Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano Welcomes Reid Stowe Back to “Terra Ferma”

Syracuse, NY and Reggio Emilia, Italy June 17, 2010 — Congratulations are in order for Reid Stowe as he returns to the Port of New York after becoming the world’s record-holder for the longest non-stop voyage without re-supply ever undertaken. His 1,152-day mission was originally conceived as a Mars-analogous journey and there is much to learn from Stowe’s ability to survive beyond the confines of land in a life-challenging and isolated environment. During his single circumnavigation of the globe Stowe, an artist as well as a mariner, created several ocean works of art tracked by GPS—a whale drawn in the Pacific (completed October 5, 2008) and a heart drawn in the Atlantic (completed May 11, 2009).

The makers of Parmigiano Reggiano® cheese have been the proud sponsors of many elite athletes—Giuliano Razzoli, 2010 Olympic gold medalist in Alpine skiing slalom, Stefano Baldini, 2004 Olympic Gold medalist in the marathon, and Nives Meroi, one of the most successful women in mountaineering, who has climbed 11 of the 14 tallest peaks without supplementary oxygen or Sherpas—to name just a few. Now Reid Stowe joins their ranks and shines a light on the holistic athleticism required to be an elite sailor, whose record-setting voyage has become the marathon beyond all marathons.

Before departing New York City on April 21, 2007, Stowe provisioned the Anne with 250 pounds of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese donated by the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano. Developed nine centuries ago as a hard cheese which preserved the nutrition of milk and kept well at room temperature—a big plus in the days before refrigeration—Parmigiano Reggiano traveled well and was traded and consumed outside its place of origin much earlier than other cheeses. Confirming this historically, in a notarized document from the city of Genoa dated 1254 a noblewoman agreed to give away her house in exchange for an annual supply of different goods including 53 pounds of cheese, (caesus parmensis), made in Parma.

Thomas Jefferson noted in his journals five centuries later that, “A good sea captain, before departing from Genoa for the Americas, never forgets to stock his hold with a good supply of Parmesan cheese,” and that, “during the crossing [it is] an excellent food for maintaining the strength of the crew.” Even Robert Lewis Stevenson confirms this view of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese in Treasure Island, published in 1883, when his protagonist, Dr. Livesey, informs Jim, “that in my snuff-box I carry a piece of Parmesan cheese—a cheese made in Italy, very nutritious.”

For generations seafarers like Stowe have known of the potent nutritional value of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Filled with vitamins and minerals, Parmigiano Reggiano unites health and flavor. It is a semi-fat cheese made from partially skimmed quality cow’s milk. Due to its long aging its fats and proteins provide easy to assimilate energy. During his voyage Stowe ate Parmigiano Reggiano daily on his sprout salads, with pasta, rice, and beans, and as a supplement to other proteins that he pulled from the sea.

“To me,” says Stowe, “Parmigiano Reggiano is more than a food; it is a sacrament that nourishes body and soul.”

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is produced only in the Italian provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Mantua (to the right of the Po River) and Bologna (to the left of the Reno River). Only the milk from local cows, whose diet is regulated according to a strict feeding discipline based on local forage (dried or fresh, never fermented), can be used in the production of the cheese, which is made in an artisan-manner by hand. It is a completely natural food made only with raw milk, salt and rennet and free of all additives and preservatives. After a minimum 12 months aging the cheese is certified and the aging continues for an average of 24 months. This long aging helps the development of flavor and aroma and confers to the cheese its typical friable and granular texture that melts in your mouth. Rich in easy to assimilate protein, calcium and vitamins it is a cheese that is perfect for elite athletes like Reid Stowe, as well as, people of all ages.

Red Stowe