The World On A Plate


The Big Cheese Disaster


Mamma mia! Turns out the recent earthquakes in Italy didn’t just injure a few people. They also cost the country incalculable costs in ruined cheese. The rumbling ground shook down hundreds of towering stacks of cheese wheels, each bearing thousands of tonne-weight hard cheeses.

It takes almost a year to mature an entire cheese wheel, and more than a few dramatic Italian tears were shed at the damage. A troop of heroic volunteers dubbed the ‘parmesan angels’ even showed up to help repair the damage.

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The up side of this terrible disaster is that after the event I discovered a whole new kind of cheese. Grana Padano – ‘grainy cheese’ is actually more popular in Italy than parmesan. But rather than sprinkle in on pasta the Italians dig it out in flavoursome chunks and eat it by the handful.

This kind of cheese has an incredible chewy grainy texture, and is mild enough to eat in larger quantities than the full bodied parmesan. Seriously delicious, although I did overdo it a bit.

I took a very large portion home with me courtesy of the Consortium of Grana Padano Cheese. They allowed me a little peek into their circular debating chamber which rivals the Whitehouse in size and spec. I imagine the meeting of all the cheese-makers plays out like ‘what are we going to do about the cheese?’ and ‘we need to make more cheese!” and so forth.

posted under Italy

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