The theme of today’s visits centered on the combination of the Italian approach to tradition combined with innovation. The quote, “L’innovazione e’ la traduzione riuscita bene,” or “Innovation is the result of well managed tradition,” came from Mirella Galloni, the daughter of the founder of Fratelli Galloni. Our fourth day in Italy ended in Parma with a visit to one of the Galloni prosciuttifici (prosciutto crudo plants.)
Nothing puts me in the mood for love like mushrooms. I know, I know – they’re a far cry from oysters or caviar, but aphrodisiacs rely on individual appeal and I happen to be mad for forest smells: wet earth, moss, the vaguely cabbage-y smell of tree rot. These are what led me to a special Valentine’s Day threesome: roasted mushrooms stuffed with Nancy’s Camembert and a spot of Brussels sprout relish.
I had a “kid in a candy store” moment when I noticed cylinders of cheese wrapped in paper among the traditionally shaped Parmigiano Reggiano wedges. “Questo e’ il cuore? (Is this the heart)?” I asked the chef. Yes, he confirmed. They cut the heart of the wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano out, shaped in small cylinders and sell them separately. Since the heart ripens faster, it’s always the most delicious part of the wheel – something commonly overlooked.