European Art of Taste: EATing Italy

The Bangalore leg of the European Art of Taste (EAT) program has just concluded. As EAT’s Bangalore consultant, I had the pleasure of helping to put together a series of food-focused events.

The first, at Caperberry, was an art-themed event that explored the connection between art and food. Art historian Annapurna Garimella presented several great works of art that featured food – and chef Abhijit Saha created an extraordinary menu consisting of dishes (a choice of vegetarian or non-vegetarian for each course)  inspired by the art.

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Provolone cheese

Auricchio brand provolone

Auricchio brand provolone

Two years ago, I wrote this post about the cheeses I had on hand in my refrigerator. Thanks to a program called EAT (European Art of Taste), an initiative supported by the European Union and the Italian Government, I now know a whole lot more about cheese – and specifically provolone [pro-voh-LOH-nay] cheese – than I did back then. I also have to say that I will never again eat a piece of cheese without appreciation for the amount of work that goes into making it.

As part of the EAT program, I recently traveled to Cremona, in the heart of the Italy’s provolone-making Lombardia region to visit the Auricchio cheese-production unit. As one of Italy’s oldest cheese manufacturing companies, the Auricchio brand has become synonymous with provolone cheese. With good reason too – Gennaro Auricchio, the founder of the company, is widely credited with having discovered an unusual kind of rennet that gives today’s  provolone its distinctive flavor. He was also amongst the first of the provola cheesemakers from Southern Italy’s Campania region to  head north in search of a better milk supply. Provola? Yes, provola. “Provolone” merely means “large provola”.

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