Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Parmigiano Reggiano

In the aftermath of the May earthquakes in Emilia Romagna, many were left homeless. There were deaths, and of course there was significant damage to homes, businesses and historical sites. Homie Sapiens feels terrible for the people who lost homes or family members.
The quake also broke around 300,000 immense wheels of the region's cheeses, including the famous parmigiano reggiano. Young wheels, aged wheels, teenaged wheels, the producers had everything in basically worthless chunks. So they sold it at a fraction of the market price. My friend, a native of the region, bought up a considerable amount of parmigiano in different stages of aging and enterprisingly offered it around to us. This is how a kilo each of 14 month old, 22 month old and one unknown age parmigiano came to be residing in my welcoming refrigerator.
Initial sampling of the 14 month old parmigiano reggiano reveals a perfect dessert cheese. Paired with honey it is salty, richly savory and a little tangy. I suspect it would be stellar paired with apricot or fig. The cheese on its own is creamy, nutty and a bit peppery. It has the faint floral perfume that only good parmigiano boasts, and a mere hint of the funkiness of aging.
I'll let you know what the others are like when I break them open.
And in case you're wondering, my friend's people were fine.

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