The sound of cheese: Parmigiano-Reggiano

Parmigiano-Reggiano is the king of cheeses in Italy. It is produced today as it was nine centuries ago with artisanal and traditional methods and without additives or preservatives to protect quality and authenticity. Parmigiano-Reggiano is a DOP, a protected designation of origin from Emilia-Romagna. In other words Parmigiano-Reggiano can’t be produced in other parts of Italy or Europe. Otherwise it is parmesan, not authentical Parmigiano-Reggiano. In the region there are 323 caseifici (cheese factories) located between Bologna and Parma. The dairies are members of a consortium, “Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano” which safeguards the tipicality and unique feautures of the cheese. In 1964 the consortium introduced the mark of origin of the dotted inscription “Parmigiano-Reggiano” encircling the wheels, thereby conferring to the cheese its current external appearance. In the video I introduce you to the caseificio Fior di Latte (Milk Flower) near Bologna. The milk’s quality is essential. Parmigiano-Reggiano is 100% fresh cow milk, not pasteurized! The only natural preservative used for centuries is sea salt. After the salt bath, which takes about 15 days, Parmigiano-Reggiano matures for at least 12 months, a year! Italians love Parmigiano-Reggiano aged 24 and 36 months, which offer a richer flavour. My kids love Parmigiano-Reggiano with a few drops of Traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena ;). Yummy!

Me and Luca Tassi, master cheese maker at the caseificio Fior di Latte in Gaggio Montano near Bologna

Bologna’s first elementary school

In 1987, when I was 6 years old, I attended the De Amicis elementary school. It is the oldest one in Bologna. In 1868, when the school was built, Italy was a very young country and “Italian” was a new language to be taught. Indeed, before Italy became a single country, people in Bologna spoke bolognese, a dialect, that is totally different from the language spoken today.

I show you in the video the main entrance that has a typical nineteenth-century classical style.

My elementary school, the first built in Bologna in 1868

The school is located at the edge of the city centre, near the train station and the main public garden. There you can still see one of the 12 city gates, Porta Galliera, dating back to the XIIIth century.

In the area there is a great restaurant where you can taste tortellini, tortelloni or tagliatelle. I love tortelloni tomato and butter!

Tortelloni tomato and butter

Bologna Carnival

Enjoy Bologna in February eating like a Balanzone!

February is Carnival! Time to enjoy the masquerades and the puppet shows. In the 19th century Bologna was the city in Italy where the puppets were most popular. Still today they represent a wonderful entertainment for adults and kids.

During the Carnival chariots procession the atmosphere is magical! The most typical mask from Bologna is Balanzone (in the picture), the perfect Bolognese professor, one who loves teaching as much as eating!

The green tortelloni of the Carnival are named after him Balanzoni. They are my favorites, filled with ricotta cheese and mortadella! Yummy!

Luckily there are people passionate like Riccardo who keeps alive the puppets tradition. This year we offered tours including puppets’ perfomance in homage to the Bolognese artist Wolfango!

A beautiful tour in the footsteps of Wolfango