Sunday, October 07, 2007

King of King Making

I have been lucky enough to meet Nicola Bertinelli as well as eat his superb Parmigiano - Reggiano.

Nicola who runs this family business understands the importance of total quality to ensure he can create amazing cheese.

Bertinelli controls the entire food value chain to ensure excellence - he owns the cows and the land that produces the grass and hay they eat to make the milk for the cheese.

His premium product called Milisimato - 24 or 36 months is made with the milk from the first 100 days after the calf is born - producing a richness , intensity and nuttiness that is second to none.

Most cheese approved by the Conzorzio Parmigiano - Reggiano is made by cooperatives where the huge quantities of milk needed to maake the King of hard cheeses are sourced from wholesalers and traceability is not really possible.

Just like wine or truffles beware of inferior products and imitators who try and live of the reputation of the true gastronomic greats !

Parmigiano-Reggiano is a grana, a hard, granular cheese, cooked but not pressed, named after the producing areas of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena and Mantova .

Nicola Bertinelli will one day be known as the cheese equivalent of those great Italian Wine pioneers who have done so much to elevate Italy into the first division of wines - Gaja , Antinori , Frescobaldi etc.