07 Sep2011

A forty kilo wheel of real Parmiggiano Reggiano (passed inspection and all) is a foodie icon. Just one of those things that inspire awe and material love. I have always dreamed of having one at home, carving away at it slowly, then using the remaining bowl made out of the tough outer rind as a vessel to mix caesar salads in, or perhaps the most amazing batch of spaghetti carbonara. But the reality is you could never finish all that cheese before it dried out, or attracted mold or some other tropical cooties… And at USD1,000 or so per wheel, let’s just say that’s truly a major, major expense. :) But imagine our surprise and bewilderment when a Filipino/Italian aunt returned from Rome bearing this unusual cylinder of parmesan. Apparently taken from the central core of the wheel, presumably one of the moistest and primest parts…

I have NEVER seen parmesan sold this way. The aunt said it isn’t totally uncommon in Italy, and that stores/groceries sometimes have this on offer, so I am taking a wild guess that the stores bore out the center of the wheel, then cut the rest into wedges… this allows the center part to stay moist and marketable, while the wedges don’t have that incredibly thin, prone to crumble and dry out pointed end. If you have a better explanation for this, I am all ears… The shape of the wheel made it perfect for long curls or shavings using a vegetable peeler. The first time we used it was for this beef carpaccio dish we did in the photo above…

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Christine says:

    OH MY GOD! If I had that in my kitchen, I wouldn’t even dream of using it. I’ll just look at it — EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

    Sep 7, 2011 | 7:00 am

     
  2. mayz says:

    WOW — the explanation makes sense. the center (being the moistest) would be the most vulnerable to mold once wheel is cut, right? what’s the weight on that baby? :9

    Sep 7, 2011 | 7:04 am

     
  3. Philip Nazareno says:

    Damn….. your carpaccio looks good! Hmmm…. are those legumes on top?

    Sep 7, 2011 | 7:30 am

     
  4. Roddy says:

    Do let us know if you need help finishing it : )

    Sep 7, 2011 | 7:36 am

     
  5. atbnorge says:

    I have resolved, boo-hoo-hoo, starting this month to go casein free (bye-bye Grandma Singleton). But (!) I will still buy my cheeses just to look at them and I was at the supermarket earlier and did my cheese window shopping (caressed the bries, osv…)That core is fantastic. I have seen how big these beauties can be. At the supermarket, they slice it immediately into small pieces of about 30 grams or so and folks buy them along with ready-to-go Mediterranean salad. It’s wicked for a weekend picnic!… I love the bite or the aftertaste (on the tongue) at the end of a really aged parmigiano. It’s like the taste buds’ been hooked ;)))

    Sep 7, 2011 | 8:14 am

     
  6. Jeff says:

    My wife would be in awe when she sees this!

    Sep 7, 2011 | 8:53 am

     
  7. PITS, MANILA says:

    IT’S A FIRST FOR ME TOO. MAYBE, YOU ARE RIGHT … TO AVOID THE THE WEDGE-CUT, THEY OPT TO BORE OUT THE CENTER OF THE WHEEL FIRST, WHICH YOU LUCKILY HAVE … NEXT CUT WOULD BE LIKE A WREATH, THEN SLICING INTO DIFFERENT SIZES DEPENDING ON SPECIFIC WEIGHT PREFERENCES … ? MAYBE THE SLICES DON’T DRY-UP EASILY THIS WAY, AND MAYBE THEY’RE EASIER TO MANAGE WHEN CARVING/SHAVING … ? IF THEY BORE INTO THE REST OF THE WHEEL FOR MORE CYLINDERS ASIDE FROM THE CENTER, THERE’LL BE MUCH “RITASO” …? I DON’T MIND HAVING THOSE … : )

    Sep 7, 2011 | 9:17 am

     
  8. Lambchop says:

    I’ve never seen it sold this way either. Nevertheless, still such a treat. :)

    Sep 7, 2011 | 9:36 am

     
  9. GayeN says:

    It’s amazing how every time I visit your blog I learn something new. This is the first time I’ve seen such a beauty. I am envious of that core! Let us know if you need help in finishing it. :)

    Sep 7, 2011 | 10:24 am

     
  10. millet says:

    MM, can she be my aunt too? this is major, major droooooool factor!

    Sep 7, 2011 | 10:32 am

     
  11. millet says:

    hello, tita parmiggiana! ;-)

    there’s a huge wheel at the buffet of a local hotel, and my family loves hanging around it and breaking off chunks from that wall or parmesan. like you, MM, i’ve thought how wonderful it would be to pour hot cooked, olive oiled-pasta into the hollowed-out bowl and watch the walls slowly melt into it. sigh…..serious parmesan craving right now.

    Sep 7, 2011 | 10:41 am

     
  12. Red Marius says:

    Oh my! I love Parmagiano! best for pasta! kaso very expensive.

    Sep 7, 2011 | 10:56 am

     
  13. Papa Ethan says:

    MM, what are those thin, red-purple, ribbony things that garnish your carpaccio?

    Sep 7, 2011 | 11:12 am

     
  14. kariz says:

    i know that carpaccio- i dreamt of it when i first saw back in your dinner party post (which one, i dont know LOL) but that’s not the kind of thing I’d forget. Raw beef and good quality cheese = serious business on my side

    Sep 7, 2011 | 11:38 am

     
  15. Risa says:

    Hi PITS, MANILA,

    Just asking po. Why are your posts on caps lock?

    Sep 7, 2011 | 11:46 am

     
  16. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    @millet, hahahaha…you beat me to it! I was about to ask MM if she might be my aunt too!

    Sep 7, 2011 | 1:28 pm

     
  17. Ellaine says:

    This looks absolutely yummy! Wish I could taste your version as a “special of the week” in your Zubuchon resto ;p

    Sep 7, 2011 | 5:16 pm

     
  18. MP says:

    As Philip N so eloquently said…DAMN! Damn those babies (parmesan and carpaccio) and damn diet!

    Good quality PR from Italy is quite cheap here (28JD, around $39/kilo) so I use it liberally. Now I wonder if we get fake ones considering the price…

    Sep 7, 2011 | 7:01 pm

     
  19. tonceq says:

    One of the things you need to see (or taste) before you die… :)

    Sep 7, 2011 | 9:03 pm

     
  20. betty q. says:

    MP….I have an Italian gardener friend here who is in his late 60’s….had a bypass surgery about 4 years ago. When asked about his well-being about 1 month post op like his diet, he said ” Betty, I might as well DIE if I cannot eat what I want! ”

    MM…now I know what to ask my siblings for pasalubong in October. Both of them are off to Rome for 1 week. This is such a timely post, MM!

    Papa Ethan…they look like beet sprouts to me. What do you think, Gej?…or the stems from the beet greens shredded into really thin slivers and soaked in cold water to form ribbons?

    Sep 7, 2011 | 9:49 pm

     
  21. fried-neurons says:

    That’s absolutely amazing! I wonder how long it would take your family to finish it? If that were in my house I’d be snacking on it everyday… shaving it for quick bites, chunking it and drizzling the small pieces with balsamic reduction… yummmm

    Sep 7, 2011 | 10:39 pm

     
  22. MP says:

    Bettyq, I think most (if not all) of MM’s followers share the same sentiment as your Italian friend: might as well die if we can’t eat what we really want..

    Sep 7, 2011 | 11:09 pm

     
  23. netoy says:

    my, what a good looking dish!!! i love carpaccio and yours looked so delectable. i can gobble this whole plate up by myself…

    Sep 7, 2011 | 11:11 pm

     
  24. Kasseopeia says:

    That would not last long in my house. I’d cook with it and snack on it until it’s all gone!
    We all learn something new everyday!

    Sep 8, 2011 | 12:44 am

     
  25. fried-neurons says:

    Oh, by the way… I LOVE beef carpaccio! The very first time I ever tried it was at Edu Manzano’s old restaurant on Pasay Road (Fire & Rain, I think it was called). Edu had it sent to our table without asking us if we wanted it. I was hesitant because it was “hilaw” to my young Pinoy eyes. Boy am I ever glad I DID try it. lol

    Sep 8, 2011 | 1:48 am

     
  26. Clarissa says:

    Jealous :) I’m a fan of all cheeses. Whenever I have cheese at home that I like, I slice off a thin strip every time I come near it. I’m not choosy about cheese to the point of getting one slice of those pre-sliced single serve cheeses if we have that too. :P

    Sep 8, 2011 | 9:27 am

     
  27. PITS, MANILA says:

    HELLO RISA, PHILIPPINES …. HABIT. :)

    Sep 9, 2011 | 9:58 pm

     
  28. Mr Z says:

    Use the hard parmesan rind in some sauces, discard after cooking. About a 2″ piece works. Reduce salt if you do, though :D

    When I find the specific recipe that mentions this, I’ll try and pass it on – good for perspective on using the rind in cooking.

    Sep 16, 2011 | 10:00 am

     
 

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