The story of our trip to Modena starts with its eno-gastronomic specialties, those that with their flavors actually "speak for themselves" and tell a story of research, tradition and care that has made us famous all over the world.
Taking advantage of the last weekend of October when you could still travel, we organized a real journey into taste, to discover the behind the scenes of three truly unique products: Parmigiano Reggiano, Balsamic Vinegar and Lambrusco.
Parmigiano Reggiano is the most copied Italian cheese in the world. Its production is limited to the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna and is subject to a strict disciplinary which allows it to obtain the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) mark.
To discover it, we took part in a guided tour of the dairy Hombre, born from the idea of entrepreneur Umberto Panini (yes, he himself, the one of the stickers!) who stands out for his closed supply chain and attention to the herd. Here, in addition to the classic red spotted and Friesian, we also find some examples of the beautiful white Modenese.
The visit starts in the early morning from the dairy, where it is possible to observe the cheesemakers (in this case, husband and wife) at work with the large cheeses: they weigh about 50kg and most of the work is still carried out with mastery by hand. Precisely for this reason it was decided to call the dairy Hombre (man): man still remains a key point in the production of this cheese.
We moved on to visit the seasoning warehouse, where the wheels rest to reach the desired seasoning: 12, over 20 or over 30 months. The scent of Parmesan was floating in the air and we also had the chance to have a delicious tasting. The forms are constantly monitored and subjected to rigorous controls, to make sure that the ripening is perfect.
The visit ended with Mr. Panini's collection of cars and motorcycles, where a significant number of Maseratis stand out, absolutely unmissable for all motor lovers.
Balsamic Vinegar is a real art. We visited three different producers, where we learned to know and appreciate this product defined by some as "black gold".
We started from Acetaia del Duca which invited us to take part in the interesting visit guided to their historic vinegar factory.
Here we discovered the differences between Balsamic Vinegar PDO and PGI (Protected Geographical Indication). The first is made exclusively with cooked grape must from the province of Modena, the second also allows the addition of wine vinegar. Furthermore, the PDO has a greater aging and is obtained by practicing a series of decanting and tamping in a battery of at least 5 barrels, of different sizes.
We decided to visit also the Acetaia Giusti museum, the oldest and the only to obtain in 1929 from the king of Italy the “Suppliers of the Royal House of Savoy” emblem, which still appears on their labels today. The museum can be visited by participating in a guided tour or on your own, and then taking part in the tasting. The museum is also very interesting to visit alone, as is the vinegar factory with the most historic barrels.
Finally, we made a short detour to the beautiful village of Castelvetro di Modena to shop at the Acetaia la Vecchia Dispensa. We have known and appreciated their products for a long time and we buy them through their website. Also in this case, it is possible to visit a small museum by reservation.
We leave you with a historical curiosity: Balsamic Vinegar is traditionally linked to family and births. In fact, once upon a time, a battery of barrels was filled with must at the birth of the child, to then become the dowry at the time of his wedding.
Sparkling and joyful: Lambrusco is considered the Italian sparkling red wine par excellence and also the best-selling in Italy. It comes from a family of vines widespread in the Emilian countryside, mainly Sorbara and Salamino, from whose grapes a wine of popular origin is born, now skilfully treated to produce innovative variations.
To welcome us in the visit of the winery VentiVenti we found Andrea, who leads the company together to his brothers and his father Vittorio.
The winery was founded in 2013 and chose the name VentiVenti because this year it began marketing its wines, characterized by attention to the territory and the enhancement of local vines. Around the winery, you will be able to appreciate the native vines among which Lambruschi, Sorbara, Salamino and Pignoletto stand out.
Andrea accompanied us on a truly unmissable tasting of their wines, all created with truly superlative attention and research. The wine that intrigued us most was the VentiVenti Rosé Metodo Classico Lambrusco di Modena DOC (10 months on the lees). Its scent, taste on the palate and soft pink color absolutely won us over! During the tasting we enjoyed many other wines offered by them, including Lambrusco Metodo Classico and Pignoletto Metodo Classico. Wines that despite the young age of this winery already have a really pleasant defined character.
The VentiVenti winery will have at the end of this year a splendid area dedicated to tastings and the purchase of their wines. We will keep you posted!
Before you trip
- Do I need to book anything in advance? SYes, you must always book the guided tour, apart from Acetaia Giusti, which has a museum that you can visit independently
- How to buy their products? For Parmigiano Reggiano and Balsamic Vinegar, all the producers we mentioned have an on-site shop and an online shop. Given the recent constitution, Ventiventi winery does not have a shop or online shop yet. If we have intrigued you, you can contact them for your order using the email [email protected]