Tuesday 1st December
As part of our recent Bologna adventure we took a day trip to a parmesan factory, which as you can imagine was a wealth of information and tasty cheese. Parmigiano Reggiano has been produced since the 13th Century, when Benedictine Monks near the Apennine Mountains first began maturing milk into that delicious cheese we adore so much on our pasta. Being a Protected Designation of Origin product, Parmigiano Reggiano has a rich history in Northern Italy and seeing it being made by passionate producers was a wonderful experience.
With an early start, we were dressed up in our finest ‘cheese-making’ attire, complete with little white hat and white apron and shown the entire process from milk to maturing. It takes 16 litres of milk to make 1 kilo of cheese, and that milk is taken from cow to cheese house within two hours. Once a wheel of cheese is made, it is aged for either 24 months to create true Parmigiano Reggiano or 12 months for a Mezzano cheese, meaning ‘half’. Have you ever noticed a cheese marked ‘Extra’ or ‘Export’? This is a sign of superior quality.
The factory itself is an enormous hive of activity, with milk being transported, skimmed, and curdled by hand to produce the most delicious flavours. The sheer scale of the operation was outstanding, with enormous copper drums being stirred like cheesy cauldrons with special whisks called ‘spinos’ and heavy shelves of maturing parmesan being tapped and checked for quality. It is quite incredible to see a room stacked high to the rafters with wheels of parmesan! The smell was wondrous and had our stomachs growling, ready for a true Italian lunch.
If you’re a big fan of parmesan or just fancy adding a little oomph to your meals, we’ve got Parmigiano Reggiano in the deli. It’s perfect grated onto pasta, into soups or even on a simple rocket salad with a little balsamic vinegar.
We have a range of cakes made with gluten free ingredients and a daily vegetarian lunch choice.