In praise of: red cow parmigiano reggiano

Categories: Product stories

An intensely-flavoured cheese made in Emilia Romagna, sold by Bianca e Mora

There is an Italian saying of which I am particularly fond: “La madre dei cretini é sempre incinta.” The mother of idiots is always pregnant. Given the results of several notable polls undertaken in the past couple of years, it would seem that la madre has been particularly fecund of late.

People simply can’t be trusted. Public votes on even the most mundane of subjects bear this out: tune into a radio countdown of Britain’s favourites songs and you’ll be hit with Bohemian Rhapsody and Hey Jude—an overblown showtune and a sentimental dirge; a major poll to identify the greatest ever Britons featured Michael Crawford (Frank Spencer) and King Arthur (a fictional character). The sad truth is that most people are idiots. Myself included.

That’s why I’d chosen to steer clear of Bianca e Mora’s red cow parmigiano reggiano, which has for several years topped Slow Food London’s vote to find the city’s ‘supreme champion product’. In all that time, things that win polls have brought me nothing but sadness. Something this popular, I reasoned, couldn’t possibly be good—which makes me the idiot.

Ruby red sangiovese
Made in Emilia-Romagna from the unusually fatty milk of the rare ‘vacche rosse’ (red cow), a native of the region, it is harder and less creamy than any parmigiano I’ve tried before, yellower in colour and more intense in flavour. It aches to be eaten slowly in small chunks, washed down with a glass of ruby red sangiovese. It is as far removed from mass-produced parmesan as Hey Jude is from a good Beatles song. This is a vote topper worthy of its place.

The mother of idiots may not be quite as fertile as feared.