On appearance, Scamorza (ska-MORT-sa) is one of the ugliest cheeses. It looks like the belly button of a giant baby – dried out, pale, and slightly waxy. For years, I avoided it. No one I knew ate it, and the only person I ever saw order it in the cheese line was an old man with very large ears.
Very few meals remind me of my childhood as much as a tuna melt. My mother was the primary chef in our household, and she excelled (still does) in all areas of Italian cuisine. On the rare occasion that my father cooked, my brother and I were treated to distinctly American dinners.
Authentic Parmigiano Reggiano is one of the greatest inventions. For me, it’s always been the cashmere socks of the cheese case. It can dress up anything, even an egg. I like it plain, too, to suck on after a good meal. Those caramel notes are all the sweetness I need, and I like the way Parm crumbles like rock candy.
If you're the type of cheese enthusiast who takes their love of cheese beyond the shop and starts to do a little research of your own, there's a pretty good chance you've seen the word affinage thrown around a bit. Affinage translates as refining and it refers to the crucial last steps in cheese making that deliver a huge reward for a little extra time and attention. It is a process that requires more than a passing knowledge of cheese and takes years to perfect.
Leftover pizza dough is a wonderful thing. It is so great because you can use anything in your refrigerator and prepare a delicious, impromptu pizza from start to finish in less than half an hour. This week I showcase four of my favorite “Franken-zas”, made using extra dough and whatever I have lying around.
For Rocco (center), the highlight was meeting Sister Noella, the cheese nun – a microbiologist and Benedictine who set up her microscope in a conference room and invited cheesemakers to come in for a rind tutotorial. Rocco picked up a few tips from her presentation on “Growing Molds Gracefully” which he plans to implement in the aging cave back on Chestnut Street.
On July 8, 2011, Di Bruno’s own Zeke Ferguson competed in the ultimate battle of curds: The Cheesemonger Invitational. He placed 4th in this epic battle of cheese mongers from around the world, returning to Philadelphia proud. Check out this new video where Zeke, from our 9th street store, recap’s the battle, talks about his favorite cheeses, and shows off his cheese tattoos!
To any epicurean, pesto is the essence of summer in a jar, a delight to the senses in smell, taste, sight, and texture. Pesto originated in Genoa, in Italy, in the region of Liguria, as a way of enjoying summer’s fresh herbs long after the harvest. Di Bruno Bros. Pesto sauce is made in Italy, from 100% fresh Italian ingredients.
As the seasons change, so do the styles of my pizzas. Warmer weather calls for lighter crusts and toppings that are more refreshing than heavy winter meals. For this week’s pizza I have decided to celebrate the warmer weather with a lighter crust focused on goat’s milk cheeses, olives, oil and baby greens.