Made in Italy – Made in Modena – Balsamic Vinegar & Parmigiano-Reggiano a.k.a Parmesan

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In the frame of the 4th World Italian Gastronomy Week on Monday, November, 19., – Italian Cultural Institution – Budapest

Without leaving Budapest took a trip to the world of senses and flavors  “Made in Modena” with our excellent taste tour guide, the enthusiastic  Ms. Luisa Torri – Head of University of Gastronomic Sciences Pollemzo Sensory Test Laboratory.  She unveiled in pairing the protected origin and traditional of Parmesan and balsamic vinegar.

Within her presentation she spoke about the balsamic vinegar processes from “from the life of the grape growth” up to be served as balsamic vinegar on the table.

Talked about how it is made by saying… “In order to obtain the TBVM, the grapes harvested must be those “used for the wine traditionally cultivated in the province of Modena”. In particular, from Lambrusco and Trebbiano grapes. The procedure necessary in order to obtain TBVM consists of three basic stages …harvesting of grapes, pressing of the grapes and cooking of the grape must and the aging. Often the procedures goes by word-of-mouth, from generation to generation. But for sure, preparing the balsamic vinegar has a choreography itself, it is through lengthy aging in a series of 5 small barrels of different kinds of wood , with no addition of aromatic substances. As it evaporates it is always refilled from the earlier aged balsamic barrel to the elder wooden barrel.

In order to be bottled in the characteristic and legally exclusive bottle, all Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, must be assessed by a panel of five expert tasters who authorize by the set visual, smell and taste standards. The affixing of a numbered seal guarantees the quality of the product contained in each individual bottle.

The traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena is unique in the world of vinegar-based dressings. It is a rich, dark glossy color, characteristic density, smooth flowing syrupiness.

Ms. Torri noted that there are less aged vinegar that goes perfectly well with a few drops on the vanilla or with chocolate ice-cream and also on the light sponge cake is good too.

On our tour in tasting Italy continued with the Parmigiano-Reggiano, also called “King of Cheese”. Around Europa is better known as Parmesan. It is an Italian granular cheese. Received its named after the producing areas, the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, the part of Bologna west of the Reno, and Modena (all in Emilia-Romagna) a part of Lombardy. Parmigiano-Reggiano is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. “Parmesan” are protected designations of origin (PDO).

According to legend, Parmigiano-Reggiano was created in the course of the Middle Ages when the Benedictine monks began producing large wheels of cheese with a long maturation period using no additives  or preservatives. Nine centuries later, Parmigiano Reggiano remains the same natural product from raw milk, processed without the use of additives with a minimum maturation period of 12 months. Historical documents show that in the 13th and 14th centuries, Parmigiano was already very similar to that produced today, which suggests its origins can be traced to far earlier. It was praised as early as 1348 in the writings of Boccaccio in the Decameron  invents a “mountain, all of grated Parmesan cheese”. Each wheel must meet strict criteria early in the aging process, when the cheese is still soft and creamy, to merit the official seal and be placed in storage for aging.

The true Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese has a sharp, complex fruity … nutty taste with a strong savory flavor and a slightly gritty texture. Inferior versions can impart a bitter taste. The average Parmigiano-Reggiano wheel is about 18–24 cm (7–9 inch), high, 40–45 cm (16–18 inch) in diameter, and weighs 38 kg (84 lb).

Update and snaps Aggie Reiter

 

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