There seems to come a time in our careers when we have reached the pinnacle, the financial gain seems to peter out, even our interest beings to dissipate. Out with the old and in with the new, so they say. Maybe that’s a good thing but for some us, we’re not ready to be downsized or put out to pasture. What happens then? Do you have a plan of what you want to do as you age?
Why is it that food is more expensive as it ages? Who made that a rule? Maybe we are just suckers for good stuff to eat. Wine, cheese, aged beef, soy sauce even, how are they getting top dollar? That was my question when my husband and I arrived at the parmesan cheese manufacturing and curing facility in Parma, Italy.
What I learned from traveling is that food is often named after the city or region that it is from. In the instance of parmesan cheese, the real stuff is to look for in the grocery store is called ParmigianoReggiano. The city of Parma, is in the region of Emilia Romagna, where the co-operative of farmers is that produce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, which are under strict guidelines from the Italian government as well as the European Union.
The cows can only graze on a certain type of grass and must be free to roam. Our guide told us that having happy cows is extremely important to the taste and structure of the cheese. So, if you’re a cow this is where you want to live. Is that the answer to a happy life…eating grass?
The cows are milked early each morning and the milk is then quickly transported to the certified manufacturing and curing facilities where the curds and whey is separated. This process makes two types of cheese. First the Parmesan and the leftovers is turned into Ricotta.
The Ricotta goes to market within days of it’s curing but the parmesan will sit on the shelf for years and gets better with age. I’d like to think that I get better with age as well. There is one person that’s only job is to pull the drums of parmesan off the shelf and knock on them with a small hammer. The sound will tell him if the cheese is ready for market, needs more time on the shelf or if it is not saleable.
The difference in taste as the cheese ages is remarkable and all I could think of is the glass of fine red wine that I need to complement my tasting. Italian wine of course, Chianti is my favorite…and there is a region for that also! Interestingly what I noticed most was the focus and skill the cheese producers have. They only make these two types of cheese and are experts.
One thing that I noticed most was the passion that these cheese makers had. Day in and day out they go through the same motions and yet years later they still get excited to be able to taste the fruits of their labor.
Parma, Italy was a wonderful place to stay and visit. The downtown was charming, the Airbnb that we stayed in was perfect, and of course our meals were simple and amazing. I like simple and amazing. This area of Italy whether traveling by train or car is one fabulous food sensation after the next. Frustrated by life’s pressures? Not knowing where to turn? Head on over to Italy and get back to basics. Simple and amazing…one thing, one reason, one passion.
What could you be an expert at if you focused? What is the thing you love most about what you do everyday that you could hone your skills and become the local, national or international expert on? Sure, it has taken centuries for the cheese purveyors to become the best in the world but what do you do, in your own very special way, that you can be the go-to person for?
Having entrepreneurial roots, I enjoy the thought of morphing myself into something new as I learn, grow and spread my wins in the world. For many that is not the case and is frightening at best. How can you take the skills you have amassed over your career or lifetime and turn it into an opportunity, a financial gain, a give back to the world? As I travel around the globe, I see opportunity everywhere. I don’t believe that there is not a community out there that does not need a helping hand of some kind.
Can you be worth more as you age? Are you already or do you have a desire to become an entrepreneur? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Grow Bolder With Age!
P.S. Learn how to get passionate, take back time, and focus with my upcoming Group Mastermind – Time Wasters. Check it out here or simply click on the image below!