May 9, 2012

Parmigiano Reggiano Taste-Testing at Casearia di Sant’Anna

Parmigiano Reggiano Taste-Testing at Casearia Sant’Anna

Oh my goodness, I cannot tell you how excited I was for this stop on our tour of Italy with Michael Angelo’s! :) I loved the story of how this organic Parmesan cheese maker in Bologna — Casearia di Sant’Anna — ended up in Michael Angelo’s Frozen Italian Meals. When Michael Angelo’s first started, Sara, the mom, grandma, and family chef behind the Michael Angelo’s line (who’s originally from Sicily) and whose tried and true recipes she uses to feed her family are the same ones that go into each and every one of their frozen meals (whew, that was a lot!) was attending an expo and offering samples of her meals. She noticed one gentleman in particular kept coming back again and again for samples. Finally, he came back one more time, this time dragging his son as an interpreter along with him. He said that he loved these meals so much that he wanted his Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to go into every single one. He loved ‘em so much he wanted his name associated with the product!

Parmigiano Reggiano Taste-Testing at Casearia Sant’Anna

We got to visit their dairy in Bologna and see their Parmigiano Reggiano cheese being made from start to finish. This little cutie pie is a future Parmigiano Reggiano cheese maker!

Parmigiano Reggiano Taste-Testing at Casearia Sant’Anna

Casearia di Sant’Anna dairy cows are grass-fed only from their organic fields.

Parmigiano Reggiano Taste-Testing at Casearia Sant’Anna

This soft, gooey ball of Parmesan cheese looks just like a giant ball of fresh mozzarella cheese! I guess it never occurred to me that Parmesan cheese started off this way too, lol!

Parmigiano Reggiano Taste-Testing at Casearia Sant’Anna

The fresh cheese is wrapped in cheesecloth, placed into molds, and topped with heavy wooden lids to form the cheese into its classic wheel shape.

Parmigiano Reggiano Taste-Testing at Casearia Sant’Anna

The next step is imprinting the cheese. If you’ve ever bought a wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, you’ve seen the classic, dotted imprints of Parmigiano Reggiano on the edge of the wheel. It was so fun seeing all the templates before they went on the cheese! Not only do these templates imprint the cheese with the Parmigiano-Reggiano name but also the dairy’s unique number and the month and year of production.

Parmigiano Reggiano Taste-Testing at Casearia Sant’Anna

The cheese is placed into this stainless steel round with the template and pulled tight with a metal buckle.

Parmigiano Reggiano Taste-Testing at Casearia Sant’Anna

It only takes one day to imprint the cheese, and then after that the cheese is placed into a Mediterranean sea salt brine for nearly one month to absorb the salt into the cheese. Then they took us to the aging room where the cheese hardens and ages for 24 months…

Parmigiano Reggiano Taste-Testing at Casearia Sant’Anna

I think we were all a little speechless when we got there! :) This room can store up to 30,000 wheels of cheese.

Parmigiano Reggiano Taste-Testing at Casearia Sant’Anna

Next was the moment we’d all been waiting for :)

Parmigiano Reggiano Taste-Testing at Casearia Sant’Anna

Taste-testing time!

Parmigiano Reggiano Taste-Testing at Casearia Sant’Anna

Oh my goodness, what I wouldn’t give for another bite of this cheese right now! The indigenous grass from their organic fields gives the cheese it’s subtly unique fragrance and flavor. Why did I not grab this wheel and run, lol?? I could’ve totally carried this on the plane. ;)

Thanks so much to the kind folks at Casearia di Sant’Anna for sharing their passion with us! It was so wonderful to see the amount of love and care that goes into each and every ounce of their cheese. I’ve got just one more post to share from our adventure with Michael Angelo’s (it might possibly have been the most amazing lunch of my entire life!) then it’s on to our own adventure in Italy. :) Stay tuned!

 



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29 Comments





1
Caroline @ chocolate & carrots May 9, 2012 at 1:17 am

I bet that was an incredible experience. I love the photo of the cow! :D So precious!

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2
Mary Brown May 9, 2012 at 1:34 am

Don’t you just love how “CLEAN” the cows and everything else appears to be there. BTW, you should have run with that cheese wheel. Have an awesome day.

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3
Dora Panariti May 9, 2012 at 3:49 am

I agree with Mary Brown about the polished environment. First impression is everything and I surely trust someone who at least appears clean.

If only I could be there! :D

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4
Vanessa May 9, 2012 at 4:10 am

Wow! This looks and sounds amazing. I can’t believe that cheese room… 30,000 wheels! That’s crazy. I’m pretty sure I would have been in heaven there haha!

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5
Vintage Paper Designs May 9, 2012 at 4:22 am

Looks amazing!!!!
I am enjoying your photos so much, you are really talented to make the perfect captions.
Nika

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6
Swati May 9, 2012 at 6:15 am

oh my….its looking so yummy!!! I wish I could go there :D

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7
Lisa May 9, 2012 at 6:46 am

Wow, that is very cool!! I have enjoyed all your adventures in Italy and your awesome pictures! It felt like we were right there with you. (Well, not quite :-( lol!) Not only has it been fun, but very educational! I need to let my 11 year old read this….much better than a textbook for sure!

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8
Rachel Cooks (formerly Not Rachael Ray) May 9, 2012 at 8:06 am

That is A LOT of cheese! Awesome photos and such an interesting post!

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9
Melba/OutAThyme May 9, 2012 at 8:53 am

So awesome, and very interesting indeed! Oh, how I wish I were there right now….

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10
Pamela May 9, 2012 at 8:54 am

Love the picture of the cow! Too cute! Love cheese, ha!

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11
Lauren May 9, 2012 at 9:27 am

Um, WOW! You make me want to pack up and move to Italy.

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12
Mimi May 9, 2012 at 9:54 am

Wow. It looks like you had a fantastic trip! When I was in Holland I went to a dairy and cheese farm – it was such a great experience.

ps. – I love that cow :)

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13
Lucy Lam May 9, 2012 at 10:40 am

Hi Amanda … my mouth is watering right now:) Do they sell their cheese here in the USA? I’d love to try some too!!!
We were in Italy a couple of years ago … now I can’t wait to go back:D
Thanks for letting us tag along on your exciting journey.
Lucy

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14
Nicole @ Baking it on My Own May 9, 2012 at 11:11 am

I was following you on Twitter and Instagram through your Italy journey and was anxiously awaiting this post! I could and do eat cheese every. single. day. My parents used to have to hide it from me as a kid because I couldn’t keep myself away from it. Thanks to this post – my mouth is now watering and I really would do anything to dive right into that huge block of cheese. Oh my yumminess – thank you so much for sharing and I can’t wait for the rest of the posts about Italy.

PS: I totally trained my boston terrier – Henry – on cheese as well. He now knows the sound of the cheese drawer (yes, I did say cheese drawer!) and comes running every time – like mother, like son!

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15
Kayle (The Cooking Actress) May 9, 2012 at 11:22 am

I’m just…so jealous. You have no idea.

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16
Claudia Eubanks May 9, 2012 at 11:46 am

OMG!! Had I been there I would have totally helped you run off with the wheel-o-cheese. Good Parmigiano is like … the best thing on earth.

I’m loving your posts from Italy. Gorgeous photos!

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17
Nicole May 9, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Wow, that is so cool! And I love the freckles on that cow!

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18
Jules May 9, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Wow! What an amazing experience. Your pictures are beautiful and crystal clear. I got a great camera that takes great pictures. But these are really amazing! I’m a new blogger and you are an inspiration! Thanks for sharing your world with us!

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19
Erin @ Texanerin Baking May 9, 2012 at 1:40 pm

The cow! The room of cheese! Oh I can’t stand it. I want to move to Italy. I don’t care about the infrastructure, politics, etc. I just want to move there. :)

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20
Southern Gal May 9, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Looks amazing. I love cheese!

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21
Christina May 9, 2012 at 7:48 pm

What a wonderful experience!! Love your pictures!!

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22
Trisha May 9, 2012 at 10:57 pm

I’m a big fan of your blog and couldn’t wait to see the posts from your trip. The pictures are beautiful and I really appreciate the information. It is so good to see a company take such pride in the selection of the ingredients that make up their products. It seems so rare in an age where mass production and low cost rules to find this kind of attention to detail. I can’t wait to see the rest of your trip!

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23
Angie @ Big Bear's Wife May 10, 2012 at 7:59 am

Look at all of that cheese! What a neat thing to be able to to!

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24
Teri Dingler May 10, 2012 at 8:11 am

That is my most favorite cheese! I love this post and hope that someday I can visit the area! Keep posting!

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25
Lori @ RecipeGirl May 10, 2012 at 9:08 am

You’re finally back?! I thought you’d torture us w/ beautiful Italy pictures forever and ever. looks like your trip was absolutely wonderful! I think you know that I went on a cheese tasting trip to Italy a couple of years ago- went to 4 different cheese factories- saw a Parmigiano Reggiano factory very similar to this one. Such a neat process, isn’t it? Can’t wait to see more Italy posts!

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26
Jess DeLeon May 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Oh.My.Gosh. we just booked airfare for sept to italy (northern part) and we are starting to figure out details (all we’ve booked is flight)…I am SO excited to read all about your trip and get some ideas! We are seriously doing this tour, if they will let us! :) Can’t wait to keep reading!

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27
Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips May 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Oh my goodness, why am I not in your suitcase?!

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28
Angie R. May 15, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Enjoying your posts about Italy, it is my dream vacation destination. I had to laugh when you talked about you so could have brought that cheese back on the plane. It reminded me of the I Love Lucy episode when she tried to bring back the 25 lb. log of cheese. Haha!

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29
emilia delizia February 25, 2013 at 9:05 am

I am breathless! amazing shots, thank you for sharing this culinary adventure, it looked fantastic.

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