Parmigiano Reggiano Academy

  • 0
  • October 23, 2014

I went back to school recently to attend the Parmigiano Reggiano Academy. Actually happy to go to school again! Mario Batali’s Eataly hosted the Academy. The classes were originally online only but have moved to locations across the country.


The class was taught by Nancy Radke, Director U.S. Information Office. It was fascinating to learn about the history of the cheese as well as the techniques to truly appreciate this highly regarded product.


We were taught about the difference that aging makes in Parmigiano Reggiano as it evolves from a young 14 month cheese to a mature 24 month cheese to an extra aged 36 month cheese. This is not a new concept to me but certainly opened my eyes to characteristics to look for when enjoying and even buying this cheese.

 Inspiring Kitchen Parmigiano Reggiano wheel

As Nancy shared her knowledge of how the cheese is made, she had us really look at the cheese, reading the color and textural changes. We were asked to squeeze and break the cheese samples noting the consistency when we did this. When we tried each aged sample, we were able to taste the differences based on the age of the cheese.


Smell also played a part in the experience. The aroma comes in a variety of different notes: lactic, vegetal, floral, fruit, toasted, animal and spicy. Once we tasted the cheese putting together all that we learned, we observed sweet, bitter, sour, salty and umami (savory) flavors.


The qualities for each aged piece are broken down below:


14 month:

 Inspiring Kitchen 14 month parmigianno reggiano pic


  • Light straw color
  • Sparse tyrosine crystals


  • Hard, but deformable


  • Less granular
  • Small holes/eyes


  • More elasticity
  • Less Hardness
  • Less friability
  • Less soluble


24 month:

 Inspiring Kitchen 24 month parm with figs



  • Straw color
  • More tyrosine crystals


  • Harder, less deformable


  • Granular
  • Small holes/eyes


  • Less elasticity
  • More hardness
  • More friability
  • Soluble


36 month:

Inspiring Kitchen 36 month Parmigiano Reggiano


  • Golden straw color
  • Most tyrosine crystals


  • Harder


  • More granular
  • Small holes/eyes


  • Least elasticity
  • Most hardness
  • Most friability
  • More soluble


We learned so much about how to observe, smell and taste the Parmigiano Reggiano on a pure basis. But, we also had the opportunity to listen to Eataly’s Chef, Adam Weisell, who grew up in Italy, talk about recipes he uses to incorporate the cheese in to dishes. Using certain balsamics, wine, fruits and meats, the unique flavors of the cheese are enhanced. Here are the dishes he made to share with our class:

 Inspiring Kitchen Chef Adam Weisell Eataly

Frico Di Parmigiano Reggiano filled with Potato and Scallion

(photo by Galdones Photography)

Inspiring Kitchen potato parmigianno

Gnocco Fritto with Grated Parmigiano Reggiano and Lardo 

(photo by Galdones Photography)


Inspiring Kitchen gnocco with lardo


Grilled Pear with Basil, Almonds and Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

 Inspiring Kitchen grilled pear with Parmigiano Reggiano

Sformato Di Parmigiano Reggiano with Raw Zucchini and Mint Relish 

(photo by Galdones Photography)


 Inspiring Kitchen Parmagiano Reggiano flan

Roasted Butternut Squash Polenta with Parmigiano Reggiano Zabaglione and Sage

(photo by Galdones Photography)

 Inspiring Kitchen butternut squash polenta with parmigiano

This whole experience was just fantastic. The inspiration on food and wine pairings, recipes and appreciation for the aging process only highlights the true deliciousness of this kind of cheese.

 Inspiring Kitchen Lambrusco

On October 25, 2014, there will be a global dinner gathering of thousands of people to enjoy a meal featuring Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. This year marks the third edition of this event which began in 2012 as a way to thank supporters after earthquakes destroyed many production facilities in Italy.


The evening is known as Dinner Together. Friends and family are invited to rediscover the pleasure of creating and strengthening friendships during a dinner shared around the world on the evening of October 25.


At the heart of Parmigiano Reggiano Night 2014 is a humorous social awareness campaign. It asks participants to commit themselves to saving the pleasures of being together from extinction and to embrace the slogan #dinnertogether.


“Italians like to say you never grow old at the table”, explains Riccardo Deserti, General Director of the Consorzio Parmigiano Reggiano. “And this is most true when you share a meal with people who support and enrich your life”.


Participants in Parmigiano Reggiano Night will be asked to identify with one of four themes via an app that went live on October 6. The app helps you to plan your dinner: choosing a time, place and a recipe featuring Parmigiano Reggiano. You can use the app to invite friends to dinner as well. Every participant will be asked to share photos of their evening with other participants around the world. Sounds like such an amazing evening, doesn’t it? Great food and friends enjoying a meal together.


Please visit for more information.


Be sure to share if you participate in the World Wide Dinner on October 25. What’s your favorite Parmigiano Reggiano recipe?


Thanks for stopping by!  

Parmigiano Reggiano Flan with Zucchini and Mint Relish
Serves 6
Write a review
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
  1. 1 cup cream
  2. 1 cup milk
  3. 3 whole eggs
  4. 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
  5. Salt to taste
  6. White pepper to taste
  7. Nutmeg to taste
For the Zucchini and Mint Relish
  1. 1 medium sized zucchini peeled and seeded
  2. 8 mint leaves, minced
  3. Juice of 1/2 lemon
  4. Salt
  5. Pepper
  6. 1 shallot, finely minced and marinated in a few drops of red wine vinegar
  1. Preheat the oven to 270 degrees. Bring a gallon of water to a simmer and set aside. Coat six 4 ounce ramekins with cooking spray.
  2. Heat the cream and milk together in a small saucepan until the mixture begins to foam. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  3. Beat the eggs together in a medium sized bowl. Temper the eggs by whisking in the hot cream mixture a little at a time until the two are fully combined. Whisk in the grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
  4. Pour the sformato batter into the pre-oiled ramekins. Place the ramekins in a large baking dish and pour the reserved hot water into the dish until it covers 2/3 of the ramekins. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven until the sforamti are just set, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, taking care not to splash any water into the ramekins and allow to cool.
  5. To assemble the dish, carefully run a knife around the inside edge of each cooled ramekin and unmold each sformato onto the center of a chilled dinner plate.
  6. Cut the zucchini into small dice and toss together with the mint leaves, lemon juice, salt, pepper and minced shallots.
  7. Garnish each with the zucchini and mint relish and serve immediately.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.