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A Modena Food Tour of Parmigiano Reggiano and Balsamic Vinegar

A Modena Food Tour of Parmigiano Reggiano and Balsamic Vinegar

One of the best places to visit in Italy is Modena because of the FOOD!!! As foodies we knew we had to enjoy a Modena food tour while in Italy. While there are plenty of food tours to choose from, such as pizza in Naples, or wine tasting in Tuscany, we had our hearts set on a Modena food tour of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and balsamic vinegar! After this post, I hope you will be sold on adding a Modena food tour for your Italy itinerary. You can either go on a Modena food tour such as a food and Ferrari tour from Bologna or you can create your own tour as we did. If you are the type of travelers who enjoy an authentic and personal tour, then using this Modena food tour guide may be the better option for you. And do not worry, planning your trip will be easy because I have all the information here to help create the perfect Modena food tour.


Choosing Your Dairy Factory

If you want to skip out on purchasing an overpriced tour with a group of people, then look into the official site of Parmigiano Reggiano to create your own Modena Food Tour. The site lists all the cheese dairy farms and producers in Emilia Romagna. It is a very user-friendly site that breaks down everything for you, making your research easy! The list is on an interactive map and when you click on each pinpoint it brings up the name of the dairy, its hours, languages offered for the tour, a form of payment they accept, contact information and sometimes even a direct link to the site. For the direct link to find your cheese tour click here. Or contact us and Christina can help create the perfect Modena food tour for you!


Antica Latteria Ducale

We chose to do our Parmigiano Reggiano Tour with Di Lino of Antica Latteria Ducale and could not have been more happy with our choice. Di Lino was always quick to respond to my emails and provide us with all the information we needed to select Antica Latteria Ducale for our tour, he even helped set up our balsamic vinegar tour that they partner with.

We were instantly delighted that we chose to create our own Modena food tour when Di Lino, the owner himself, was the one to take us on our private tour. We learned that Di Lino and his family have been taking care of this dairy farm for generations and he has a true passion for what he does. The first thing we learned and that everyone should know, Parmigiano Reggiano MUST be produced in the Emilia Romagna region. Otherwise, it cannot be called Parmigiano Reggiano cheese – this is the Italian law!

Once we got the very basic knowledge down, we learned that making Parmigiano Reggiano is no small feat, it takes a lot of work and special care and knowledge. For example, we learned that the different kinds of hay the cows eat can effect the flavor of the cheese. The type of cow also has a huge effect for taste and texture, therefore Antica Latteria Ducale uses two different types of cows. Since this farm has been passed down in the family for generations, Di Lino told us how they have had trial and errors figuring out the right types of cows to have and what hay they need to eat. It is all in the details!

Our Modena food tour of Parmigiano Reggiano began in the order of steps it takes to make a wheel of cheese. The first one was a large room with copper vats, which cooks the milk that will turn into cheese. One large vat will make two large parmesan wheels, only two!

Step two is placing the cheese in a container, so it may rest and form the shape of the wheel. This takes up to three days.

The third step is placing the printing label around the cheese wheel – this is also an Italian law that must be upheld by the producers.

Once the wheel has been imprinted with the label, it is moved to the salt brine room (a salt bath). The cheese wheels are kept in the salt brine for a month, this enhances the flavor and is what creates that cheesy smell.

Learning about the process of making Parmigiano Reggiano during our Modena Food Tour

The cheese wheels are then placed in a metal mold where they are left to dry out and preserve its shape.

Once dry the cheese wheels are moved to the ripening room and kept there to mature for at least 18 months. The longer the cheese matures, the darker and more bold the cheese wheel becomes. During this time every cheese wheel must be turned every two weeks to prevent mold. Cheese masters will also test the cheese wheels by banging them with their tool to listen for the correct sound. If the cheese wheel is not perfect it gets thrown away.

Countless wheels of cheese during our Parmigiano Reggiano Modena Food Tour

At last, after careful production the delicious Parmigiano Reggiano cheese wheel is complete and ready to eat!


What better way to really learn this process and understand the difference and importance of maturing the cheese wheel, than by eating it?!!? At the end of our tour we were able to sample three different Parmgiano Reggiano cheeses – 18+ months, 22+ months and 30+ months. Our favorite was 22+ months, it had a lot of flavor and a nice texture. The young cheese was more soft and not as bold, whereas the oldest cheese was very bold and hard.

picture courtesy of:

Our tour with Di Lino was more than amazing! We learned and saw so much behind the scenes. Now when we eat Parmiganno Reggiano cheese we have a finer appreciation for it. We are still looking and hoping to find Antica Latteria Ducale’s cheese in a store in the U.S.. If you are looking for a the best Modena food tour of Parmigiano Reggiano, look no further than Anitca Latteria Ducale!

Parmigiano Reggiano Modena food tour is an experience you cannot miss!

Anitca Latteria Ducale
Modena – 41100 (MO)
059 848512/848166
Tour: €80 per visit/group of two people

Acetaia Leonardi 

As previously stated, Antica Latteria Ducale has a partnership with Acetaia Leonardi, a balsamic vinegar producer in Modena, Italy. Their farmhouse was only ten minutes away from Anitca Latteria Ducale making it the perfect next stop on on Modena food tour.

When we saw their property we instantly fell in love. Their property has that Italian charm with their brick buildings, antique truck, vineyard and more. Our tour group was only six people and again, we loved having our intimate tour groups rather than the larger ones.

Our tour started with some education on the history of Leonardi and their balsamic vinegars. Like the parmigiano reggiano, true traditional and by law, balsamic vinegar must be produced in Modena, Italy. The typical varieties of Lambrusco and Trebbiano grapes are grown in the Leonardi’s vineyards to create the juices that are the basic ingredients for the Leonardi Balsamic Vinegars. Leonardi has several different types of balsamic vinegars based on their age, type of barrel used, flavors and more. During the tour we were able to taste Leonardi’s variety of balsamic vinegars. From the vineyards, to the processing of the balsamic vinegar and even the bottling – it is all done on property and we were able to learn and see a lot of the process during the tour.

We learned that after the grapes are ripened and picked, they get crushed to obtain the juice and then boiled until half of the juice is reduced. Once the juice has been boiled properly it is poured into a barrel to finish fermenting for about 6 months. The important and tedious part is a domino effect of pouring a large barrel into the next smallest one until the very smallest barrels is filled. This process is called “a Solera” and is done once every five years. The smallest barrel that was filled with the balsamic vinegar is then ready for bottling to be sold to consumers, a.k.a. us.

Learning the process was fairly quick and fun, but the real fun was when we walked to one of the buildings and saw a room full of barrels. This is where we got our first taste of a 30 year old balsamic vinegar – it was delicious! The viscosity of the balsamic vinegar was unreal and tasted so sweet! We could have enjoyed this balsamic vinegar by the spoonfuls, no cheese or fruits needed!

The tour only got better…. we were also able to taste same age balsamic vinegars, but with different wooden barrels. It was incredible how we could taste the difference and the type of barrel used. We really enjoyed the cherry wood barrel balsamic vinegar. We were told it is great on desserts – sold! Then the tour got even better… we went to another building, which had even larger rooms full of wooden barrels that included a 100 year old barrel! We were able to taste a 100 year old balsamic vinegar – it was like candy!

The tour did not stop there, after we toured the different buildings containing all the wooden barrels of balsamic vinegar, we went to their tasting room and had a luxurious balsamic tasting. They treated us to cheese, wine and several different balsamic vinegars. We were in heaven! Did we mention that this tour cost us €6 per person- what a steal!!!! Best Modena food tour? We think so!

We ended up buying one bottle of our favorite balsamic vinegar that we had tried – a 15 year old balsamic vinegar. There was so much we wanted to buy, especially because the prices are inexpensive here than in the stores in the United States, but we had no room in our luggage. Luckily, we have already found Leonardi Balsamic Vinegars online that ship to the United States!

If you are interested in balsamic vinegar for your Modena food tour, look no further because Leonardi has it all!

Basic Tour: (20 – 35 mins) guided tour + tasting of balsamic vinegars – €5 per person
Typical Tour: (30 – 45 mins) guided tour + tasting of balsamic vinegars with parmigiano reggiano cheese and Lambrusco wine – €6 per person
Greedy Tour: (45 – 60 mins) guided tour + tasting of balsamic vinegars + buffet lunch with typical products – €12 person

Acetaia Leonardi 
Via Mazzacavallo, 62
41043 – Magreta di Formigine (MODENA)
tel 0039 059 554375
fax 0039 059 555487





Monday 7th of October 2019

Hello, I see on the Antica Latteria Ducale website that they offer a "daily visit" where you go to a "sister" balsamic factory after which I assume is the one mentioned above. Is this what you did or did you book individually?



Monday 7th of October 2019

That is what we did! We booked through Antica Lattaeria but you can book both tours separately too. And Abtica Latteria made sure we finished our tour in time to get to the next one. They do not offer transportation. We had a rental car to get to both destinations. I hope this information helps!


Sunday 29th of September 2019

How did you get to these locations? We don't plan on renting a car so we only have our legs and public transportation to get us around.


Friday 4th of October 2019

Hi Rebecca, thank you so much for reaching out. We did have a rental car to get to these locations. However, I have booked similar tours to a few clients without a rental car. I can help you too if needed. I have booked a private driver for clients in addition to a small tour group that took care of them. This is the tour my clients booked with me.

Please let me know if you need help with the planning and/or booking, I would be happy to assist you.

The Amazing Italy Bucket List You Need to See - Our Sweet Adventures

Monday 9th of September 2019

[…] pasta or enjoyed on its own, it is simply delicious and only produced in a small region of Italy. Going to a dairy farm and learning the entire process of producing a Parmigiano Reggiano wheel is one of the best […]


Wednesday 1st of May 2019

Hi, I was just wondering how you travelled to Antica Latteria Ducale. Did you rent a car? We are going to Modena next month and interested in visiting the dairy but we weren't planning on renting a car.


Friday 2nd of February 2024

@oursweetadventures, I am in the same boat, would love to do one of these tours but will also not be renting a car. How much do you estimate a taxi from Modena. It does not look too far outside the city


Wednesday 1st of May 2019

Hi, thanks for commenting. You will love Antica Latteria Ducale and I recommend you visit Acetaia Leonardi too! We did rent a car because we traveled around Italy for 2 months. If you are coming from the city, you could probably easily rent a car for the day. Otherwise, you can always taxi - it will just add up financially and you will have to call for one in the factories. If you have any further questions, please feel free to email me at I am also a travel agent and have helped plan a trip like mine for clients. Or I am happy to help any further questions :)

Alberto C.

Sunday 6th of August 2017

These visits look quite interesting. It's funny, I was actually planning a quick getaway to Italy from Dublin but I've been there so many times that I wasn't too sure what to explore this time. I will definitely look into doing this, there's nothing better than Italian food so I'm sure I would enjoy this visit! :)


Friday 11th of August 2017

You would love the Emilia Romagna region. Definitely worth a visit.