I’m excited to share news of our latest tour – a culinary holiday in Parma, Italy! I’ve been working on this for months now and after, Eric, Remi, and I got to have a taste of what would be included in this new addition, this past April, the real work began of sorting out the how and when to present it all.
We had the pleasure of visiting Parma (and Bologna). I got to meet with my new partners and sample the activities that I’ll be offering on this tour. I had actually first been in contact with Nicoletta earlier this year in Madrid when she requested that I book a meeting with her during the FITUR. I must say, it was an amazing experience!
The tour – like our Weeks in Seville, Paris, & Uzes, is all about combining cooking, exploring, and tasting for a fabulously delicious cultural experience. It’s perfect for anyone who loves food travel and who wants to discover the secrets behind the culinary delights of Italy.
These tours aren’t meant to make you a professional cook but they will certainly improve your skills and allow you to live your passion for good, seasonal food. It will, in my opinion, change the way you approach eating in general. Or, at the very least have you appreciate what goes into preparing some of your favorite Italian recipes. When you bring together experts who are eager to share their knowledge with you, beautiful things happen.
Let’s Eat Parma will start in June of 2024, but I wanted to share with you the highlights of what we did during our mini-condensed tour.
Parma Culinary Tour Highlights
We arrived in Bologna and spent a night there before taking the train to Parma. The next day, we checked into the Hotel Mercure Stendhal, located in the heart of the city. It’s a beautiful 4-star hotel, and we were impressed by the friendly staff and comfortable accommodations. This location will be one of the two accommodations where you will be staying during the Let’s Eat Parma tour.
Our first culinary experience was a welcome dinner at Ristorante Il Trovatore, offered to us by our partners at Parma Incoming. We were delighted to meet Nicoletta and Serena, who hosted us for the evening. The food was fantastic, and we knew we were in for a treat for the rest of our stay.
The next day, post a delicious fresh-made pizza at a local pizzeria, I let the boys enjoy the afternoon together tra i ragazzi (between the guys) to head off to check out some possible locations for hosting our group. It was a fast-paced afternoon chatting with the various owners of three accommodations and the site for one of the cooking lessons you will enjoy on this tour. It really was a hard decision to narrow things down but it would be impossible to pack everything and every location in. Each had its charm and everyone was so gracious. But I think we’ve made the right decision and it will help with the flow of the tour.
In the evening, we had the pleasure of meeting Ilaria Bertillini for a hands-on cooking lesson on fresh-made Italian Tortelli di Erbetta. To our grand surprise, the version we made used gluten-free flour – in fact, our whole meal was gluten-free! We were most impressed and didn’t hesitate to ask for seconds (some of us even had thirds). Ilaria tells us that she would have no problem accommodating those who have gluten intolerances on this tour. Wonderful, no? It was great to see how passionate Ilaria is about food and sharing her knowledge with others.
The next day was quite an early start but it was well worth it to see how the world-famous Parmigiano Reggiano cheese DPO is prepared daily. Of course, a tasting was involved before we moved on to learn about Parma Ham DPO (prosciutto de Parma, culatello, and salami. More tasting before heading to Modena to learn that I had never before had real balsamic vinegar 😬. Traditional Balsamic Vinegar DPO is only made in Modena and as the owner and our guide informed us, you do it out of passion not out of a desire for financial gain. Because balsamic vinegar is a labor of love. I don’t want to spoil too many of the tidbits we learned about the how and whys – we’ll save that for the tour, but I can tell you this much, it was a fascinating look into Italian tradition through its gastronomy. This was one amazing day. We ended it on full bellies, with big smiles, and a greater desire to bring this tour to life.
During our mini trip, we had time to explore Parma and Bologna on our own. Bologna won’t be part of the final tour but I highly recommend adding it to your holiday either at the start or at the end. We took an amazing foodie walking tour with Taste Bologna which ended as any Italian food tour should, with gelato.
I think the tour (the final one), will be nicely paced giving you some free time as well as plenty to taste and learn. I certainly hope I have piqued your interest and that you are ready to clear your busy calendars so you can join Let’s Eat The World for a Let’s Eat Parma food and wine lovers holiday in Emilia Romagna, Italy. See you in June 2024!