While Parmigiano Reggiano proudly carries the title of the King of Cheeses, I would like to tell you a bit about my absolute favorite in hard cheeses, the Grana Padano or as I like to call it, The Emperor of Cheeses.
Many of us often believe that the Grana Padano is a lesser quality Parmigiano Reggiano and some even believe that it is called Parmigiano Padano, that is not the case, at least not if we are referring to the authentic product, imported from the specific Provinces and regions of the Grana Padano D.O.P.
While the Grana Padano does have many similarities to the Parmigiano Reggiano, the differences are essential to the flavor and texture, the first one being the place of production. The Grana Padano is produced in a much wider area than the Parmigiano Reggiano in the regions of: Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy, Piedmont, Trentino and Veneto (keep in mind that the Regions are much larger than the provinces, therefore a larger area of production).
In the flavor you can detect the difference in the Grana Padano being creamier and sligtly less saltier that the Parmigiano Reggiano, otherwise they are both just as firm and nutty in flavor.
Here are some more differences between both cheeses:
Since the restrictions are less for making the Grana Padano, the price is slightly lower but as we all know that does not mean that it is not as good.
Grana Padano can be found in three different ripening stages and the more mature the cheese is the nuttier and more pungent the flavor.
The reason why these hard cheeses are used so often in cooking is because they are so versatile, the Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano can be sliced with a cheese slicer (see picture above), it can be grated (most often this is how it's used in cooking or by finishing a pasta plate) it can also be broken off in pieces (see Parmigiano Reggiano post) and personally I have shredded the cheese when wanting larger amounts in cooking.
The best way to store it is cold, in a refrigerator or even in the freezer if not used to frequently. I would suggest to always keep it air tight and low in humidity, if you know you haven't used it for a while and if not vacuum packed when stored, take the cheese out once in a while, pad it dry and change the saran wrap or the plastic bag that it has been stored in.
Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano, which one is your favorite? Maybe you like both just as much but for different purposes. Let me know!
The product I picked to present to you this week has caused a lot of controversy over the years. Mainly because it has been portrayed as something different than it is, but it has always been very appreciated when consumed in all of its different ways of preparation.
I will, this week, make sure that there is no more confusion with regards to this very useful product and also let you know why I love to use it in my cooking and savor it in cooking prepared by professionals.
Introducing the Black Truffle Oil: ‘A bath of gold’!
Let me introduce to all of you the “Ace of Spades” of cheeses: Buffalo Mozzarella!
It is very often the first plate decorating a dinner table; the first tray emptied at a buffet; and it works wonders with just a few slices of tomatoes added, as a complete and very satisfying lunch!
Therefor the “Ace of Spades”, being the strongest card in a deck, this is in my opinion the strongest product on a menu, even stronger in a summer menu.
….and yes, it did get it’s name because it’s made of buffalo milk, considering it makes such a good tasting cheese, the milk on it’s own is not at all recommended to consume. (more…)
There are hundreds of different type of summer truffles. The summer truffle we import to Montreal is the one called Tuber Aestivum Vitt and is of Italian origin. Depending on the sub species, truffle in general can be found all year long. The summer truffle can be found from May to November, with it reaching full maturity by mid June, hence its name.
A truffle is from the tuber family (just like a potato). This “mushroom” grows under ground (three inches to a foot) and is always found at the roots of its host tree. Truffles grow in symbiose with oak, poplar, hazel and other types of trees. It prefers neutral to alkaline type soil. (more…)
Not many people in North America know about this product. I have to admit, that neither did I before starting working in the food business.
The Phoenicians were the first to produce bottarga and it was the Carthaginians who helped this product to be known through out the Mediterranean.
It was first documented by Bartolomeo Platina in 1386. In his words: “ I do not remember eating anything more exquisite” , “an honest enjoyment that is healthy for you”.
Until the 1970’s bottarga was considered “The poor man’s food” but today it’s considered as the “Gold of Sardinia”.
PROSCIUTTO DI PARMA
Prosciutto di parma has for centuries been made and can only be made and cured in the countryside of Parma, Italy.
Four ingredients are needed for the production of Prosciutto di Parma®:
Prosciutto di Parma® is an all-natural ham and all additives are prohibited.
The making of Parma Ham® is a long process where the curing is controlled carefully so that the ham absorbs only enough salt to preserve it. The hams are made from a very rare bread of pigs that are bred in north-central Italy specifically for Prosciutto di Parma® production. They have a specific diet that contains a blend of cereal grains and whey from Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese production. When time for slaughter, the pigs have to be nine months old and must weigh a minimum of 340 pounds.
At the “prosciuttificio” (processing plant) some skin and fat is trimmed to give it, it’s “typical” shape.
Sea salt is rubbed into the meat, which is then refrigerated at 80% humidity for about a week. Remaining salt is then removed and the ham gets a second coat of salt, which is left on another 15 to 18 days, depending on the weight. (more…)
It’s Saturday morning and Paolo and I are having our morning coffee and finished reading Lesley Chesterman’s article in today’s Montreal Gazette about a tasting she had with Paolo at Restaurant DNA in Montreal, performed by part owner and Executive Chef Derek Dammann.
For the readers that have “been” with me from the beginning, you all know that I started the “blogging” on the Macchi Inc. facebook fan page, not long ago. I then, spoke very briefly about Burrata as my first introduction to our products. Thanks to the huge and positive feedback and everyones comments it made it very easy for me to know what you were all interested in reading about.
Having that said, I would like to thank you all for your support and please continue commenting about our posts and let me know what more it is that you would like to hear about. (more…)