Our first week in Italy has seen us have a big focus on the gastronomy, style and traditions of Italian products that we all know and love, so we thought we’d share our top 5 highlights below.

1. Parmigiano Reggiano Factory Tour.
Our No. 1 highlight so far for so many reasons. As we watched and learned of each step of the process of parmesan cheese making, we were in awe. This is a traditional and time honoured process that is so strictly adhered to by incredibly hard working men who give every ounce of love, attention and expertise every day to the making of this most respected Italian cheese. From the feed that the cows are given to make the quality milk required, to the quality control process undertaken to ensure the cheese hits all the quality requirements at the 12 month mark, this is a process that once seen, makes eating high quality parmesan cheese even sweeter. In fact, we’d almost say that parmesan cheese from Parma is not expensive enough given the work that goes into it. The tasting at the end of the tour of 24 month and 36 month aged parmesan can only be described using one word. Delightful. This tour is a must on any trip to Parma.

2. Eating Prosciutto di Parma in Parma.
Along with the Parmigiano Reggiano, the Prosciutto di Parma is the other globally recognised product coming out of Parma. Enjoying a plate of 24 month aged Prosciutto di Parma in Parma, along with a glass of Malvasia (a local white wine and perfect accompaniment to Prosciutto) has been a major highlight. Again, the attention to detail and respect for tradition that goes into making Prosciutto in this region is second to none. Sliced wafer thin but with enormous flavour, a plate of prosciutto has been a part of one of our meals every day since we have been here. Once you come here, you’ll understand why.

3. Picking up my new wheels.
Later this week, I’ll pick up my new custom made bike which will be very exciting to say the least, but picking up my hand built wheels late last week in Bergamo has set the tone for the coming week. Using DRC rims and PMP titanium hubs, these are not only light and strong but look beautiful as well. Looking forward to rolling on these very soon.

4. Inspired Design in Milan.
When exploring a new city, especially one like Milan, there seems to be endless examples of great design across a diverse range of things, from logos and fonts, to colours, patterns and shape. These are all things we will file away for possible reference on future designs.

5. Lunch at the Bianchi Cafe.
Talk about oozing style, the Bianchi Cafe does it oh so smoothly. Bianchi bikes surround you while you dine, using Bianchi crockery (from Villeroy and Boch), glassware and cutlery, all engraved with the finest Bianchi bicycle and logo. I had the Paccheri con Gamberi e Zucchine (home made pasta with prawns and zucchini) while Nancy had an Insalata con Salmone e Finocchio (Salad with Salmon and Fennel). Both dishes were outstanding. The overall feeling though of having lunch at the Bianchi Cafe was more than the sum of its parts….great bikes and delicious food….it was where you realise (and can absorb) the emotion that surrounds old, traditional Italian brands in the cycling industry.