academia barilla  September 2008

A Gastronomic VIP Tour to Emilia-Romagna: Part 3 Artisan Producers, a Medieval Castle and the Ferrari Museum

Day three of the Academia Barilla VIP gastronomy tour to Emilia-Romagna, Parma [...]

Day three of the Academia Barilla VIP gastronomy tour to Emilia-Romagna, Parma and the Italian Food Valley, organized and guided by Chicago’s Academia Barilla Culinary School Alumni Frank DiMaria, is gourmet day, and of course we continue our virtual discovery of the Italian Food Valley, and we take you to the places of the gastronomy tour to show you around.


As from the VIP gastronomy tour program, the first highlight of day three is the visit to a local Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese artisanal producer right outside Parma. Here is a note by Frank DiMaria about the guided visit:

Visiting a “Caseificio” is like going back in time. Parmigiano-Reggiano actually has very old origins and today, like 8 centuries ago, Parmigiano-Reggiano is still made following the same traditional and genuine method. The “King of the cheeses” is made from the best milk, from the fire, and from the ability of the “cheese masters” experienced hands..


Next stop of the gastronomy tour will be a guided visit to Prosciutto di Parma producer, another unmissable Parma food culture discovery for Italian food lovers!


Along the way, there will be a “pictures time” at the romantic Castle of Torrechiara, one of the most spectacular Medieval castles as well as the one with the greatest number of visitors in the province of Parma, that houses musical events in summer.





Lunchtime in the Parma countryside, how good is that?

parma-countryside-wineryAfter the food producers Frank DiMaria will lead the tour guests to a local Parma winery and wine cellar, remember to “taste” responsibly, or you won’t make it through the rest of the day!

After the visit to the wine cellar the group will proceed for lunch to a nearby Casale (countryside mansion), that includes a rich tasting session with typical local food products as antipasto.


galleria-ferrari-museumImmediately after lunch the gastronomy tour will leave the Parma area to enter the province of Modena for the visit to the Ferrari Museum. The Galleria Ferrari is divided into four areas, each capable of satisfying the expectations of competition fans and those passionate about classic cars with Formula 1 and Ferrari memorabilia, themed exhibitions, technological innovations and photographic shows.


While in the Modena area, the gastronomic tour couldn’t have missed the visit to an authentic Acetaia of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.

We visited a couple of acetaias for you at the beginning of last year and you can find several info, pictures and videos on our blog on the history of Balsamic, its aging process and traditions in balsamic vinegar making. We also published a blog post with plenty of pictures from the Acetaia, enjoy!


Of course the in-person, guided experience is more intense than reading a blog post, and Frank DiMaria will help you discover first hand all the century-old secrets of the production, aging and tasting of the Modena elisir.

A note from Frank about the Traditional Balsamic of Modena’s production process:

When time means preciousness! This is a real Jewel for all gourmets; unique from all other vinegar based condiments because it is produced directly from grape juice.

Traditionally, white and sugary grapes are used, locally harvested. The grapes are crushed and the “must” is then slowly boiled in open vats over fire. The liquid is then placed in wooden barrels and through an oxidation process over several years it is transformed into vinegar.

It has fluid and syrup like consistency, offers full and rich flavour and a distinct sharp and unmistakable but pleasantly acid fragrance with a dark brown color, yet full of warm light.



Wow, such an intense gourmet day, and it is not over yet! After discovering the secrets of Balsamic Vinegar, Frank DiMaria will take the VIP tour guest for dinner at one of the best gourmet restaurant of the area, famous for the use of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar in culinary creations.

Tour program details may be subject to variations – see the program and tour details on our blog but please verify directly with Frank DiMaria for latest news and updates on this Academia Barilla VIP gastronomy tour.

You can reach Frank by calling +1 847 965-0672 or +1 847 417-7587, or emailing him at

Next blog post for this Academia Barilla VIP gastronomy virtual tour: let’s visit Bologna, the capital of Emilia-Romagna!

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