Parmigiano Reggiano

This is the very best of all the Italian cheeses, created under a strict regimen at Parma in the region of Emilia-Ro- magna. This is not the Parmesan that frequents dull plastic packets in supermarkets. This is one of the great cheeses of the world, full of flavour and style, with a marvellous tradition behind each wheel. It is magnificent when grated over or tossed through pasta, sensational when sliced finely and worked through a simple spinach salad with black pepper and virgin olive oil, superb when eaten with a fresh peach or a poached pear, stands alone just as it is. There are some places which will sell this great cheese at different stages of maturity; the rule is, the older the better, but it is still a great joy to try a young (ish) 18-month- old cheese. It is, as is the way with such things, rather expensive. Parmigiano Reggiano has its name stamped on the rind, so there can be no mistake. Do try some; even if you buy it just once, the memory will be worth the price.