Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Slow food from Modena, Bologna

I'm not really a "foodie" but we spent a pleasant day looking at three foods made in mostly traditional ways here in Bologna. There's an official process which gets the D.O.P. stamp in each case.

First we looked at the way Parmesan cheese is made. Big vats with a steam jacket and various mixers both manual and automatic are used.

Once curdled, the cheese is removed in "cheese" cloth.

"Wheels" of cheese are soaked in salt solution.

 Finally it ages for years in a storage areas where inspectors come and tap it with a curious little hammer.

Next up, Balsamic vinegar, which is made by taking fermented grape juice, ageing in different wood barrels and progressively moving to smaller barrels.

 The most expensive version we tasted was liked by most of us less than the cheaper stuff, but my taste may not be highly trained enough for this sort of thing.

Finally Mortadella, which is made from the hind quarter of happy pigs. It's dried in salt and aged for years until the inspectors feel it's just right.

Our guide urged us to only buy products marked as made in Modena and certified D.O.P., he explained how expensive and time consuming the process was and in the end I asked how much money they loose on each product sold.

At the end of all this, we enjoyed the scenery in the hills above Bologna and ate an enormous lunch that ironically did not feature any of the foods we'd seen.

A pleasant day out in lovely country.

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