This is day is our only EARLY get up! I was showered, dressed, and at the bakery around the corner at 6:15 to pick up pastries for our "breakfast on the bus" trip to the Parmigiano-Reggiano tour of a casificio (dairy) where the cheese is made. Those cows wait for no one to sleep in! At 6:30, the breakfast room staff had early coffee drinks ready for our group, and at 6:45 we were on a bus to Reggio-Emilia.
We arrived at the casificio at 8:00, and were ready for our tour. We "suited up", and saw how the cheese is made, learning all the steps of the process.
We were fortunate that our tour guide, Christian, was one of only a handful of "cheese testers" for all of the 150 dairies where Parmigiano-Reggiano is made. He showed us how the cheeses are hit with a hammer-like instrument to check for the sound of an air bubble or flaw.
Of course, the best part of the tour is TASTING and EATING the cheese, and then being able to buy it to take home at a lower price than in a shop.
Next our bus driver, Antonio drove us to Modena to visit the beautiful villa of Giorgio, Giovanna and Carlotta Barbieri, and for a lesson in the production of Balsamico di Modena DOP, and a tasting. This was my fourth visit to Acetai di Giorgio, and I learn something new each time I visit.
We were greeted warmly by Giorgio, Giovanna and Carlotta's boyfriend, Marcello, who gave out tour in English.
We tasted 9 different precious vinegars, aged in different wood, for up to 25 years.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's lunch at Giusti, and the rest of our Wednesday afternoon and evening...