Saturday, August 9, 2008

There's This Cheese...

It's from Italy. You might have heard of it.

It's called Parmigiano Reggiano.

It's good. Real good. It's not quite "Jesus" good but probably "Mother Teresa" or "Gandhi" good. That's pretty good.

Real Parmigiano is made near Parma by real Italian dairyman with mustaches and big rubber boots. They mold the cheese into big wheels and stamp "Parmigiano Reggiano" around the outer edge. And then they stuff them into caves or barns or somewhere cool and dry and and age them for at least 18 months.

It develops a thin rind around the edges to protect the salty, tangy, grainy goodness inside.

You may have had Parmesan cheese before. You probably opened a plastic bottle with a well known American brand name emblazoned across the front and shook it on your spaghetti. It was okay. It's cheese after all. But it's not the real deal.

Do yourself a favor. Go to your local grocer and buy a wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano (look for the stamp on the rind). The last wedge I bought was priced at 15 bucks a pound. It's not cheap but the best things in life aren't free. And it lasts forever - a little goes a long way.

I grate it fine with the rind on edge. It grates a little rind into the cheese but you'll never notice and you won't waste any cheese. It is so good. Or break off a chunk and let it melt in your mouth (don't bother trying to cut it).

You won't be sorry.