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Behind the Rind: Parmigiano Reggiano

By Cathy Strange, February 7, 2010  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Cathy Strange
parmigianochunk With a documented history dating back almost 1,000 years, only cheese made in one area of Northern Italy - the rolling hills and green pastures that comprise Reggio Emilia, Parma, Modena and portions of Bologna and Mantua - can bear the Parmigiano Reggiano name. There the cheese is handcrafted in small batches to meet the high quality standards of Italy's Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano, who have been preserving the tradition and integrity of the cheese for centuries. Ever wonder what makes Whole Foods Market's Parmigiano Reggiano so special? Our regional buyers and I travel to Italy to hand-select the farms and the months of production with the best flavor profiles and meet face to face with the handful of small producer partners we know personally. The wheels we choose are aged for at least 24 months for the best flavor and texture before we bring them to our stores for you. Check out my "Cheese Travels" video blog below to get an inside look at how these 85-pound wheels are made.
To pay our rightful homage to this Italian heavyweight, we are hosting a full-blown, company-wide celebration starring Parmigiano Reggiano for the entire month of February! Thanks to the support of Buonitalia®, the Consorzio del Formaggio de Parmigiano Reggiano, Forever Cheese and the Ministero delle Politiche Agricole Alimentarie e Forestali®, we'll be hosting a celebration that's truly fit for the "king of cheese." This month of merrymaking - ripe with in-store tasting events and contests, food and wine pairings (where allowed) and recipe sharing - will end with a grand slam "Parmigiano Reggiano cracking" ceremony on Saturday, February 27 at exactly 3 p.m. EST. As the clocks strikes on the hour, cheesemongers in Whole Foods Market stores across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. will attempt to simultaneously crack open more than 300 wheels of authentic Parmigiano Reggiano. Now that's a lot of cheese! Hope you'll join us. Visit our Behind the Rind page for more information about this wonderful cheese along with recipes, pairing suggestions and much more.

 

2 Comments

Comments

doris Latino says ...
Hi. I tried to enter this before 11pm Feb. 10 and I couldn't enter it because Whole food's website was going under "restructuring" and I kept trying but it wouldn't allow me to enter. Please consider this recipe, as I've put a lot of love into it... (thanks!) Olive, Fennel, Leek and Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Pie Ingredients: 3/4 cup of Reggiamo Parmigiano cheese 3/4 cup coarsely chopped fennel (about a half bulb, no stems) 3/4 cup chopped coarsely chopped leeks (white part only) 2 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil 3/4 cup - pitted Kalamata olives (coarsely chopped) 1/2 bag or bunch (about 2 cups) washed and coarsely chopped Spinach (no stems) 1 Tablespoons of thyme 1 teaspoon of tarragon 1/4 cup dry vermouth 4 Tablespoons of sour cream 3 large eggs 1/8 teaspoon pepper (10 shakes) or to taste Make your own Homemade Pie Crust or use Whole Food’s pre-made frozen Organic Traditional 9” Pie shells _________________________________________________________________________________________ Directions: Soak the olives in 1/4 cup of the dry vermouth. Set aside. Mix 3 eggs, 4 Tablespoons of sour cream, 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil, and the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese together. Set aside. Heat a large skillet on medium heat with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Add pepper. Saute fennel and rest of spices (tarragon and thyme) for up to 3 - 4 minutes until soft and slightly golden. Stir constantly. Lower heat and add the leeks saute for another 2 minutes. Set aside. Add the chopped spinach to the skillet and cook until it’s wilts. Add the sauteed mixture to the egg, sour cream and cheese mixture. Fill pie with the filling mixture. Spread the soaked olives on across the top of filling. Place in the center of the oven. Bake for up to 45- 50 minutes at 400 degrees F. - until golden brown. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Buono Appetite! Main dish 4 -6 portions. ______________________________________________________________________________________ Pastry Crust Make ahead of time Put the crust in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes then take it out and set it sit for 15 minutes before adding your filling to a oiled pan. (top and sides) 1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour 1 tsp. salt 1 tesspoons sugar 3/4 non-hydrogenated shortening stick, very cold * 6-8 Tbsp. ice cold water Sift together flours, sugar and salt. Cut shortening into 1/2 - inch and blend into the flour mixture using a pastry blender until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, leaving some larger pieces of shortening. Fill a glass with ice cubes and then fill with cold water. Sprinkle 6 Tablespoons of water over the flour and shortening mixture, stirring to combine. Add more water until the pastry dough holds together when pressed between your fingers. Divide dough in half and form into two, half-inch discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 30 to 45 minutes before rolling out. When ready to roll out, dust work area with flour and roll each disc out into a circle about 2 inches larger than the pie pan. Roll prepared crust loosely over rolling pin to transfer to the pie pan. Position rolling pin over the center of the pie and unroll, gently easing crust onto the pie pan. Gently press crust into the pan and trim the edges of the crust, leaving about an inch to crimp or flute the dough. * I use Earth Balance (it’s a good non-hydrogenated shortening)
02/11/2010 12:20:49 AM CST
mari s. says ...
Your website was down last night from approximately 9 p.m. central time until after midnight. I was unable to submit my recipe. I still would like to submit it.
02/11/2010 9:38:50 AM CST