To celebrate the finale of The Culinary Project “Assi nella Manica”, a project that celebrates The Perfect Italian Pair, Parmigiano Reggiano P.D.O. & Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena P.D.O., we were treated to a special dinner at Radio Alice Pizzeria that showcased these special products from the beautiful region of Emilia Romagna in Italy.
We were once again welcomed with glasses of that refreshing sparkling wine, Sui Lieviti, from Bologna, produced from the white grape Pignoletto, that I really enjoyed from the previous event.
Before we began our pizza feast, we learnt more about the time, passion and effort that go into producing Parmigiano Reggiano P.D.O. and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena P.D.O. from representatives of each consortium.
Protected Designation of Origin (P.D.O.) is a mark of quality granted only to food products under strict production law within a specific area. Parmigiano Reggiano P.D.O. and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena P.D.O. are produced in the Emilia Romagna region in Italy, each utilising ancient production methods that are safeguarded by a Consortium which ensures compliance with production specifications and guarantees quality. Both undergo an extensive ageing process, to ensure proper time is given to develop their delicious flavours and characteristics.
We tasted the different ages of Parmigiano Reggiano P.D.O. (18, 24 and 30 months), also known as “The King of Cheeses”, followed by two different ages of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena P.D.O. (12 years and 25 years).
What makes Parmesan Reggiano special is the all important human factor – the cheese owes its unique qualities to the co-operation between the milk producer and the cheese-maker, who transforms the milk into the cheese and looks after the maturing process. 24 months is the average ageing for Parmesan Reggiano P.D.O. cheese (ideal to be served grated or shaved on traditional Italian pasta dishes or on beef or fish carpaccio), with the minimum ageing being 12 months, the highest minimum ageing in the world. Aged Parmesan is known for its complex flavour and granular texture – the granular texture becomes more pronounced as the cheese ages, with more frequent white crystals formed throughout the cheese.
Traditional Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena P.D.O. is not simply a vinegar, but also a seasoning – it is one of a kind and can be identified by the shape and capacity of the container (Giugiaro bottle). Usually stocked in the best food/wine shops, it is produced in small quantities by less than 100 producers, coming up to a total of 95000 bottles. It has a dark brown, glossy colour to it with a distinctive and penetrating scent, and has a harmonious balance of sweet and sour flavours – a true taste of luxury and definitely one to add to your kitchen cupboard essentials.
We then got to taste some freshly baked bespoke sourdough pizzas, specially created for the event by Matteo Aloe, co-founder and Head Chef of Radio Alice, which gave us the opportunity to enjoy the unique flavours and different ages of Parmigiano Reggiano P.D.O. and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena P.D.O.
The first was topped with baked squash, porcini mushrooms, fior di latte and 24 month Parmigiano Reggiano P.D.O. – who would have thought that baked squash would work well with pizza? And those aromatic porcini mushrooms were to die for … The next one was more simple and classic, with tomato, lemon zest, black peppercorns and 30 month Parmigiano Reggiano P.D.O., followed by the final pizza topped with sauteed radicchio, taleggio, fior di latte and 12 year Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena P.D.O. – I don’t think I’ve ever had pizza with balsamic, but I will surely be sprinkling it on mine next time.
Our evening ended on a sweet note, with a simple and satisfying dessert of vanilla ice cream with 25 year Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena P.D.O.
Thank you to our hosts for the evening for yet another great showcase of food and ingredients. The Culinary Project “Assi nella Manica” has been a delicious and educational journey and has made me have a better appreciation for Parmigiano Reggiano P.D.O. & Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena P.D.O.
The Cheekster, signing out x
- I was invited as a guest.