Life & Culture

The Parmesan Cheese Trail in Italy

Jul 28, 2020 ByClaire Miles

Every cheese lover should visit the Parmesan Cheese Trail in Italy. The cheese-centered journey to Emilia-Romagna, Italy is a seriously delicious vacation. Most of us take parmesan for granted and we give very little thought as to what it actually is. The original Parmigiano-Reggiano is the one and only authentic example of the cheese. So if you are a cheese connoisseur, you have to make the pilgrimage to the Parmesan Cheese Trail. Authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano is cultivated exclusively in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. It’s one of the first protected designation of origins (PDOs) ever established in the European Union. “This strip of land crossed by the Via Emilia, from the river Po to the Apennines has birthed some of the most iconic products of Italian cuisine,” explains Nicola Bertinelli, president of the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium — the trade council tasked with protecting the designation. “Parmigiano Reggiano, Parma ham, Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, even the fresh egg pasta all come from here. They have their origins in the mists of time. Just think: the first document mentioning a cheese made in Parma dates back to 1254.”

 A visitor touches Parmigiano Reggiano at the Salone del Gusto, 26 october 2006 in Turin. The Slow Food movement kicks off its second world gathering, with delegates from 150 countries, pledging to "sow the seeds of virtuous globalization" by finding ways to promote quality food, sustainable agriculture and biodiversity

Getty Images/AFP/FILIPPO MONTEFORTE

The region is known as the “Italian Food Valley,” holding 44 PDO products. That’s more than any other region in Europe! Each year the United States consumes of 10,000 tons of Parmigiano Reggiano- the second biggest importer of the cheese, behind France. If you go explore the region, the trip will begin in Parma. Once you arrive, you can start your journey at the Museo del Parmigiano Reggiano. The museum is open only on weekends. Nearby, you can also book a guided experience at Latteria Sociale San Pier Damiani. For 20 euros you’ll receive a two hour tour, showcasing a handmade technique that’s remained unchanged for generations.