Emilia is a land of good food and drink, a land of delicacies and real kings of flavour: from parmigiano reggiano to prosciutto di parma, from culatello to strolghino, from lambrusco to malvasia, our Region offers a marvellous range of food and wine to enjoy on their own or to enhance the flavours of the most elaborate dishes.

We’ve already spoken about the perfect pairings for wines from the region and beyond, but today we’d like to focus on how to match the King of Cheeses with different ingredients and dishes. Here’s our tasting advice!

Let’s begin with cured meats, another gem from our region: a dish of mixed cured meats will certainly be at its best when paired with a 24-month parmigiano, as would culatta, a delicate flower of Emilian cured pork that will melt in your mouth, balancing the sweetness of the fatty yet flavourful meats with the lively flavour of the finest of cheeses.

The 24-month parmigiano is also perfect for enriching a fresh salad, seasoned with a drizzle of traditional balsamic vinegar (make sure it is certified) and a high-quality oil, or for pairing with nuts and figs to create an unusual yet delicious starter that is perfect for parties if we go for dried figs.

Moving on to a 36-month parmigiano reggiano, the only choice is pairing it with first courses. We recommend it on its own on high-quality egg pasta (homemade is best) along with a thin layer of butter, or to make extra creamy risottos, especially for risotto alla parmigiana, perhaps served in a dish covered with slices of incredibly soft prosciutto crudo di Parma which will melt with the heat from the rice, elegantly blending in with its partner par excellence in the world of cheeses.

Then there’s cappelletti, tortelli and passatelli, every traditional Emilian first course stars parmigiano reggiano as an adventurous companion in a harmony of flavours that remind you of home and warmth.

Moving on to second courses, how can we not choose parmigiano reggiano from Red Cows? This cheese will be at its best when enhanced by a mustard-based mostarda. But let’s not limit ourselves to a traditional apple mostarda, which remains the tradition par excellence, but let’s venture out to one based on pear, onion, orange or, why not, mango in a chutney version that marries tradition with exoticism.

There are thousands of pairings and thousands more can be created for this ingredient which is already a meal on its own. It accompanies and dominates a delicate balance of flavours that only the ancient wisdom of generations of cheesemakers can make.