Monday, August 06, 2012

Parmeggiano Regiano Tartufi (Parmeggiano reggiano Truffles)

Welcome to my August newsletter, I want to dedicate this issue to Parmegiano Reggiano cheese and share a recipe Parmegiano Reggiano chocolate truffles.

The earthquake that struck northern Italy two months ago was devastating for the economy of the Emilia Romagna region. Some of the worst damage was to the casifici or dairies where Parmegiano Reggiano and Grana Padano are produced. According to Italian farmers' group Coldiretti, 10 percent of the production of Parmigiano Reggiano and two percent of Grana Padano was affected by the quake.  Around 300,000 wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano and 100,000 of Grana Padano, each weighing about 40 kg (88 pounds), were damaged when they fell off shelves in warehouses where they were undergoing the 2 years maturation process.

Coldiretti  has estimated damage to agriculture in the area at more than 200 million euros.
These are some of the sad pictures of what happened to one of the warehouses: Cooperativa Cappeletta building in San Possidonio

There are many efforts being in place to help the damaged dairies. A campaign was launched to raise funds through the purchase of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. More information about ways to help is available in the Parmeggiano Reggiano website

In any case, the easiest way to help is buying Parmegiano Reggiano. Be aware that not all parmesan sold in America is Parmegiano Reggiano. If a cheese is labeled as Parmesan, it is also a cheese that imitates the recipe for Parmigiano Reggiano, but is made without following the D.O.C. laws. To be called Parmegiano Reggiano, the cheese has to be made using a specific recipe and production method within the provinces of Parmegiano Reggiano, Modena, and specific areas in the provinces of Bologna and Mantua. After eating real parmigiano you will probably notice the difference.

Parmeggiano Regiano Tartufi (Parmeggiano Reggiano Truffles)
Makes 2 dozen truffles

- 1 ¼ cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces Parmesan rinds
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Pinch of sea salt
- ¾ cup Parmiggiano Reggiano, grated for coating

In a medium saucepan, combine the cream and Parmesan rinds. 

Simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes to  infuse it with Parmesan flavor. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for at least 1 hour. Strain the cream and discard the rinds. In a double boiler over barely simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Whisk the infused cream into the chocolate.

 Cover and refrigerate until the chocolate is set (for at least 3 hours or overnight). Using a melon baller, or a teaspoon, scoop out the chocolate mixture and roll between your palms into balls about 1½ inches in diameter. 

Place on a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate again, until set and no longer tacky. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll each truffle in the grated parmesan. 

Slide the pan into the fridge and chill for at least 1 hour. Remove from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.