I gasped audibly as we were shown into the modern day “cave”. Some 100 or more wheels of Parmiggiano Reggiano and Grana Padano lay napping on the shelves, quietly aging to 30-36 months in chilly conditions. For me, it was better than a visit to the vaults at Fort Knox, this was definitely a foodie’s equivalent of gold, seriously. :) The aroma in the cave was intoxicating. And the sheer value of the stash was mind boggling. At roughly $1,000-1200+ retail per wheel of parmiggiano reggiano, this was worth half a dozen economy sized Toyotas!
Like giant ingots engraved with production dates, they stared back at us screaming possibilities. A simple pomodoro or tomato pasta generously topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese. A cheeseboard with small chunks of parmesan to nibble on. A properly made carbonara with guanciale (pig’s cheeks) and lots of parmesan or grana padano or both. A cesare or caesar salad redolent with anchovies and cheese… Ayayay!
Margarita Fores used to have a hollowed up wheel of parmesan in her restaurant pepato. I think she used to mix her pastas or salads in the “bowl” before serving. It was impressive and was burned into my memory banks and I thought about it as soon as I saw these wheels of cheese. At roughly 40 kilos for an entire wheel, it might last four plus years in our household! So it isn’t practical to think of buying a wheel unless you divide it amongst say a dozen friends just before the holidays when you are likely to use more cheese than usual…
We were extremely lucky to be invited by the owners of this establishment to this “cave” as it is definitely off limits to the general public. But you can buy the parmesan either whole or in much more manageable portions at a retail outlet I will feature in another post soon.
So the question is, where is Marketman, and where is this beautiful stash of Parmesan and Grana Padano???