When it comes to delicious cheeses, Parmigiano Reggiano is definitely on the top tier. The distinct flavour makes it enjoyable on its own but also adds an Umami flavour to various dishes.
Facts about the 100% natural cheese
- It is Lactose-free – the early stages of the production method eliminates it from the raw milk
- Made with just three ingredients: Milk, Calf Rennet and Salt (so it is not vegetarian). The Rennet is an enzyme used during the process. A lot of cheeses have this- some are plant-based.
- The same recipe has been used for 1000 years to make the cheese
- It needs to mature for at least 12 months. I like the 24-month one. Not too strong but still find notes of nuts and spices.
- You can find certified halal or Kosher Parmigiano Reggiano
- In Europe, the Parmesan you find will be the real deal. You can’t call it Parmesan unless it’s certified. To be certified, 100% of the milk should be produced in the barns located in the mountain areas. America is a different case!
- It is a healthy snack because it is made of natural ingredients and has no additives. It is also a source of energy, low in cholesterol and high in calcium and vitamin B2.
- Each wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano is unique: though the core procedures are the same in the 335 dairies that process the milk, personal experience and sensitivity vary giving a diverse taste in every wheel. The dairies need to be associated with the consortium.
- Each wheel has a casein plate applied to it to give it a unique sequential code – this enables it to be traced back to the origin
- Each wheel is examined after 12 months and only those that meet the standard get a seal of approval
Japanese and Italian Fusion with Parmesan
Angelina Restaurant merges the techniques and flavours of Italian and Japanese cuisines to create distinctive and crowd-pleasing omakase and kaiseki tasting menus. For one evening the restaurant closed to collaborate with Parmesan to create 10 course tasting menu and I had the pleasure of being there to enjoy it.
The team at Angelina know how to work with ingredients to create the finest dishes. Cheese evolves with time and each course they made used Parmigiano Reggiano matured at different stages. The pairing was perfect including the dessert which was a Parmigiano Reggiano (18-month) Gelato. Other dishes included:
- Sourdough Focaccia, Sardines, Red Kosho & Parmigiano Reggiano Butter (18 month)
- Hokkaido Milk Bun, Aubergine, Mortadella, Pistachios & ParmigianoReggiano Fonduta (36 month)
- Chawanmushi, Parmigiano Reggiano (24 Month), Hazelnut & Truffle
- Roasted Peach, Parmigiano Reggiano & Shiso (18 month)
- Shime Sabo, Yuzu & Parmigiano Reggiano (18 month)
- Red Prawn, Veal & Parmigiano Reggiano Cream (18 month)
- O-toro, Lardo, Moromi Miso & Parmigiano Reggiano (36 month)
- Shiso, Sausage & Parmigiano Reggiano (24 month)
- Tempura Tomato, Parmigiano Reggiano & Anchovy (18 month)
- Caramelle, Truffle, Furikake & Parmigiano Reggiano (96 Month)
- Lamb, Anchovy, Carrot, Bagna Cauda & Parmigiano Reggiano (24 month)
- Donut, Strawberry, Parmigiano Reggiano Gelato (18 month) & Hazelnut
Each dish was presented with care and precision. The combination of flavours was fantastic and each dish had the added Umami.
Though you may not have a Parmesan-infused feast as we did, I am sure your visit to Angelina will be unforgettable. The food is creative and the chefs are knowledgeable and technical bringing together dishes that are music to your taste buds.
The restaurant itself has a warm relaxing ambiance which allows you to enjoy the dishes in a comfortable environment.
Tasting Parmigiano Reggiano
Before we tucked into the ten courses, we had a talk from Fabrizio Raimondi about Parmigianno Reggiano and did some taste testing.
We had 18 months 24 months and 36 months matured Parmesan. The first giveaway is the colour. The more mature the more yellow it is, albeit a very light shade. The younger the cheese the more elastic it is. More mature Parmesan is crunchy and has almost crystal like in texture. The 24 month one was my favourite and that is the best one for pasta.
Did you know there is a special cheese to cut and carve Parmesan?
After the event I am on a mission to add this Umami to Indian Cuisine. I reckon it can lift quite a few dishes.
Disclaimer [AD]: My brunches were free at these locations, however, all opinions and photos are my own.