As a Brit and a keen cook, I was confident I knew a thing or two about Parmesan labelling. I believed that,like champagne and many more foodstuffs, the ability to be accredited with the name derived from being produced in a tightly designated region using specific ingredients or methods. This is all true within Europe. If you buy Parmesan in Europe it is Parmigiano Reggiano and it will indeed be that wonderful, expensive, hard cow's milk cheese wHich is the essential accompaniment to any self respecting risotto.
Jump forward to the asparagus risotto I cooked up in the Thermomix last night. I have only been back in the house for a few days so I was having a look to see what cheese had been chucked into the freezer a couple of months ago- voilà- Parmesan….but hang on, made in Wisconsin – that's a fair few miles from Parma, Italy, when I last consulted the map ( and I was in Parma, Italy two weeks ago!!)
So I opened the packet, this is no Parmesan, heck it's not even pretending to be, it's rubber cheese. I would have to finish my 'hot wet rice' before I could investigate further. There was no escaping the earnest exclamations from the kitchen. Mr N consulted the oracle/Google and American are allowed to call cheese Parmesan. If you want Parmesan you have to buy Parmigano Reggiano, and it will cost in the region of $18 per lb. this is roughly what I pay when waitrose have a buy 2x500g packs – which I do because I love it!
So now I know…..
If you don't know the 'hot wet rice' joke, and have never come across the hilarious Katering show on YouTube, nip across to my link on my Thermomix page, but promise me you are fit enough to burst your sides laughing.