Farm to Table in Emilia Romagna; Cooking Vacations in Italy
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Farm to Table in Emilia Romagna - NEW
Lesignano Bagni (Parma)

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Emilia Romagna is famous around the world for its parmigiano reggiano, mouthwatering cured meats, and sparkling Lambrusco wines. Within the region is the lively city of Parma, which is decorated with the beautiful art and architecture of Correggio and Antelami as well as wonderful opera and theatre performances. Travel just 20 km from Parma and you will come to a 5 hectare family run organic farm that embodies the locals' culinary passion as well as a testament to agriculture preservation.

Your hosts, Valentina and Alessandro, started their organic farm Podere Cristina in 2012 to escape the day-to-day demands of the modern world and to raise their young son in a healthier, nature-filled environment. Today, they grow a variety of vegetables and fruit, including strawberries, blackberries, pears, and plums, which they sell as well as make into jams. The farm is also home to Romagnola hens, an ancient breed of the region, which produce delicate eggs ideal for custards and creams. This family-run farm is the perfect oasis for health conscious travelers looking to embrace organic farm-to-table practices and enjoy a relaxing getaway with breathtaking views from the farm’s veranda.

Valentina with the chickens on her Emilia Romagna farmThe farm is located in the Barboj Natural Park, home to several organic farms specializing in growing traditional foods of the region. During your free time, take advantage of the hiking and horseback riding trails to explore the beauty and untouched quality of the park. If you are interested in horseback riding, Valentina has a small stable on their property with Bardigiano horses, a native breed to the area, perfect for beginner lessons or to take in the beautiful landscape (additional cost for horseback rides). Within the park, there is also a unique area with small mud volcanoes that are caused by methane gas surfacing. According to folktales of the region, through the gas bubbles, the earth whispers stories and legends to those who visit. Historically, locals used to believe the mud could be used to cure rheumatism and arthritis. Today, the small mud volcanoes are another site to see in the beautiful Barboj Natural Park.

About the cookery classes: Valentina and Chef Ivano lead the hands-on cooking classes in their well-equipped kitchen featuring ingredients grown on the property. Classes focus around making traditional Emilian recipes or pasta using eggs straight from the henhouse. Valentina is very passionate about teaching guests about traditional dishes of the region and how the ingredients can easily be locally grown to best capture the unique flavors of the area. On the weekends, their small restaurant opens up to the locals, who share in the enthusiasm and pride of their gastronomic accomplishments.

Farm to Table in Emilia Romagna - NEW Itinerary

Day 1

Order of activities may change depending on season and availability.

  • Transfer from Parma train station to your accommodations located within steps of Podere Cristina’s B&B.
  • Check in and take your time to explore the property and farm. The veranda provides a great place to view the surrounding Barboj Natural Park.
  • A welcome dinner will be served in the dining room.
  • Overnight.

Day 2

  • Breakfast.
  • In the morning visit a family-run organic farm known for their parmigiano reggiano cheese. Following practices that have been passed down for generations, Umberto and his son David raise their own cows, feed them only organic feed and vegetables, milk them themselves, and then make the cheese by hand. It is unusual in today’s world for cheese producers to raise the milk cows themselves, not to mention the organic feed for the cows. The cheese then ages for 2 years before it is sold only locally. Umberto’s father, Rino, started their family farm in 1950, and since 1987, Umberto has worked on perfecting their famous organic parmigiano reggiano cheese.
  • Enjoy a sampling of their cheeses for lunch with local wine.
  • Return to the farmhouse for your first cooking lesson with Valentina focused on traditional recipes from the region.
  • In the evening, dinner will be served in the dining room.
  • Overnight.

Day 3

  • Breakfast.
  • Visit a nearby black pig farm to learn about the famous traditional process of salting and curing meat that has been passed down for generations.
  • Enjoy a sampling of locally cured meat for lunch with local wine.
  • After the visit, return to the farmhouse for your second hands-on cooking lesson. Valentina will start by taking you to collect eggs from the henhouse to make homemade pasta.
  • In the evening, dinner will be served in the dining room.
  • Overnight.

Day 4

  • Breakfast.
  • Visit a nearby organic winery with over 20 hectares of vineyard and taste some of their wine.
  • Return to the farmhouse for lunch followed by a return transfer to Parma train station.