Festivals: Festival del Prosciutto di Parma

by jenjenk on September 14, 2011

Prosciutto Festival, Parma ItalyThe last time I was in Italy was in September 2007.  4 years have gone by along with my realization and revelation that the most joyful and fulfilling trips I’ve had surrounded and involved food.  It was in Italy that I found the glee and joy of discovering an entire country solely based on the food that it provided.

After some online research, we discovered that we would there in time for the Festival del Prosciutto di Parma.  Since I had already scheduled a tour of the Parmagiano Reggiano Cheese factory and a Balsamic Vinegar tour we thought that the Parma Ham tour would be the perfect complement.

The festival was in its 10th year when we attended last. When we got there, we weren’t really sure where to park but some very helpful [and adorable!] Italian boys lead us to an area that said, “no public parking” and told us we’d be safe there.  There’s no logical reason why we should have trusted them, but they had this total Laissez-Faire attitude that convinced us that we would, in fact, be all right.  Thankfully, our car was still there [ticket free] when we got back to it.

As we walked through the festival, it seemed a bit disorganized but I just blamed the lack of my own comprehension of Italian.  Sometimes, you just have to muddle your way through – sign language, one word of Italian paired with 50 words of English and somehow you get along!  People took very kindly to us, the dumb American Tourists.  We managed to figure out the schedule and get on a bus to the factory to participate in the tour.

Parma Ham, Parma, ItalyI know I should’ve known better but my arrogance just lead me to believe that the tour would be conducted in English – I mean, surely we couldn’t be the ONLY people who were English speakers.  It turned out that we were the only English speakers on the tour.  Once our guide/son of the factory owner figured out that we didn’t understand above a basic level, he ran up to get his girlfriend who repeated the entire tour for us in English, answering any basic question that we had about the curing process. [and answering our very important questions of how they met, how long they were dating for…you know the whole drill].  By the official end of our tour, we had gorged ourselves on the Parma Ham samples and a wealth of knowledge about the production process.

Parma, Italy Festival Prosciutto di ParmaIf you are in the Parma area this weekend, I suggest you take a trip out to Langhirano for the festival and to jump on a tour!

14th Annual Festival del Prosciutto di Parma, September 9 – 18, 2011

Check out the program for the Festival del Prosciutto di Parma
You may want to start at the museum
Then work your way to the Open door Factory Tour
  For all you planners out there, consult the bus schedules to the Factor Tour 
 
In order to get a better understanding of Emilia Romagna region’s symbiotic existence, I suggest you also schedule a Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Factory Tour. They have an in-depth explanation on how the cheese depends on the quality of milk from the cows, the cows depends on the quality of the grass, and the pigs depend on the quality of the whey from the cheese [which is why, I’m told, Parma ham is the best in the world]. 
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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Annette | Bucket List Journey September 14, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Now that’s a festival right up my alley! Paired with the Parm factory tour, sounds life perfection!

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Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista September 14, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Yum this sounds like a great trip – Parmigiano Reggiano, Balsamic vinegar and Parma! Sounds heavenly to me.

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David @ MalaysiaAsia September 14, 2011 at 7:23 pm

I love festivals in general and visiting one in Europe would be on top of my list. I was lucky to witness the 1st day of Summer in Toulouse this June and it was madness!

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Michael Figueiredo September 14, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Now that sounds like my kind of festival. Yum!!

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Christy @ Technosyncratic September 15, 2011 at 10:16 am

I am a SUCKER for festivals. Booths? I’m there. Crafts? Yep! Delicious food under tents? HELL YES.

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Sophie September 15, 2011 at 2:13 pm

A prosciutto festival – how great is that! I think Italians must be world champs at festivals – there seems to be one for absolutely everything. And they’re such fun!

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Laurel September 15, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Never heard of a prosciutto festival, but I would be so there. I can’t believe that you were the only English speakers there, but how sweet that they got someone to give you the English tour.

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Andrea September 15, 2011 at 6:16 pm

What an awesome (and very specific) festival! I love prosciutto and it would be great to try different kinds and compare them all.

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Grace September 15, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Jealous, you were actually at Parma tasting real prosciutto. That is foodie heaven indeed.

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Emme Rogers September 18, 2011 at 4:09 am

Oh yum!

I have had temptations from every which way for an Italian holiday, and now with these cravings added in to boot.

I still dream about the cheese from my last visit to France, very close to the Italian border. And feel like an absolute Goddess, whenever I adorn myself in the Italian fabrics that I bought on that trip. The Italians certainly have a good handle on the more scrumptious side of life.

~ Emme

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