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Overview

Emilia Romagna Cooking Vacation

Visiting a winery in Emilia Romagna during a culinary tour of ItalyThis trip is eligible for our Worry-Free Booking promotion. 

Head to this beautiful country estate with a 700-year old castle, ancient farming techniques, a Michelin-starred restaurant, and some of the most famous cured meats in the world. Featured on Top Chef season 17 (“All Stars”), it is a true paradise for foodies and cooks.

Parmigiano rounds aging in the cellar as seen on a culinary vacation in ItalyWhile Polesine Parmense is only 20 miles from the center of Parma, it feels like stepping into a whole new world, where small medieval towns of less than 1,500 inhabitants still thrive around the last Italian medieval castle near the Po River.

The gorgeous famous region is also home to peacocks, who stroll freely around the rolling northern Italian countryside, as well as ancient local breeds of farm animals, sprawling vegetable gardens, and orchards full of delicious fruits. History and ancient customs also continue to thrive here, from the traditional farming techniques to the famous Palace aging cellars built in 1320, where cheese—like Parmigiano Reggiano—and wine are still aged and stored. All of these tidbits of history can not only be seen but experienced in the fertile lands of Polesine Parmense.

Squash at the Antica Corte Pallavicina, home during your culinary tour of Emilia RomagnaYour home for your Emilia Romagna cooking vacation is a castle originally built nearly 700 years ago, the Antica Corte Pallavicina, which the noble Spigaroli family once lived and then bought back in 1990. Over the past 20-odd years, the family has returned the castle, including the frescos and cellar, to all of its splendor through restoration. Previously home to Maria Luigia the Duchess of Parma in 1700 and farmers and craftsmen in the 19th century, today the relais features six elegant guest bedrooms as well as a suite that spans two floors in the castle towers, providing a true home away from home.

Prosciutto and culatello at the Antica Corte Pallavicina, home during your culinary tour of Emilia RomagnaHeading the restaurant and farm is a man considered the King of Parma Hams, Massimo Spigaroli. Not just a chef, Massimo is an artisan who ages everything from his famous culatelli—a slowly cured boneless ham unlike any other salumi you’ve ever tasted—to parmigiano-reggiano in the restored 700-year-old cellar below Antica Corte Pallavicina. With more than 40 years of experience, Massimo offers a unique and memorable experience in European food traditions. He not only runs the Michelin-rated restaurant on the castle grounds, but is also responsible for the biodynamic farming practices.


Latest Review

We gave this trip 5 stars
Marianne & Darren
BC
We loved our Real Italian Countryside experience. The castle accommodations were very comfortable and spacious - both of our rooms had an additional sitting room. The staff were wonderful - so friendly and helpful. We were greeted with a welcome bottle of sparkling wine and a tasting of parmigiano reggiano. Our welcome dinner was at one of the two on-site restaurants, and was superb. The cooking class was held at their outdoor courtyard kitchen, which is a beautiful setting and perfect for the sunny day. The chef (who has worked in Michelin-star restaurants across Europe) was very knowledgeable and we were definitely impressed with his skill. Although part of the class was hands-on for those who wanted it to be, it was mostly the chef doing the work while we took notes. He didn't seem comfortable with English, so made use of the other staff member for interpretation. He could understand our questions in English though. We were given empty booklets to write in - it may have been better to provide recipes or at least lists of ingredients and amounts, as it was difficult to get everything written down. However, it was very enjoyable, the food and wine were amazing, and we loved being outside for the whole experience on such a beautiful day. We had 2 tours as part of our package. The first was a tour of the castle and culatello cellar, as well as the cheese production facility. The hotel concierge did this tour for us. It was so nice that it was just our group (4 people) - she took us in her car to the cheese facility and explained the entire process to us. She also showed us other areas owned by the castle/farm - the grapevines, the livestock, and of course the black pigs. On the castle tour, the culatello cellar was definitely a highlight. We learned how culatello is produced, why the conditions there are just right for proper curing, and the cost of it! During our stay at the castle we tasted culatello of different ages and had it in various dishes in the two restaurants. After learning about the process and the expense, we were even more appreciative of the opportunities we had to dine on culatello. The second tour was through an external company. We drove to Parma and met our guide Amalda. She had her own car and we followed her to our tour location, the Parma ham production facility. We stopped along the way for a view of the famous castle in the area. Amalda was a wonderful guide, so friendly and full of information. Again, this was a private tour for just the 4 of us, which really adds to the experience. We were amazed at the numerous processes involved in producing a Parma ham. As well, the facility was on a hilltop and there were incredible views of the countryside. From there, we went on to the winery for lunch. They kept bringing us wine and gourmet food selections which we thoroughly enjoyed. We had no idea what was on the menu - it was all pre-selected for us. Our guide left us at this point and we made our way back to the castle. I think the castle is new to this program, and there were a couple of issues and a bit of confusion - but as I said, the staff was wonderful and did their very best to ensure we enjoyed our stay. The food was amazing and the tours were private and filled with fascinating information. We took advantage of the bicycles the castle had available for us and rode along the Po river and various bike trails in the vicinity. A platter of fresh fruit was provided to us each day in our room - more than we could eat. We enjoyed exploring some of the small towns nearby and even did some outlet shopping one afternoon. The tour provided a good balance of free time vs. scheduled events. Overall, a fantastic experience and highly recommended!

Emilia Romagna Cooking Vacation Highlights

It may sound strange to organize a trip around ham, but when you are a foodie and when it is some of the most famous ham in the world, that is exactly what you do! Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the week will be the visit of the cellar where the prosciutto and famed culatello are cured, as well as the tasting of these amazing products. But you will also enjoy a hands-on cooking class and visit into the countryside for additional food tours and wine tastings.

Itinerary

Vineyard in Emilia Romagna.Day One

  • Arrival on own in the province of Parma, or transfer to the property (depending on which version of the itinerary you choose).
  • Check-in at Antica Corte Pallavicina, the only castle in Italy that survived the floods of the great Po river.
  • Welcome dinner at the famous one-star Michelin restaurant (drinks not included).
  • Overnight.

The most famous ham in the world: culatello!Day Two

  • Breakfast.
  • Visit the farm and discover the impressive medieval aging cellars where the greatest Italian ham “Culatello di Zibello” rests, one of the highlights of your Emilia Romagna cooking vacation!
  • Full-immersion cooking class all about the traditional pasta of the region, including famous Italian specialties agnolini, ravioli, tagliolini, tagliatelle, stringoni, and pasta rasa. Lunch to follow based on your efforts, paired with cured meats produced on the farm.
  • Afternoon on your own for a bike ride, relaxing, or individual visits.
  • Dinner on own.
  • Overnight.

Board of parmigiano cheese during your cooking vacation in ItalyDay Three

  • Breakfast.
  • Your Emilia Romagna food tour continues in the hilly area along the Parma Ham and Colli di Parma wine road, where you will observe the production of parmigiano-reggiano cheese in an authentic cheese dairy.
  • Visit a plant where the worldwide famous prosciutto di parma is produced.
  • Take some spectacular pictures of the medieval village of Torrechiara, which is dominated by its romantic castle.
  • Next stop is at a small, charming Colli di Parma winery where you will learn about local wines with a rich tasting of typical local products.
  • Afternoon free, providing time to visit the city center of Parma or ride bicycles around the countryside.
  • Dinner on own.
  • Overnight.

Day Four

  • Breakfast and check-out.

Emilia Romagna Cooking Vacations Trip Details

Included in the 3-Night Emilia Romagna Culinary Vacation

Accommodations

3 nights in double room at Antica Corte Pallavicina

Food & Beverages

  • Rich breakfasts include the products of the territory, including fresh eggs, milk, cakes and jams.
  • 1 lunch following cooking class
  • 1 tasting lunch at the vineyard
  • 1 dinner at the Michelin-star restaurant (drinks not included)

Classes & Instructors

Your cooking class will be taught by one of the chefs of the property’s famous restaurant. In the hands-on cooking class, you will learn how to make a variety of Italian pastas based on centuries-old traditions of the Emilia Romagna region. Roll ravioli by hand, and learn how to shape agnolini, tagliolini, tagliatelle, stringoni, and pasta rasa. A lunch will follow, which includes your pasta creations and a selection of Massimo’s famous cured meats.

Excursions

  • 1 guided tour of the farm.
  • 1 half-day gourmet tour with personal guide to see Parmigiano-Reggiano and prosciutto di Parma producers

Transfer Details

  • Prices with transportation include round-trip to Parma train station as well as transportation for the gourmet tour. Self-driving prices do not include transfers and require that you have your own vehicle.

Accommodation Information

The Antica Corte Pallavicina has been lovingly restored by the Spigaroli family to highlight the 16th century origins alongside modern amenities. The six elegant bedrooms have coffered ceilings as well as modern furniture and period furnishings. Every room offers a beautiful view of the rolling pastures of Emilia-Romagna, as well as a working fireplace and full size bath.

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Emilia Romagna Cooking Vacation Pricing & Tour Dates

Find pricing and dates for our Emilia Romagna cooking vacation at the Antica Corte Pallavicina below, and contact us for availability or to book your trip.



Pricing:

3-Night Emilia Romagna Cooking Vacation Pricing

US$1590 per person based on double occupancy

    30% deposit due to confirm booking.

    This trip is eligible for our “Worry-Free Booking” promotion*, which means your deposit is refundable minus a $200 per person penalty up to 60 days prior to the trip start date. 

    Balance payment due 60 days prior to tour start date. Questions? Please contact us!

    The purchase of travel insurance is strongly encouraged, even if the package you are purchasing is Worry Free Booking eligible.

    *See our terms & conditions for details and exclusions.

    Interested in this itinerary as a self-drive option with a rental car? Please inquire for pricing.

    Please inquire for single occupancy pricing.


    Emilia Romagna Cooking Vacations Tour Dates

    Our Emilia Romagna cooking vacation at the Antica Corte Pallavicina is available year round for a minimum of 2 people. Sample dates follow, but other start dates might be possible, please inquire.
    Closed January 7-24.

    2022
    Sample dates:
    September 4-7
    September 11-14
    September 18-21
    September 25-28
    October 2-5
    October 9-12
    October 16-19
    October 23-26
    October 30-November 2
    November 6-9
    November 13-16
    November 20-23

    2023
    Please inquire for dates.

    Reviews

    We gave this trip 5 stars
    Marianne & Darren
    BC
    We loved our Real Italian Countryside experience. The castle accommodations were very comfortable and spacious - both of our rooms had an additional sitting room. The staff were wonderful - so friendly and helpful. We were greeted with a welcome bottle of sparkling wine and a tasting of parmigiano reggiano. Our welcome dinner was at one of the two on-site restaurants, and was superb. The cooking class was held at their outdoor courtyard kitchen, which is a beautiful setting and perfect for the sunny day. The chef (who has worked in Michelin-star restaurants across Europe) was very knowledgeable and we were definitely impressed with his skill. Although part of the class was hands-on for those who wanted it to be, it was mostly the chef doing the work while we took notes. He didn't seem comfortable with English, so made use of the other staff member for interpretation. He could understand our questions in English though. We were given empty booklets to write in - it may have been better to provide recipes or at least lists of ingredients and amounts, as it was difficult to get everything written down. However, it was very enjoyable, the food and wine were amazing, and we loved being outside for the whole experience on such a beautiful day. We had 2 tours as part of our package. The first was a tour of the castle and culatello cellar, as well as the cheese production facility. The hotel concierge did this tour for us. It was so nice that it was just our group (4 people) - she took us in her car to the cheese facility and explained the entire process to us. She also showed us other areas owned by the castle/farm - the grapevines, the livestock, and of course the black pigs. On the castle tour, the culatello cellar was definitely a highlight. We learned how culatello is produced, why the conditions there are just right for proper curing, and the cost of it! During our stay at the castle we tasted culatello of different ages and had it in various dishes in the two restaurants. After learning about the process and the expense, we were even more appreciative of the opportunities we had to dine on culatello. The second tour was through an external company. We drove to Parma and met our guide Amalda. She had her own car and we followed her to our tour location, the Parma ham production facility. We stopped along the way for a view of the famous castle in the area. Amalda was a wonderful guide, so friendly and full of information. Again, this was a private tour for just the 4 of us, which really adds to the experience. We were amazed at the numerous processes involved in producing a Parma ham. As well, the facility was on a hilltop and there were incredible views of the countryside. From there, we went on to the winery for lunch. They kept bringing us wine and gourmet food selections which we thoroughly enjoyed. We had no idea what was on the menu - it was all pre-selected for us. Our guide left us at this point and we made our way back to the castle. I think the castle is new to this program, and there were a couple of issues and a bit of confusion - but as I said, the staff was wonderful and did their very best to ensure we enjoyed our stay. The food was amazing and the tours were private and filled with fascinating information. We took advantage of the bicycles the castle had available for us and rode along the Po river and various bike trails in the vicinity. A platter of fresh fruit was provided to us each day in our room - more than we could eat. We enjoyed exploring some of the small towns nearby and even did some outlet shopping one afternoon. The tour provided a good balance of free time vs. scheduled events. Overall, a fantastic experience and highly recommended!

    We Can Help Plan The Best Food and Wine Tours in Emilia Romagna

    Cooking during an Emilia Romagna cooking vacation with The International Kitchen.

    Explore the flavors of the real Italian countryside on our Emilia Romagna cooking vacations!

    Our cooking classes and food tours in Emilia Romagna will afford you the opportunity to take full advantage of the region’s ancient culinary traditions. And remember, we can design an Emilia Romagna cooking vacaction custom built for you and your tastes.

    Contact us for more information, or you can indicate your interest during check out and we will follow up directly! Contact Us
     

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