Amarone & Parmigiano Reggiano: The Perfect Wedding
Amarone is hands down one of the most famous and priced red wines of the world. Loved by Italians in the first place, this outstanding wine managed to penetrate the famous markets worldwide. The reason why it’s very appreciated abroad is that Italians consider the synergy between food and wine pairing a priority.
The food & wine pairing goal is to enhance the overall experience by finding the perfect balance between food and wine. By the time you have tasted your food and swallowed your wine, your palate should be ready to go for another bite.
I hope you like classical music (but the principle could apply to jazz, rock, pop… I would say any kind of music!). You should be feeling like having a whole orchestra playing classical music within your mouth. Violins are there, flutes are there, the piano is there, and so on. Taken singularly, those instruments could already make remarkable music. But it is the overall melody that takes your breath away. You would only need the orchestra to start over. That’s the wine and food pairing.
Every wine lover knows that Amaron doesn’t go along with so many dishes. This full-bodied wine could easily overcome (and cover) elegance and delicate flavors of dishes.
We realized that we tend to stay away from such full-bodied wines, especially when dining in a Michelin starred restaurant. Our preference is a light-bodied, versatile wine that everyone can enjoy from the starter till the second course.
In other words, this big boy from Veneto is not versatile at all when it comes to food pairings. It usually requires complex and time-consuming dishes such as stew or “brasati”, or dishes with wine reductions. And needless to say, the reduction should be made by using the wine that is going to be drunk.
But what about those who are not able or don’t have time to cook? Can they still enjoy this amazing wine with food? The goal of this post is to give you one of the easiest ways (not cheapest…) to pair a great Amarone.
Amarone and Food: What To Pair With It
We usually tend to drink Amarone at the end of the dining experience. As we aren’t dessert lovers, we are always keen on replacing those calories with a long-lasting and mount filling glass of Amarone. In this case, you just drink it while “meditating” in front of a fireplace during a freezing winter evening.
But it usually happens that we want to drink an Amarone with an empty stomach. And without a stew to be paired with … o quel dommage…!.
However, we are sure that our Italian friends always have a piece of Parmigiano Reggiano at home. Problem solved…! If you have a bottle of Amarone along with it, you will have the starter, the main and the dessert as well.
Parmigiano Reggiano is produced exclusively in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna to the left of the Reno river, and Mantua to the right of the Po river.
But apart from this basic information, do you know what Parmigiano Reggiano is?
The History Of Parmigiano Reggiano:
The uniqueness of the Parmigiano Reggiano is related to its history that has lasted for centuries and continues during these days. Here some background information you might want to know before eating this succulent cheese:
- The first producers of Parmigiano were the Benedectine and Cistercian monks during the Middle Ages. Their goal was to make a cheese that could last longer.
- The first evidence of the sale of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese dates back to 1200.
- Duke of Parma Ranuccio I Farnese made the designation of origin on the 7th of August 1612 to protect the product on the market.
- On 27 July 1934 representatives of dairies in Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, and Mantua (right bank of the river Po), agreed on the need to approve a mark of origin for their cheese.
- In 1954 after the STRESA Conference the first Consortium turned into the current protection body, the Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Consortium.
- In 1992, the PDOs (Protected Designations of Origin) was approved.
- Parmigiano Reggiano was recognized as a European PDO in 1996.
Amarone and Parmigiano Reggiano: A Umami Experience
Parmigiano is probably the most umami ingredient in western cuisine. Even Massimo Bottura made a dish out of this raw material called “Five textures, five temperatures, and five levels of umami” in 1995.
But fortunately this great ingredient doesn’t necessarily need a great chef to be turned into a real masterpiece. We only need the almond-shaped knife to cut it in little pieces and a bottle of Amarone to spice things up even more.
Having the chance to taste the real Parmigiano Reggiano is a lifetime experience. And pairing it with a great bottle of Amarone will blow your mind!!!
Amarone is well known to be a full-bodied wine with low acidity, medium tannin, and high alcohol content. The endless finish of the wine is perfect to match the strong flavor of the hard cheese. In the end, after swallowing the wine, an explosion of different flavors will take over your palate.
A 12- 18 months or 22- 24 months Parmigiano Reggiano cannot stand up to the great Amarone Riserva. The 4 years of aging allows the wine to evolve and develop intense vanilla, dried black cherries, blueberries, chocolate, tobacco, and leather aromas.
A more than 40 months Parmigiano Reggiano is the best companion to taste with structured and meditation wine such any Amarone Riserva. The saltiness of the cheese with notes of spices, nuts, and meat stock gets along with the mellow structure and roundness of the wine.
If you don’t have an Amarone Riserva (by law aged 4 years) but you have a standard Amarone (by law aged 2 years), you can also go for the 22- 24 months Parmigiano.
This is the last take away for today.
Are you ready for it?
The pronounced flavors of Parmigiano Reggiano with a maturation of more than 36 months pair perfectly with the sweetness and slight acidity of some drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena or Reggio Emilia.
As we said earlier, we have never mentioned that the experience was about to be cheap. But, it is one of the easiest ways to experience the Umami flavors without hiring Massimo Bottura in your own place.
Amarone Della Valpolicella and cheeses is a classical pairing most of you probably already knew. Usually books’ suggestions are to pair Amarone with blue cheeses such as Stilton, Roquefort, and Gorgonzola which make sense to us.
But how many times did you read to pair this delicious wine with Parmigiano Reggiano and some drops of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar?
Probably it’s the first time and it’s normal, because it’s something related to the Italian tradition and culture. Next time, if you have a special dinner and you want to surprise your guests, bring this match out and you’ll give them a unique and unforgettable experience.