Recently I enjoyed an evening filled with Parmesan cheese at Brooksby’s Walk. If you’re thinking it sounds like heaven, you’re right. It sure was!
Italians have plenty to be proud of. Not only did this nation almost conquer the world millennia ago and injected an ounce of civility into other countries, it conquered the world with its food too that remains popular to this day. Parmigiano Reggiano is just one of its famous exports.
While other hard cheese are available, Parmigiana Reggiano is especially sought after and more expensive. As the name “Parmigiana” hints, the cheese comes from the Parma region, much like Parma ham. Due to Parmesan cheese’s high protein content it can’t be sliced. Instead, a drop-shaped knife has been designed over the ages that help to crumble a block into bits. Of course, the longer the cheese has matured, the more pronounced the flavour.
To show off the cheese’s true versatility Brooksby’s Walk came up with an eclectic menu using Parmesan in every course, paired with exotic wines from all over the world.
Welcome drinks were served with a Parmigiano Reggiano cracker, topped with and oyster emulsion and pickled cucumber.
Although I love working on my own it does come with its downsides, i.e. I have to adjust my behaviour when surrounded by others. A case in point was that I really just wanted to take a spoon and eat the Parmigiano Reggiano butter straight. Screw the Parker House Rolls, just hand me the container with the leftovers and you don’t need to serve any more food for me the rest of the evening. Instead, I mutedly complied to social norms dabbing bread with bits of butter.
Before that night, I’ve never come across chawanmushi before. The chef was incredibly brave to attempt this dish but it came out a bit curdled. In one or two dishes the cheese didn’t shine through as much as was hoped for but none the less everything was enjoyable.
One of the highlights of the evening was the saddle of rabbit, dumplings, carrots and 30 month Parmigiano Reggiano. Pure magic on a plate. The cheese even featured in desserts, being paired with lime in a mousse, and panna cotta. Drink-wise, Brooksby’s Walk’s green walnut liqueur was exquisite and memorable.
A special thanks to Parmigiano Reggiano for the lovely meal at Brooksby’s Walk.