Travel Log: Modena & Parma, Italy
It is time for another Italy travel log (you can see my Siena travel log here and Lucca travel log here)! The third stop on our almost three week Italy adventure was Modena, home of balsamico and expensive sports cars. However, neither of those things were the primary reason for our visit to this city. We visited Modena to eat at the #1 restaurant in the world, Osteria Francescana! Sidenote: if you are not familiar with the World's 50 Best Restaurants, please click here for details. I am still amazed that we were table to get four four-tops for our group of sixteen people as we filled the majority of the restaurant, and we were thrilled that Chef Massimo Bottura was in town and made the rounds visiting every table toward the end of the service. He congratulated us on getting married and was incredibly kind. Please read on for photos and details of some of the amazing dishes we enjoyed at Osteria Francescana--both the meal and service were incredible and we absolutely recommend planning a visit to this restaurant. We only spent one night in Modena, but we had time for some additional sightseeing before dinner. The ladies took a half day parmesan/parma ham/balsamico tour in the Parma area while the guys toured the Maserati factory, so please scroll through to see photos from that delicious tour as well.
Insalata di Mare
Insalata di Mare
Oops! I Dropped the Lemon Tart (if you have watched the Chef's Table episode you will remember this dessert)
Selection of Fois Gras Treats
Our table's photo with Chef Massimo Bottura!
Parmesan Factory photos - we arrived late and missed the cheese production for that day, but we did get to explore the facility and sample delicious aged parmesan! Parmigiano Reggiano is aged the longest of all hard aged cheeses, giving it just the perfect taste and texture.
The stencil that is imprinted into each wheel of cheese.
After about one year of aging, a special hammer is used to tap each wheel of cheese to test for imperfections. If the cheese passes the initial test, it is aged for an additional 6-24 months before being sold.
Example of cheese that passed the one year test (it was made in March 2017) and will age for at least a few more months before being sold. The most common length of aging for parmesan is 24 months.
The next stop on our tour was a Parma Ham production facility, where we learned about the curing process used to make proscuitto di parma. There are nine steps, including a salting/resting process for 60-90 days, a washing/drying process to remove the salt, and a curing process that lasts a minimum of 400 days up to three years.
Our final stop was a balsamic farm and winery, where we learned that balsamic is aged in wooden barrels called "batteries" for a minimum of 12 months. The particular farm we visited had a barrel of balsamic from 1904 that is still aging!
After our one day in Modena & Parma, it was time to head to Florence for wedding preparations! I hope you enjoyed this travel log, and please stay tuned for more travel logs on Florence, the Amalfi Coast, and Rome. I hope you are having a great week so far, and thank you for visiting my blog today!