservative allowed – by the way in smaller quantities than in other types of raw ham – is salt.

Another essential condition for obtaining real Parma Ham is that the entire processing takes place in an extremely limited area of the province of Parma, the one located south of the Via Emilia, at least 5 km from it, below 900 meters above sea level altitude, bounded to the east by the Enza stream and to the west by the Stirone stream. The bulk of the production is therefore concentrated around the town of Langhirano. Only in this area there are all the ideal climatic conditions for natural curing, which gives Parma Ham its sweetness and flavour.

Parmigiano Reggiano is produced exclusively in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena and part of the provinces of Mantua and Bologna. Four thousand farms are here, where the cows are fed with fodder produced in this area. In this protected environment, the unique qualities of the “King of cheeses” are formed. The origins of Parmigiano Reggiano date back to the Middle Ages, around the 12th century.

The first dairy houses were created in the Benedictine monasteries of Parma and Reggio Emilia, favoured by the abundance of waterways and large pastures. The production of a hard cheese, obtained by processing the milk in large boilers, then quickly spread in this area. Over the centuries, the basic production methods for making Parmigiano Reggiano has not changed: today, just like in the Middle Ages, production takes place naturally, without additives.
At the beginning of the 1900s, the processing of Parmigiano Reggiano developed some innovations, still used today, such as the use of whey starter and steam heating, which improve the quality of the cheese overall. The need to protect the product from similar cheeses lead to the formation of the Protection Consortium.
Parmigiano Reggiano today is produced in about 350 small dairies by about 3500 farmers who have obtained recognition for keeping the processing method and the very high quality level unchanged.

Are you ready to find out more? What better way than booking a guided tour and taste these delicious products?

Click on the image below to get 5% a unique Parmigiano Reggiano tour.

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