The King of Cheeses: Parmigiano-Reggiano
For many people, eating Parmigiano-Reggiano for the first time is a surprising experience. That's because the grainy, slightly crunchy texture of Parmigiano-Reggiano is truly unique.
"Parmesan" is made in a variety of different countries but only authentic "Parmigiano Reggiano" is produced in the Italian provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Mantua and Bologna. Only the milk from local cows, whose diet is regulated according to a strict feeding discipline, can be used in the production of this cheese. The difference of its milk, care and expertise expended in making it and the length of its aging period is what makes this cheese stand out on its own.
To know if you are buying a true Parmigiano-Reggiano, look for the stamp of the Consorzio Parmigiano-Reggiano in its rind, as pictured below.
Parma is a grana ( a "grainy" - textured or "granular" cheese), a reference to its finished texture. A grana is a hard cheese that when is grated will result in fine grains. For pasta, I prefer coarsely grated: other times, such as for soup, I think a very fine powdery texture is best. There are many Grana cheeses made in many towns across northern Italy, but they are not Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Parmigiano-Reggiano has an enormous flavor. As a table cheese, it will melt in your mouth, creating a delicious piquant taste. In cooking, the flavor disperses and unites with other ingredients to raise their presence and heighten their impact. Parmigiano-Reggiano is a superb cheese to eat. It is marvelous as a first course with fresh figs, melon or any fruit.
It marries well with prosciutto drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. Its wonderful slivered over an arugula salad with a mild vinaigrette.
For a simple, yet beautiful contrast, drizzle an aged balsamic vinegar over a chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano and your let your taste buds sing to you.
It also partners well big Italian red wines: such as Chianti, Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera.
Parmigiano-Reggiano is a must have cheese. Add it to your next soup; Minestrone, French Onion soup or try one of my all time favorite recipes for a Roman Egg-drop soup. The Parmigiano Reggiano just adds richness and body to the soup that you will definitely enjoy.
Roman Egg-Drop Soup
4 Extra large eggs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 quarts homemade chicken broth
Beat eggs in a small bowl until just blended. Add Parmigiano-Reggiano, lemon juice, parsley, nutmeg and salt. Mix well.
Bring broth to a rolling boil in a saucepan. Pour in egg mixture, stirring gently and constantly with a wire wisk. Reduce heat to a simmer.
Cook 2-3 minutes until egg mixture forms tiny flakes. Serve piping hot
How about adding Parmigiano-Reggiano to your next dessert?
Its summer time and there's no better way to incorporate Parmigiano-Reggiano than in ice cream, yes ice cream!!!
"Gelato" di Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup heavy cream
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Aged balsamic vinegar, the older the better
Multigrain raisin or crusty French bread
Pear or apple slices
Spicy greens such as arugula
Bring cream, garlic and nutmeg to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, watching constantly. Remove garlic from the cream.
Add Parmigiano-Reggiano, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until all the cheese is incorporated.
Continue stirring until cheese is melted, about 1 minute.
Remove from heat, pour into a shallow heat resistant dish and cool to room temperature.
Cover dish and refrigerate until cheese stiffens.
Scoop portions of "gelato" with ice cream scoop onto 6 salad plates.
Garnish with your choice of accompaniments listed above. Drip a few drops of aged balsamic vinegar over the "gelato". Serve and Enjoy!
The key to knowing if you are buying a true Parmigiano-Reggiano is to look for the stamp of the Consorzio Parmigiano-Reggiano in its rind!
While tasting a locally made smoked Ahi Spread at R. Field Wine Co., the usual "OMG" can be heard after that first bite. The combination of this lightly smoked spread and a thin, crisp "Waterwheel" or “Lavosh” cracker is the best pairing! It is impossible to just have a taste....this great tasting spread demands instantly for more. While the best pairing is on cracker, others have tried it ... more »
Chocolate on a Mission opened in October of 2011. It is a chocolate factory on the Mission’s third floor. The purpose of Chocolate on a Mission was to help provide financial support to The River of Live Mission organization. All proceeds from Chocolate on a Mission go towards helping individuals get a fresh new start.
Funny shapes and unique colors make heirloom tomatoes stand out next to your typical red tomato. But don't let their natural Halloween costumes intimidate you, these gourmet tomatoes have an exceptional flavor profile and can be used in a variety of different dishes.
Kumu Farms actually began right here on Oahu’s North Shore in 1980, on just 2 acres of land. Since then, they've migrated to the island of Molokai, and now farm over 120 acres on the Mahana-Ho’olehua Plain. Each week, they harvest 20,000 pounds of papaya, 4,000 pounds of Sweet Basil, and 500 pounds of other fresh herbs, including many specialty crops. And today, over half of their acreage is co-certified Organic.
New food trends and so called "Super Foods" seem to be popping up every month. With all the hype surrounding certain food trends, it can be hard for the average consumer to get a handle on what some of these terms mean and how these foods directly affect our health and bodies. Recently two such foods have been receiving a great deal of notoriety in the press and can now easily be found on health food store shelves, five star restaurant menus, your neighbor's garden, vegan cookbooks and ... more »
The term “Artisan” has been sort of loosely thrown about lately, but what does it really mean? Well, the definition of "artisan" is a person or company that makes a high-quality, distinctive product in small quantities, usually by hand and using traditional methods...
So when I think of truly "Artisan" foods, Cristiano Creminelli and his line of handcrafted cured meats made from old time family recipes comes to mind.
Don’t miss this rare chance to meet an authentic British cheese maker! Janette Scarth, from Wensleydale-Belton Farm in the U.K., will be talking about the history of the venerable creamery and will be handing out samples of their wide selection in our stores this week. Wensleydale cheese has been made in the town of Wensleydale, Yorkshire since 1150 A.D. Today, the Wensleydale Creamery is the only company to craft Wensleydale ... more »
Oscar Parties are a fun way to celebrate Oscar night, and how else to celebrate Hollywood's most glamorous star-studded evening than with our most gourmet foods from R. Field Wine Company? Here are our nominees for Best Appetizers and Best Supporting Pairings!
Caviar: To really get into that Red Carpet mood, try our fine selection of caviars such as Osetra (1oz jar) or American Bowfin (7oz tin). Paired with a delicious bottle of Krug Champagne, you'll be the star host of the ... more »