Cheesy ponderings. Part one.

Parmigiano Reggiano or Parmesan?

Parmigiano Reggiano is one of the best known hard cheeses of northern Italy, but did you know that production dates back at least nine centuries?  In recent years it has been strictly regulated and the process closely controlled, earning it the approval stamp on its golden rind to confirm it is DOP, that is Protected Denomination of Origin, much as in the classification and controls of wine production.

As with all good things there will be cheeky imitations trying to take the glory, and often the name Parmesan is used for cheeses that bear no resemblance nor heritage to the genuine article.  So whilst you can argue, perhaps, that parmesan is a straight translation of the word Parmigiano, aficionados would argue that it is the not the same things at all!

‘Potayto’ . . . ‘Potahto’ you might say. 

But if we are to be truly representational of Lino’s beloved homeland and boast that we are an authentic Italian Ristorante then we must do our best to honour the traditions, and endeavour to bring the best and most authentic of foodie goodies to your table as we are able to source.

Lino’s social media post a few weeks ago showed these lovely chunks for Parmigano with the caption, “No words needed” and there you have it . . . perfetto!

Ciao for now

Sarah x

 

Posted on May 31, 2019 .

A BRIDGE TO FARM . . .

In our quest to keep it as local as we are able, despite our Italian origins, and our desire to play our part in reducing carbon footprints, and actually, just because some things local really are the very best you can get; we have worked with John and Jill Vickers of Bridge 67 for some years now,  initially with a view to being involved in the cookery school but more recently Lino has enjoyed learning more about the origins of the cattle, the care extended to the livestock at Binley Bridge Farm, and the fantastic quality of the meat we are subsequently able to serve at both The Lighthouse and Boboli.

 The Vickers family have been farming in Kibworth since the 1930s and their enthusiasm for rearing their cattle and lambs in the best possible environment has had a massive impact on the local environs, not only tending to the fields for pasture but also tending to true conservation. 

Planting trees and hedgerows and enhancing watercourses all impacts on the flourishing wildlife and general beauty of our canal paths and the many beautiful public walks in our local countryside . . .  watch out for John’s rant on wildlife, conservation, limitations and bureaucracy . . . he has a point and makes it so passionately you cannot help but admire the family’s commitment.

It is a joy to work with them, supporting their endeavours and serving some of the best beef and lamb for miles around.

 A presto,

 Sarah x

Posted on May 17, 2019 .

Holy Poli Grappa!

POLI BY NAME, GRAPPA BY NATURE . . .

Grappa is almost a national treasure of our native Italy and it varies hugely from region to region.  Some, mistakenly, refer to it as Italian brandy but brandy is distilled from the fermented grape, both the juice and the lees, grappa, on the other hand, is distilled from the pomace, that is only the skins and seeds and none of the juice.

There are many distinguished families who respectfully nurture and produce their own grappa but we, quite naturally, fall in line with our namesake, the House of Poli!  The Polis have been producing grappa since the 1400s but the actual distillery was founded in 1898.  As you might imagine, they certainly know a thing or two about the many nuances and vagaries of grappa.  They are to be found in the heart of the Veneto, the region most renowned for Grappa and are not only committed to carrying on the family’s tradition of exceptional production but also to give Grappa the profile it deserves, opening the eyes of the public to its more subtle and elegant style.  So, cast aside your instant thought of grappa, akin to rocket fuel, absinthe and suchlike . . . review your approach and have a go!

We have in our time boasted a full list of grappa.  Did you know that the distillation will vary depending on the grape varietal . . . not that different from wine production really and the ageing process, in oak maybe, gives it rich amber colour and super smooth palate!

These days we have the Secca, a more dry flavour, from the Merlot grapes; the Morbida, softer and slightly sweet, from the White and Orange Blossom Muscat grapes; and the Miele, an Acacia honey infused grappa, using the honey from Piero’s Bees, (seriously, this local chap has his hives and grazes his bees in the Veneto foothills, and at 80 plus is still more energetic and fruity fit than many, thanks to the honey or maybe his grappa).  This liquor has so much pure honey distilled into it you could call it an energy drink . . .and it slips down all too well.

 So, go do your research and grapple with the question of grappa . . . meanwhile we pledge to serve the best the Poli can bring you. I may even extend the range to include one or two of the oak-aged little beauties that will transport you to a whole new level of lovely!

Ciao for Now!

 Sarah x

Posted on May 10, 2019 .