So far we've done
Bologna Part 1 - Parmigiano Reggiano cheese factory
|Click here if you missed our 40,000 wheels of cheese!|
Bologna - Part 2
Continuing on our Italian Days Food Experience led by Alessandro we left the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese factory and headed into another part of Modena.
We visited an Acetaia - no English translation but basically it's where they make the awesome balsamic. This is traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena that has a special certification that has to be granted every year to the makers.
This vinegar is aged a minimum of 12 years. The barrels are all made of different types of wood and cost about 3000 euros a set. Something very specific about the grapes and the air and bacteria mix you get in Modena makes this stuff so special. It takes 12 years before you get 1 litre of vinegar that you can sell or use. It's not a good way to earn money and is definitely a true labour of love.
|Acetaia Villa San Donnino|
|these barrels have a hole at the top just covered by cheesecloth|
|Alessandro giving up lots of info - but it was hot as hell up there|
This stuff has been made traditionally for centuries. They have a receipt on the wall for a balsamic vinegar purchase from 812 A.D.!
We got to try a 12 year old, a 25 year old, and a 120 year old balsamic vinegar. Just a few drops from the spoon and you the difference between them. The older ones are more syrupy and sweet.
|120 year old balsamic - like drinking liquid gold|
|balsamic on home made vanilla ice cream - delicious!|
That's Mr. TC's hand and those aren't my feet.
They also served us nocino - an 80 proof walnut liqueur that they make on site. This stuff is sticky, thick, and delicate. I found my new favourite drink. If I could have I would have brought bottles of this stuff back home. But alas Mr. TC didn't want to lug bottles of liqueur through Tuscany and London. If anyone knows of where to buy this in Vancouver or the Pacific Northwest I will be thrilled.
The Acetaia is in a building next to the owners house. They live in this beautiful villa that was actually passed down from the owners grandfather. I don't believe he's ever had to work and when you see this house you see that they definitely aren't making balsamic because they need the money.
|entering their beautiful villa|
We hopped back in the minivan for lunch.
Next we went to a traditional Italian vineyard (cantina) Corte d'Aibo
|view of the vineyard during lunch|
|an organic farm. Made me think of my 4 year old who loves tractors.|
|I love my ham!|
|as if we didn't have enough cheese already|
The food was excellent and I didn't get a good shot of the pasta they served because I was too busy eating.
What this post doesn't show is me downing another two shot glasses full of nocino liqueur. God that stuff was so good if I hadn't already filled up on red wine (remember it's only 1pm) that I would have chugged back another few. I have to admit I was swaying a bit back to the car.
Last stop was at a factory where they make famous prosciutto. Everyone has heard of Prosciutto di Parma - well apparently to see the factory where they make that specific named product we'd have to go quite a ways away. So we went to a factory that makes Prosciutto di Modena - apparently same quality and price but just a different name.
By the way, vegetarians look away. Seriously.
Pigs must be at least 9 months old before they are used to make this ham.
|legs of pork are washed|
|then refrigerated to just freezing|
|then heavily salted and left to rest at |
2 degrees celsius for 8 weeks
|branded for approval|
The boss shows us how the ham is inspected before being stamped officially Prosciutto di Modena. They use a horse bone needle to check five places. They can tell if the needle comes out not smelling right that the product is no good. We got to try this out and, well, good thing it smelled like yummy prosciutto.
|quality control with a horse bone needle|
By the end of the tour we finally got to have some prosciutto. Yes it was definitely good but we were all so stuffed that there were actually leftover samples.
All right, we aren't done with food in Bologna yet! I've post Bologna - Part 3 soon.