In Giuseppe Verdi’s homeland :

AMAZING  CULINARY EXPERIENCE AND DISCOVERY OF THE FAMED “CULATELLO” AT ANTICA CORTE PALLAVICINA

(15,5 miles from Castell’Arquato and 2,8 miles from Verdi’s birthtown Busseto just outside from Zibello)

The Antica Corte Pallavicina, facing the Po River, dates back to the 14th century and has been sympathetically renovated to preserve its ancient early Renaissance architecture. Owner and world-famous chef Massimo Spigaroli is passionate about demonstrating that cooking is a real art, with dishes made from locally grown food products. The extraordinary aging cellars filled with “culatelli”, salami and Parmesan wheels are quite unlike anywhere else and a visit is more than worth it! These are the quintessential elements of the cuisine of Emilia-Romagna, as provided by the official supplier to the international elite. In the heavenly historic cellar where the culatello (not exported to the US)  from the white and the black pigs hang for up to 36 months, over 5000 culatelli over your heads  : some of them are marked for England’s Prince Charles, Monaco’s Prince Albert, Italian clothing designer Armani, French chef Alain Ducasse among other selected buyers !

We can make advance booking for several types of visits :

  • a visit to the kitchen gardens, the Corte, the frescoed rooms, the old cellars for aging the culatelli and Parmigiano cheeses.
  • with “Spigaroli’s carving board” (local charcuterie, Parmigiano cheese, salad from the garden, focaccia bread, homemade desserts and Fortana wine).
  • a longer visit starting in the morning with the production of Parmigiano cheese and going on to view the traditional “Black Parmesan” breed of pigs, their feeding, their pastures, the traditional local breeds of cows, the farmyard animals, the kitchen gardens, the orchard of traditional fruit varieties behind the castle, the processing of the culatello, and finally a visit to the Corte, the frescoed rooms and the castle’s ancient cellars.
  • for the elite, the refined and exclusive restaurant of Chef and owner Massimo Spigaroli that has received the 2011 Michelin guide star and that represents the best of the Parma lowlands .

In Luigi Illica’s homeland Castell’Arquato :

VISIT TO GRANA PADANO CHEESE FACTORY AND TO LOCAL WINERIES

Guided visit to a Grana Padano (Parmigiano-Reggiano ‘s chief rival) factory in the countryside 10 minutes away from Relais du Chateau • Casa Illica, followed by wine tastings in the winery in a medieval castle nearby or in other wineries in the bucolic landscape of Castell’Arquato among the vineyards planted on the steep hills of the territory of Piacenza, indoor or outdoor depending on the season.  

Stroll through them and discover the  fine sparkling DOC Colli Piacentini local wines (Gutturnio, Ortrugo, Monterosso, Malvasia and Giorgione, little known abroad …). Wonderful wine for real winedrinkers !The wine tastings are generally accompanied with typical cheese and the best charcuterie of the region and more ! They use local grapes varieties such as Malvasia, Barbera and Bonarda as well as international grapes mostly used for blends like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir.

After an amazing tour directed by an English speaking guide through the bronze chauldrons and the rooms where thousands of wheels produced in a sustainable way of the subtle Grana Padano are aging, you can also purchase and bring home some portions of vacuum-packed cheese with the Grana Padano logo on it and a special knife to crack it. 

Some wines  labelled “organic” or others local wines produced in small quantities are not sent overseas but you can buy some wine of the 16 DOC’s granted by the Italian Government and enjoy drinking it before or after dinner at  Relais du Chateau • Casa Illica !

 

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