An ideal “road of taste” that runs throughout the province of Parma, an itinerary with many delicious stops to learn about the history of excellent food and wine products that have made Parma the capital of the Italian Food Valley.
Guardians and witnesses of the history of some of the most representative local products, the Food Museums of Parma are scattered throughout the territory, creating an itinerary that in one or more days allows you to visit all the museums. The Food Museums have reopened their doors to the public (after winter closure) Saturday March 2 with a full calendar of events and workshops dedicated to children.
Our itinerary starts from the Fidenza Salsomaggiore Terme motorway exit from which we head towards the Bassa Parmense, a flat strip of land washed by the waters of the river Po, where two museums, dedicated to two very important products, are located: Parmigiano Reggiano and Culatello di Zibello.
The Parmigiano Reggiano Museum is located in Soragna, a town called the “Signora della Bassa” and dominated by the wonderful Rocca Meli Lupi. In the shadow of the Rocca, the Parmigiano Reggiano Museum is housed in a nineteenth-century farm, the Corte Castellazzi. Inside the old circular dairy, over 120 objects exposed tell the story of the king of cheeses through the evolution of processing techniques but also the stages of its seasoning and marketing. There where Parmigiano Reggiano has been produced for centuries today we find a place that celebrates it, where adults and children can discover its greatness.
Crossing the Bassa Parmense we arrive at Polesine Zibello where the fog that rises from the banks of the Po invades the villages and has contributed for centuries to the birth of the noblest of the cured meats of the Parma area: the Culatello di Zibello. Here, inside the Antica Corte Pallavicina, a starred restaurant and farm, there is the Museum dedicated to the Culatello di Zibello and the history of its production, from the figure of the pig to that of the masalén (the norcini masters of the Bassa), from the production techniques to quotations. Do not miss a passage in the gallery where the Culatelli mature: a path where you can let yourself be inebriated by their unmistakable scent.
To continue our journey we must move from the Bassa Parmense and reach the area south of Parma. At about 10 km from Parma we find the town of Collecchio which houses two Food Museums: the Pasta Museum and the Tomato Museum.
Both museums are kept inside the Corte di Giarola, an ancient Benedictine monastery on the banks of the Taro river. From the grain of wheat to grinding, from domestic production to the industrial one that has found its maximum expression in Parma with the presence of the Barilla company: the Pasta Museum is an interesting journey dedicated to the queen of Italian cuisine and the history of its industry and its production.
Pasta and tomato are a winning combination in the kitchen. And at the Corte di Giarola di Collecchio there is also the Tomato Museum, the red gold of Parma. Already from the middle of the nineteenth century the tomato found space for the birth of the processing industry: the museum is a journey through the history of this product that came from afar and soon entered the tradition of Italian cuisine.
A few km from Collecchio, Sala Baganza houses another food museum, the Wine Museum, kept inside the cool cellars of the Rocca di Sala Baganza. The Wine Museum or Wine Cellar of the Food Museums is divided into six different sections that make up an exhibition and sensorial itinerary dedicated to the wines of the Parma hills. The world of wine in Parma is a world of simple, genuine wines, a world of bubbles, culture and rural wisdom. A world to taste and discover, combining one of our wines with our excellent products.
Our journey through the Food Museums continues: from Sala Baganza we move a few kilometers and arrive at Felino, home of the homonymous Salame Felino. Right here, inside the ancient cellars of the Castle, the Salame Museum is located. The path takes us through the history and origins of a delicious salami, a symbol of a country and of a butchery art that has gone from a domestic to an industrialist production preserving quality and excellence requirements. From Salame Felino, prince of cured meats, we move on to another internationally renowned cured meat: Prosciutto di Parma.
To visit the museum dedicated to him from Felino we move to Langhirano, the heart of the Prosciutto di Parma production area, where the sea wind caresses the hills and contributes to the birth of Prosciutto, as fog does with Culatello. Within the former Foro Boario, a rural construction of the ‘900, there are eight sections of the Prosciutto di Parma Museum that exhibit historical and photographic materials, machinery and various projections dedicated to Prosciutto di Parma and its history.
Our itinerary among the Food Museums, for now, ends here but by 2020 a new and delicious stop is planned to visit: in fact, by 2020 a new food museum, the Fungo di Borgotaro Museum, is expected to open and will be located in Borgo Val di Taro, pearl of the Parma Apennines and home of the famous and tasty mushroom.
We end our itinerary with some useful tips for visiting the Food Museums: the Food Museums are open every weekend starting from March and until December, during the rest of the year they are available for visits and activities for groups and schools on reservation.
Who wish to visit all the Food Museums can buy the Musei del Cibo Card, which entitles to enter all the museums at a cost of € 15, at the Tourist Information Office of Parma or at the ticket offices of the museums. Not to forget the many workshops for children and the events scheduled at the Food Museums: moments of knowledge, sharing and tasting of products that have made Parma the capital of the Italian Food Valley and Creative City for UNESCO Gastronomy.