Our first morning at Cancabaia we awoke to damn cow moaning at 5:38am. One of the dogs chimed in and howled along, which I have to admit was kinda cute because the cow already woke me up anyway. I managed to fall back to sleep and we when finally got up there was a wonderful breakfast waiting for us. It included Parmesan cheese (young and old) from their farm, breads, jams, fresh milk, fresh yogurt, Parma ham – they treated us so well!
After filling our bellies (maybe too much) we headed off to a day of touring. First stop: La Perla, a Prosciutto producer. Our lovely tour guide, who I am convinced was 12 years old, lead us through the entire process from salting, to freezing to less freezing to less freezing – basically it goes through a bunch of rooms gradually cooling to a regular temperature. In the end they stick a horse bone into five important spots on the leg to determine if its good. If all goes well the leg gets stamped Prosciutto di Parma, or Parma Ham, otherwise it becomes regular old Prosciutto (or if its actually bad they burn it).
When we finished up the tour they fed us several different delicious hams and Prosciuttos. Then they brought out Steve’s new favorite drink – a white horn infused liquor. White horn is a local tree in their backyard that grows berries, which they infuse with alcohol. He seriously wanted to take the bottle home. (La Perla pictures)
Next, a balsamic vinegar maker: Acetaia Medici. Yes, she was one of those Medicis, but related before that line split off. This tour was also quite simple, they move the vinegar from barrel to barrel and 25 years later you have balsamic vinegar! Ok, I’m over simplifying, but seriously, its almost that easy. After showing us the barrels we tasted their top three balsamic vinegars: 12-18 years, 18-25 years and 25+. We ended up buying one of the middle bottles. (Acetaia Medici pictures)
Then we had some time to kill so we hung out in Modena. The city was a little boxy, it felt sparse and full of college-aged individuals. Later we had dinner on the way back at a somewhat fancy restaurant, Ancalda (I probably spelled that wrong). We were all a little disappointed. The service really sucked and the food wasn’t that great. Steve was especially disappointed because he was so smitten with Capellis from the night before.
The drive home was interesting though. The GPS died when we had about 15 minutes left. And on the way we saw quite a few hookers along the country roads. At one of the many roundabouts we passed there was one on each corner, one of each flavor!