A charming journey through marvellous landscapes to discover the gastronomic secrets of the "king of cheeses"

Reggio Emilia, 8 June 2006 - A trip to Switzerland for Parmigiano-Reggiano. Indeed, yesterday, 7 June, Italy's most renowned cheese was the guest of honour on the Treno del Gusto, accompanied by numerous and qualified experts of the food and wine sector.
Leaving from Milan, Parmigiano-Reggiano will be on board the Cisalpine train that will cross the Swiss Alps to arrive in Zurich. This charming journey through marvellous landscapes will also be a metaphorical trip unveiling the secrets of taste. In fact, the guests could touch on the most varied and highest peaks of taste released by a wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese when it has just been cut.
Furthermore, thanks to a "vertical tasting" of Parmigiano-Reggiano with different degrees of maturation (15, 26 and 36 months), led by the Director of the Consortium, Leo Bertozzi, the varying aspects of the texture and the aromas of the "king of cheeses" were presented following their evolution. It was thus an opportunity for a highly qualified public who already knows the "king of cheeses" to carry out an in-depth analysis to increase the knowledge of a product with thousands of nuances.
The guests were guided through the gastronomic specialities of this journey by the chefs Davide Schirosi and Domenico Brunamonti of Chef Express, a company of the Cremonini Group specialised in the sector of "travelling catering services". The chefs prepared the dishes offered for lunch and dinner with mastery and competence, by using and interpreting Parmigiano-Reggiano according to its degrees of maturation.
The press conference held in Zurich dealt with the issues linked to the versatility and variety of use of Parmigiano-Reggiano in gastronomy.
"Today's initiative - declared Giuseppe Alai, President of the Consortium - is the first step of the Consortium's programme aimed at focusing on the gastronomy and restaurant world. On this occasion, we experienced that Parmigiano-Reggiano is not a static cheese, but it changes with time. Also cheese masters state that "cheese is a living product": indeed, it is during maturation that enzymatic processes determine changes in the cheese".
"The Consortium - continued Alai - is undergoing a particularly difficult market situation. The new management that started working in May, would like to pay special attention to product marketing aspects. In this respect, the purpose is enhancing the elements that are useful to highlight the distinctive features of this cheese that has extraordinary values in terms of healthiness, genuineness and naturalness with a particularly digestible protein content. Furthermore, Parmigiano-Reggiano is unrivalled in terms of aromas and flavours, which undergo a continuous evolution during maturation. The delicate notes of a fresh 13-15 month-old cheese develop into more intense flavours in a 24 month cheese until they reach a climax of complexity of aromas in the so-called "meditation" cheese when maturation exceeds 36 months. The message we would like to propose today is that a deeper knowledge of the cheese would make the gastronomy world more aware of this product's versatility. Indeed, by choosing the most appropriate maturation degrees Parmigiano-Reggiano can offer either intense aromas and flavours, or very delicate and light nuances without overshadowing the chefs' work".
"The dissemination of these aspects - concluded Alai - can play an important role in providing information on our product, which is the only way to fully understand the high nutritional value, digestibility and richness in aromas of this cheese".
The journey on the Treno del Gusto is the result of a communication proposal by the eclectic Italo-Swiss journalist Attilio Scotti. The project, which was co-financed by the Ministry for Agricultural and Forestry Policies, has resulted from the collaboration of Cisalpino AG, the railways company with Swiss and Italian share capital, and Cremonini spa, the company that provided the chefs and the "travelling catering service".
The journey was also an opportunity for strengthening the collaboration with important organisations of the area of origin of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Indeed, the Enoteca Regionale dell'Emilia Romagna (the Wine Cellar gathering the wines from the Emilia-Romagna region), represented by its President Gian Alfonso Roda, offered a wide selection of wines, whereas the Consortiums of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Modena and from Reggio Emilia presented the guests with the little cruets of their precious balm.