Guest writer: Thom George, my awesome husband
When Melinda and I were planning our trip to Florence, Italy, my college buddy, Sam K., told me that he would be there during the same time. He was combining a little bit of work with the wedding of his son. We discussed getting together during our time in Florence. Shortly after arriving from Paris, Sam called and asked if we’d like to take a drive with him to visit a prosciutto di parma producer in Parma, Italy. Sam works in the food industry and this supplier was one of his customers. Melinda had work to do (and is a vegetarian) so she stayed back at the apartment in the Oltrarno and I went off to Parma with Sam, his son and his friend, the New York Cheese Chick (she does private cheese tastings in Florence!)
A pleasant two and a half hour drive through the Tuscan countryside brought us to the Tanara Giancarlo SPA production facility where we were met by the owner. Before giving us a tour of the production facility, he took us to a local restaurant and treated us to a delicious lunch that started off with a board of cheeses and yes, prosciutto. The main course was a selection of handmade ravioli stuffed with ricotta, pumpkin, and bitter greens (my favorite); homemade fruit pie and espresso finished off the meal.
Upon returning to the facility, we all donned lab jackets, hair nets and shoe covers before entering the production area. The next 45 minutes was a tour, complete from the receiving and approving of the hog legs through the multiple stages of salting the meat, washing it, aging it, deboning the leg, and finally packaging and shipping the product around the world. In total, we covered 4 floors on the production facility where they process 108,000 hog legs per year.
Finding a tour: Thom went on a private tour that isn’t available to the public-it’s all about who you know! However, you can find similar experiences on Viator depending on where you are staying. These type of immersive food experiences will make for a lasting memory of your trip to Italy. Enjoy the journey!