This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to the Emilia-Romagna region for work. It was hosted by Whole Journeys and led by Whole Foods Market's global cheese buyer, Cathy Strange.
My top 3 for this trip were:
- Traveling with Cathy Strange - She is Whole Foods Market's global cheese buyer and knows EVERYTHING about cheese. Not just about the taste and flavor, but the people behind the scenes, who makes it, where it comes from, the terreur, the cows....like I said, everything. I would nickname her the cheese queen.
- Learning how Parmesano Reggiano is made - Did you know that all our parmesano reggiano in our Whole Foods Market stores have to be aged for 24 months? It's a crazy cool process and my favorite part was learning how the cheese has different taste profiles. A few wheels could be processed at the same time, but where the milk comes from effects the taste of the cheese - from sweet to spicy. We were able to taste test 5 different wheels of parmesano reggiano, which were aged at the same time, but the milk from different farms, and each wheel had a different flavor!
- Getting to wear a bee suit and visit a bee farm - I know I could do this in the US, but how cool is it to do it in Italy? For me - super cool. :) In addition, it was my first time trying honey fresh from a honeycomb and learned how parmesano reggiano makes a great pairing with cheese! You should try it next time!
Day 1: Parma, Bologna
Day 2: Prosciutto
Day 3: Modena - Balsamico Traditionale
Day 4: Parmesano Reggiano
*Unfortunately, I couldn't bring my camera into the parmesano reggiano production facility, so these photos were with my iPhone 5c.