Modena: from dairy to delicatessen

Modena gastronomy

A tourist in quest of the local flavors of Modenese cooking will find himself visiting every corner of the province, for the dairies and the productions centers of preserved pork products and sausage products are truly part of the scenery.

One of the items whose quality, fame and prestige sets its stamp on our area is of course Parmigiano Reggiano, a unique and inimitable product. It has a roundish shape, from 20 to 24 cm high, diameter about 40 cm and it weighs around 38 Kg. The cheese is straw-colored, cuts in scales, has a strong taste and possesses excellent nutritional qualities. It takes sixteen litres of milk to produce a kilo of cheese. The processing involves following ancient rules in which the cheese-maker plays a fundamental role.

Prosciutto di Modena (Modena Ham) and sausage products Local production of sausage products covers the whole range of the classic delicatessen: cooked meats, pork necks, cured pork bellies, salami, mortadella and coppa di testa. And of course Modena ham (DOC) has pride of place. In order to produce good DOC Modena ham the pigs have to be of the white breed, slaughtered when in excellent health. The overall duration of the processing, which may vary slightly depending on the weight of the hams, is generally at least a year.

All the various stages, including butchery, have to be certified by means of identification marks and special certifications. The old culture of pork butchery and the economic hardships of life in the country prompted the first local butchers to invent culinary uses for even the least noble parts of the pig. This gave rise to the famous COTECHINO (cooked salami) and ZAMPONE (pig’s trotter) that have become important dishes on every Modenese table.

Modena gastronomy


The whole area around Modena is rich in dairies and firms producing ham and sausage-products, and these offer interesting opportunities for visits for tourists curious to see the processing methods and procedures at first hand. It is also possible to buy the products directly at these places.

To book a guided tour you can either make direct contact with the appointed product protection bodies: CONSORZIO DEL PROSCIUTTO DI MODENA (Modena Ham Consortium) (059/343464 –

CONSORZIO DEL FORMAGGIO PARMIGIANO REGGIANO (Parmigiano – Reggiano Cheese Consortium) (
or you can contact the area tourist promotion organisations:

Consorzio di Promozione turistica Modenatur (Modenatur Tourist Promotion Consortium) (
Strada dei Vini e dei Sapori Citta’, Castelli, Ciliegi (Trail of Wines and Tastes, Cities, Castles and Cherries) (
Strada dei Vini e dei Sapori della Pianura modenese Terre Piane (Trail of Wines and Tastes of the Modenese River Plain, the Flatlands) (


If you’d like to experience local cooking with these products in a traditional festival setting, why not plan a route taking you from fete to fete, from festival to festival?

All wine-and-food fetes that take place in our province offer the chance to taste local products, including Parmigiano Reggiano and ham, however, an exclusive and original event specifically dedicated to sausage products is the “Festa del Superzampone” (Super-trotter festival) held each year at Castelnuovo Rangone on the second Sunday in December. A trotter worthy of the Guinness Book of Records in terms of weight and size is cooked and cut into slices for all present. Another specific festival, the “Sagra del maiale” (Pig fete) is held in December at Savignano sul Panaro.

Courtesy of Modena Tourist Board