For Matt's birthday I have been surprising him with some adventures while we are living in Europe. For the kick off I took him on a hot air ballon ride over southern Spain (ADD LINK) and this weekend while we were in Bologna, Italy I took him on a food tour around Northern Italy.
We started our day learning all about DOP certified food and saw the Parmigiano-Reggiano (ADD LINK) process.
After a very filling breakfast of cheese, coffee, fruit and pastries we headed to a small vineyard that is apart of the region's history with balsamic vinegar, Acetaia, a family owned farmhouse that makes Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena D.O.P.
We were lucky enough to try many different varieties of the Balsamic Dressing made on the farm, including Traditional Balsamic Dressing of Moderna D.O.P. aged 15 and 25 years. The 25 year old one was heavenly and I wanted to buy it so badly but it costs around $220 for a 3 oz bottle of it.
We also tried Balsamic Jelly with freshly made Ricotta....
...and the strange combination (or so I thought) of gelato and Balsamic Vinegar. I enjoyed the 25 year old vingear on it and it is now my new favorite dessert, if I can afford it.
From the Acetaia we headed to a prosciutto factory where we learned again all about the specific DOP regulated process that goes into sourcing, curing and caring for the ham.
After much discussion we got down to eating. They prepared a huge table full of their different types of cured ham to try. As we were eating the meats they continued to keep slicing more. It was pure heaven.
You would think after all of that food over the course of 3 tours we would be done for the day, but nope, that was not the case. At the end of the tour they took us to a traditional countryside Trattoria which served us organic wine and 3 more courses full of more amazing food.
Needless to say we arrived home around 5pm and immediately took a nap. It was probably the most delicious food coma I have ever subjected myself to.
I can't recommend this tour enough. The owner who runs the tour, Alessandro, makes the whole day so incredibly interesting and fun. Not to mention that any question you throw out at him he has an answer to. The tour itself had only about 20 people on it and you never feel as if you are missing out on anything because the group is large, and they also chauffeured us from one spot to the next in small vans so it felt more intimate.
Visit their website for more info and to book the tour.