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ITALIAN FROMAGERIE FAVOURITES

ITALIAN FROMAGERIE FAVOURITES

Charlie Cai, our Deli Category Manager, has been working hard the last few months to source some great parmesans for the teams and for you and we hare very happy to announce the arrival of a 24 month Parmigiano that is complex and nutty with a gorgeous sweetness you can help bite chunks out of!

Each parmesan is associated with one dairy and this one is from dairy number 3276. This info is stamped on the side of the giant wheel for identification and true experts can tell you simply by taste which dairy they are sampling. Made by Casearia Montecoppe Dairy Company, the cows are farmed free range, permitted to graze over 220 hectares of land inside a regional park – happy cows, happy cheese. They grow their own feed and cereals that they feed their friesian cows. While many Parmigiano dairies are notorious for intensive dairy practices, Casearia Montecoppe operate very differently to produce their product, and you can really taste the difference in quality. We are very proud to have Parmesan 3276 on offer. Pop in and have a sample.

The strict regulations that parmesan makers must work to also applies to those dairy farmers who care for the cows. Their feed is limited to just grass and hay as is the area that they can graze on. Made from raw skim milk and calf rennet it is not a vegetarian friendly cheese but part of that tradition means sticking to the formula.

One odd little fact is that parmesan is high on Vitamin B!

Cheese really is something you can not avoid in Italy –there love of cheese equals that of France!

Two of our other fromagerie faves are Italian cheeses that have a long history: Taleggio and Scarmorza.

Taleggio is Italian produced from cow’s milk, this is one of the finest washed rinds that has high appeal due to its sweetness and less stinky rind. A larger thicker body, the recipe dates back to the 10th century but the use of the name Taleggio has only been used since the 20th century and refers to the Val Taleggio in the province of Bergano where it is made. Also made in this area is Grana Padano and Gorgonzola.

The deep caves of Lombardia are the perfect maturing space for Taleggio but this is produced in Piedmont and Veneto as well. Raw milk was traditionally used but production of pasteurized Taleggio is undertaken for the mass export market.

Each cheese has a distinctive four leaf stamp is imprinted into its rind as a sign of the Taleggio consortium and a sure sign of quality. Due to its sweetness it is typically served at the end of a meal but is also a great ingredient cheese to be used in risottos, on pizza, soups and pasta dishes.

The rind is salted and then soaked in brine for 8-12 hours before being moved to wooden boxes for maturing. The mould growth can differ on the washed exterior from white and blotchy to blue and grey moulds.

Traditionally the rind is removed prior to eating as it can be very gritty and mouldy but can be brushed or wiped clean . We do recommend removing the rind to simply enjoy that gorgeously oozy interior with out interruption!

Scarmorza is very similar to mozzarella-soft and fresh and a stretched curd cheese. It is reliant on lactic acid to give it is taste but the shaping into a pear shape is all hand done when a rope is attached to the top quarter of the cheese from which it is hung. Scarmorza is the ideal melting cheese with a bit more flavour than mozzarella. Our scarmorza is smoked which really does give an extra dimension to classics such as eggplant parmigiana where that extra flavour can really bring out he natural smokiness of aubergine. Made from sheep or cow’s milk , they are a great cheese to have on hand for toasties and baked pasta dishes.