Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium highlighted the flavours of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese at an exclusive dining event for guests at Armani Ristorante in Dubai. The restaurant’s Chef Giovanni Papi, a passionate and experienced Italian chef, led a tasting session to help guests recognise the unmistakable characteristics of Parmigiano Reggiano; followed by a curated menu that showcased the versatility of the King of Cheese, that set taste buds on a culinary journey of discovery. At the cheese tasting session, guests enjoyed the flavors of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese of 12, 24, and 36 months maturations.
Fabrizio Raimondi, Press Officer, Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium, said, “UAE is a growing market for Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Even this year, with all the challenges, we still witnessed a strong demand from the region. Parmigiano Reggiano is now a part of regional cheese connoisseur’s diet and the purpose of this event is to introduce our guests to a sensory analysis of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to make them aware of how distinctly different is the real PDO protected Parmigiano Reggiano cheese from Italy, compared to generic Parmesan cheese available in the market.”
At the tasting session, guests learned that every degree of Parmigiano Reggiano’s maturation gives rise to different emotions and scents that make its versatility unique and suitable for any occasion. Sight can provide a variety of information, firstly about the colour of Parmigiano Reggiano, which can range from light straw yellow to intense straw yellow, with a uniform or non- uniform appearance. Maturation makes the colour more intense.
The smell is evaluated by inhaling deeply for a few seconds right after breaking the cheese. If necessary, one can smell just one more time after 5-10 seconds.
The tastes that can significantly define Parmigiano Reggiano are: sweet, usually more pronounced in not very matured products; umami, which increases with ageing; bitter, almost always a weak note, often linked to a herbaceous sensation. As regards Parmigiano Reggiano, attention focuses mainly on the spicy trigeminal sensation, which is expected to increase with the maturation of the cheese, but which should not be excessive.
The last leg of the testing session was meant to introduce the guests to the cheese’ consistency. This is an important characteristic, as it allows the taster to determine almost immediately whether the presented Parmigiano Reggiano is 12, 24, or 36 months old, namely, “young”, “matured” or “extra old”. The tactile analysis is carried out by holding the stick of Parmigiano Reggiano with the fingers, bringing it to the mouth, biting it, deforming through mastication, and finally swallowing. In these stages tasters can assess the elasticity of the sample, namely its ability to resume its initial shape after the pressure of mastication, and its hardness, that is, the resistance of the sample to a very slight opening and shutting of the jaws.
At the event, guests served delicious 12 months aged Parmigiano Reggiano crème brulee with black risotto chips. For the main course, there was a sumptuous serving of Foie Gras terrine with seared artichoke, fresh figs just caramelized, mixed with 24 months Parmigiano Reggiano, and a royal mix salad with walnuts, figs, avocado, sundried tomato. Or they could opt for grilled beef tenderloin with 36 months aged Parmigiano Reggiano, and Saffron acquerello risotto, made with 36 months aged Parmigiano Reggiano.
For dessert, gusts were served sugar sphere with 18 months aged Parmigiano Reggiano with a generous combination of hazelnuts praline cremoso, Vanilla foam, crumble and 23 karat gold.
Parmigiano Reggiano is one of the oldest and richest cheeses in the world. The cheese is essentially still produced like it was nine centuries ago, using the same ingredients (milk, salt and rennet), with the same craftsmanship and production techniques that have undergone very few changes over the centuries, thanks to the decision to keep a fully natural production, without the use of additives.
The production of Parmigiano Reggiano is governed by strict specifications, registered with the European Union.