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Parmigiano Reggiano’s Impact on Food Culture

A couple hours south of Milan is one of Italy’s most treasured and storied regions that you may not know about. The Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy is a beautiful countryside that encompasses a lush pasture — the ideal place to cultivate epicurean goods. This region is home to important staples of Italian cuisine, with deeply rooted traditions that stretch their influence worldwide, lending itself to be superior producers of ham, balsamic vinegar, and of course Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan cheese) —”The King of Cheeses.”  If your travels ever take you to this land of plenty, it would be easy to see why the culture of food in this region is especially valuable.     

Parmigiano Reggiano is a cheese that bears the weight of centuries old tradition. It carries with it an immortal process of cheese making that has been unchanged since its conception.  The process, developed by the Benedictan monks in the thirteenth century, uses only three ingredients: raw milk, rennet, and salt. With that, they were able to develop a method that safely aged cheese over a long period of time.  To this day, Parmigiano Reggiano, the authentic parmesan cheese can only be produced within the Emilia-Romagna region, using the same ingredients and methods.  

The 352 dairy farms within the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium (the union of producers and traders) abide by a strict process in creating this natural cheese.  The process begins by combining fresh, raw, unpasteurized milk from local cows with calf rennet — the enzyme used to jumpstart the curdling process. It is whisked around in a large copper vat, separating the solidifying cheese and the liquids over a short period of time.  Once the cheese completely sinks to the bottom, it is scooped up and molded into a large wheel. It is later brined in salt and is set to mature properly over the course of at least two years before being sold.

This arduous and meticulous process requires a masterful hand to create, and goes on year round without fail.  It makes absolute sense that these wheels (of fortune) cost what they do at market.   

True Italian chefs know that there is no substitute for authentic Parmigiano Reggiano, and it’s potential in dishes soar higher than as just a garnish on a bowl of bolognese.  Unlike its American counterfeit of the grated variety, parmesan in its truest form can be delivered in innovative ways that take advantage of its robust flavor.

Over time, Parmigiano Reggiano was established as a Denominazione di Origine Protetta (DOP), a product with a protected designation of origin — which means that it is a good produced only in a specific region of Italy, requiring a specific production process that cannot be duplicated elsewhere, due to its association to culture and historical value. 

Parmigiano is truly valued in many frames of Italian culture, especially in the Emilia-Romagna region.  It’s special to all the chefs and gourmands — who value true craftsmanship and artistry; and the pursuit of authenticity.  But especially for the Consortium’s 352 dairy farms and its farmers — the literal nine centuries old art of cheesemaking tradition that spans several generations; all families that are prepared to pass down a noble livelihood to the next generation.  It is pride, passion, and genuine love that is at the center of this story.

Cravings Restaurants

Iconic Naples Pizzeria Da Michele Is FINALLY Coming To The US

UPDATE: The location is set to open sometime in Spring 2019.

A few years ago, members of the Foodbeast team had the opportunity to visit Pizza Da Michele, an iconic pizzeria located in Naples, Italy. Truly one of the best pizza experiences we’ve ever had, it was bittersweet knowing we’d have to eventually say goodbye. At least that’s what we thought.

Yet much to our delight, Eater reports that the prolific pizzeria is finally coming to the United States, specifically Hollywood, CA. While there are storefronts in multiple countries, this will be the first location to ever hit the US.

During our time in Italy, fellow Foodbeasts Elie Ayrouth, Marc Kharrat, Isai Rocha and myself swung by the restaurant to check out the staple from Naples.

Was it worth the line out the door and into the street? You bet.

“This is up there with the best pizza I’ve ever had, and it was five euros a pizza,” said Ayrouth. “This is going to f*ck up pizza for me, forever.”

The new location will serve wood-fired marina pizza and Margherita pizzas, mirroring the original restaurant’s menu. However, the new Los Angeles spot will also serve Italian breakfast and coffee in the mornings as well as a few new to-be-annouced dishes.

“It looked pretty good when Marc and Elie ate it, and didn’t share.” said Rocha. “So I’m excited to finally try it.”

According to Da Michele, the Hollywood location should open in Spring 2019.

Alcohol Beer Hit-Or-Miss Toasty

Man Got So Drunk, He Unnecessarily Climbed A Mountain To Find His Hotel

The great Aubrey “Drake” Graham once said he lived for the nights that he can’t remember. While many like to follow that mantra when painting the town red, there’s no way this guy’s friends will ever let him forget the time he drunkenly climbed a damn mountain for no reason.

What should have been a brisk walk from the Cervinia resort in Italy, to a nearby hotel, an over-imbibed Estonian tourist identified as Pavel, 30, somehow ended up scaling the Italian Alps, according to La Stampa.

Photo courtesy of Igloo

Pavel thought he was on the right track to the hotel on that 2 a.m. mission, but eventually started making his way up walking nearby mountains. He kept climbing about 2 miles up until he spotted in the distance, of all things, a bar located on the mountain. Pavel broke into the bar, aptly named Igloo, slept through the night, woke up with a killer hangover, and now has a ridiculous story that could have only been powered by alcohol.

The next morning, Igloo staff found Pavel passed out in the bar before alerting police.

Pavel was fined for the incident, but was not charged with anything, which is nice because the poor guy had a rough night.

While drinking almost led to his demise, it was ironic that a bar that kept him safe through the snowy night. Good luck topping this one on your spring break.

#foodbeast Adventures Culture FOODBEAST Hit-Or-Miss Video

Foodbeast’s New Globetrotting Series Begins With Impeccable Italian Food In Verona, Italy

Globetrotting with the appetite of a Foodbeast can lead to some amazing things on our plate. When it comes to the definition of delicious, we’ll take it in any language and will cross any border to find out. It doesn’t matter where the foods at… LET’S GO!

For the first episode of Foodbeast’s new series ‘Let’s Go’, they travel to Verona, Italy. It’s said to be the city of love. And why wouldn’t it be? This was ground zero for the enduring tale of star-crossed lovers Romeo & Juliet. But does that love translate into the city’s cuisine? Finding out firsthand is the only way to go.

With Italy’s largest fresh pasta company (also available in the US), Giovanni Rana Pasta, hosting and leading us down the righty culinary paths, we knew we couldn’t go wrong. Walk with us and see the best that Verona had to offer.

Culture Video

This Is The Rarest Pasta In The World [WATCH]

We’ve made pasta by hand once in our lives and it was one of the most painstaking, meticulous cooking processes we’ve experienced. The payoff between hand-made and store-bought was night and day, however, making it all worth it in the end. We have to wonder, how would the world’s rarest form of pasta taste?

Great Big Story paid a visit to Paola Abraini, one of the only people left on the planet who knows how to create this rare form of pasta.

Called su filindeu, the pasta is said to have been around since the beginning of time, and exclusively produced in Nuoro, Italy. While the process of creating the pasta is meticulous, the ingredients themselves are simple: durum wheat semolina, salt, and water.

The idea is to create incredibly thin pasta threads through precise hand motions. It’s then placed on a wooden surface to dry, resembling a woven piece of cloth.

Knowing how to make su filindeu has been a well-guarded family secret, passed from mothers to daughters, for hundreds of years.

You can see bits of Abraini’s pasta-shaping technique in the video above. This looks so delicious. Gotta appreciate all the centuries it took to perfect this pasta.

Fast Food

McDonald’s Italy Adds Deep-fried Stuffed Olives


Every international fast food chain has menu items based around local cuisine. French McDonald’s locations feature more baked goods than their US counterparts, while Mcdonald’s Japan has items such as a cheese-stuffed pork katsu sandwich.

McDonald’s locations in Italy just introduced these new deep-fried stuffed olives, Brand Eating reports. The pitted olives are stuffed with meat (likely beef), then breaded and deep fried. They’re served in about five bite-sized portions.

Olive all’Ascolana is a regional dish that’s served as an appetizer throughout the country.

The olives will only be available for a limited time on the McItaly menu.

Photo: McDonald’s

Fast Food News What's New

McDonald’s Now Has A Nutella Burger, Here’s What It Looks Like

McDonald’s locations in Europe have always placed a stronger focus on pastries than the ones in the United States. Two of the fast food chain’s spots in France and Italy feature their very own bakery section filled with an impressive array of cookies, macarons, pastries, and donuts.

The latest pastry item from the Golden Arches comes by way of Italy in the form of a Nutella Burger, USA Today reports

While the Nutella Burger doesn’t actually feature any burger meat, McDonald’s Italy describes it as “soft bread with a creamy, indulgent center.” Clearly this is an item that would garner some buzz, as shown by the post receiving more than 90,000 shares and 75,000 reactions from Facebook fans. 

Because fast food stock photos versus the real thing are almost never one in the same, we decided to see what the burger actually looked like for ourselves. 

Here are some of the best pics we could find of McDonald’s new Nutella Burger, in real life. We think it’s safe to say it looks pretty damn delicious. 


A video posted by 🇪🇬 (@rim_gzl) on

A photo posted by Alessandra 🎀 (@ehileen) on


Hit-Or-Miss News

Vegan Parents In Italy Could Face Jail Time If This Bill Passes


Italy seems to believe they have a growing vegan problem, to the point where some of the notorious leaf-eaters might start getting serious jail time.

There is currently a bill circulating that would lock up Italian parents who make their children go vegan. Why? The bill states, veganism promotes “reckless and dangerous eating behavior,” according to La Repubblica.

The bill was introduced by Forza Italia’s Elvira Savino, and she believes that veganism is cool for adults, but making kids follow a no-meat diet could leave them deficient of  iron, zinc and vitamin B-12, which could lead to anemia and possibly even neurological disorders.

Savino figured six years in prison would be an adequate amount of time to punish parents for their meatless ways, but of course there is some opposition, as science experts are snarkily suggesting lawmakers focus on Italy’s obesity epidemic instead.

While PETA always calls meat-eaters murderers and criminals, if this law passes, it might literally work the other way around for Italians. Imagine that.