This past Friday, CIEE took a very exciting trip into Modena/Maranello to see many things – like this parmigiano factory!  We started out in the cheese-making room, where the cheese becomes a solid mass.  We were shown how cheese is lifted up – with only arms, no machinery (impressive because each one weighs about 80 pounds) – and we were given a slice of the raw product to try.  It didn’t really taste like much – very rubbery.  From that room, we visited a few others: one that allows the cheese to settle into shape, one that allows salt to permeate the cheese (the cheese is given a salt bath!), and one where the cheese finally starts to age.  The entire process for one wheel of this cheese (which costs 400 euros) takes at least 12 months.  The cheese inspectors were there that day, and they showed us how they tap the cheese and x-ray it to access the quality of it.  It was rather interesting!  Although, the entire place was so smelly – and, for those who don’t know, I really don’t like cheese, so the smell was so overpowering and *shivers.*  (taken 20.3.2015)