academia barilla  July 2008

Table for Two Extra on CBS2: Cheese beyond the Green Can

Academia Barilla Italian Culinary Specialist and Iron Chef Judge Mario Rizzotti is [...]

Academia Barilla Italian Culinary Specialist and Iron Chef Judge Mario Rizzotti is back on TV for another educational session on how to recognize authentic traditional Italian cheeses from fakes.

cbs2-chicagoTV Host Vince Gerasole invited Mario Rizzotti for a special extra insight on CBS2 Chicago’s popular food show Table for Two. You can watch the entire video segment from the TV show at this link – we couldn’t embed it, but we got some screenshots for you, and we can summarize the Italian food insight and tips shared by Mario Rizzotti at the show.


Mario started presenting Parmigiano Reggiano, the king of cheeses, as something totally different from what you get “in the green can”, as asked by Vince Gerasole. Parmigiano Reggiano, tells Rizzotti, has more than 900 years of history, as recorded by historic menus and publications. Parmigiano Reggiano is entirely made of specially-fed cows in the area of Parma, and shouldn’t be confused with “Parmesan cheese“, a sort of mass production product for the export markets.

academia-barilla-parmigiano-reggiano-wheelTo recognize the authentic Parmigiano Reggiano, as Mario Rizzotti reminds, it is enough to check the external part of the wheel, that must feature the “Parmigiano Reggiano” original print all around.

But the major revelation about the authenticity of the product comes with the tasting. Parmigiano Reggiano must be cut into blocks (chunks) to fully appreciate its crunchiness and sandiness, the latter created by the amino-acids released by the proteins of the high-quality milk used for its production.

academia-barilla-gourmet-parmigiano-detailThe quality of the ingredients and its rich flavor make Parmigiano Reggiano a great choice for many applications: grated or shaved on pasta, as an aperitivo with a glass of wine and, as told by Mario Rizzotti, also as a “munchie” for young babies aged 6 months, because of the good milk, that carries great calcium and protein for kids.

Academia Barilla Italian Culinary Specialist Mario Rizzotti also introduced other Italian regional cheeses, focusing on all the varieties of Pecorino (Romano, Toscano, Sardinian, Sweet), the popular cheese made of sheep’s milk cheese.

pecorino_gran_cru-academia-barillaTo counterbalance the tasting of Parmigiano Reggiano, Mario Rizzotti invited TV Host Vince Gerasole to taste Academia Barilla’s Pecorino Gran Cru, which is the first sheep’s milk cheese produced with the same production technique and aging process used for Parmigiano Reggiano, making it… the king of sheep’s milk cheeses!

You can find Academia Barilla’s Parmigiano Reggiano (both in wedges or as a whole wheel) and Pecorino Gran Cru at the Academia Barilla online store, and at the best gourmet food and specialty stores in the United States.

If you want to catch up with Mario Rizzotti, you have two choices: check your local listing to see him in action as a Judge for Iron Chef America, or meet him in person for an Italian food demo at the Barilla Italian Cooking Weekend at the Chicago Botanic Garden this weekend!

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