A Perfect Pair: Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese & Traditional Balsamic Vinegar in Modena, Italy

Modena cheese maker Carlo has been producing Parmigiano-Reggiano for more than 50 years. Still, the farmer-turned-cheesemaker does not tire of the prized Italian cheese.

“I always have Parmigiano-Reggiano in my mouth. (When not at work) I constantly keep eating it,” he joked, as we toured the Hombre Organic Cheese Farm in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, just outside of Modena. The opportunity to learn about another Modena prized delicacy, traditional balsamic vinegar, would be next our next stop.

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Mouth-Watering Modena: A Cooking Class in Italy

“Secrets, especially with cooking, are best shared so that the cuisine lives on.”

– Bo Songvisava

Having just thrown back a rich shot of espresso, we slipped into black ‘Chef for a Day’ aprons. Our cooking class in Modena, Italy had officially begun.

In strolled our instructor, Chef Massimiliano ‘Max’ Telloli of the Osteria Stallo del Pomodoro restaurant. He wore a kelly-green chef’s hat and a warm smile. Chef Max also exuded an enthusiastic willingness to share Emilia-Romagnan cuisine with us.

Earlier, we’d read that Chef Max is a Modena native, longtime gluten-free consultant, award-winning chef, and cookbook author. Now that we’d met him in person, we couldn’t help but notice that Chef Max bore a striking resemblance to the American actor, Gary Sinise. :)

Quickly, we discovered that one secret behind Chef Max’s celebrated cuisine is his use of quality, rich ingredients.

“Each week, we use about 5 kg. (11 pounds) of butter, and 200 eggs at the restaurant,” he mentioned, as he set aside the ingredients for our first dish, a Soufflé di Parmigiano.

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Savoring the Moments in Modena, Italy

 

 “We do not remember days, we remember moments.” – Cesare Pavese

As we strolled the cobbled streets of Modena, Italy, surrounded by the graceful city’s earth-toned buildings, we couldn’t help but feel that we were back in an exotic part of the world that doesn’t often see visitors. The portico-packed, elegant lanes were decidedly Italian in architectural character, but locals seemed to approach us at every turn, asking us to take their photograph, curious about our story and what brought us to Modena. The latter certainly wasn’t a phenomenon that either one of us had ever encountered in Italian tourist meccas such as Florence, Rome, or Venice, but here in Modena, we visitors seemed a bit like a rarity, and that made interactions come even more effortlessly.

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Love in the Air: A Wedding in Modena, Italy

 

Where there is love there is life.” – Mahatma Gandhi 

Shortly before the centuries-old bell tower tolled five o’clock, a crowd of uninvited and surprise guests huddled together on Modena’s Piazza Grande to celebrate a marriage. A crisp-white Fiat dressed in balloons stood guard on the cobbled Italian town square, ready to whisk the new couple away.

Step-by-step, in elegant unison, the two sauntered down the staircase of Modena’s town hall, the Palazzo Comunaleand the crowd sang Can’t Help Falling in Love. Perhaps in English, perhaps in Italian. Pieces of confetti danced in the air above the pair, blissful grins on their faces.

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Photo du Jour: Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese on the Move – Modena, Italy

A Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese-maker transports approximately 230 kilos (500 pounds) of the prized cheese at the Hombre Farm outside of Modena, Italy. An organic wheel of this magnificent cheese sells for approximately 700 Euros ($975 USD), and is typically aged for 24 months. Hombre is able to produce about twelve of these wheels a day.

We were fortunate to have toured parts of the Hombre Farm yesterday, savoring several pieces of authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano, and mingling with the pampered Friesian cows that produce the milk that goes into making it.

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