Happy Vines Culinaire

Happy Vines Private Kitchen
updated: 18 November 2015
" Wine is the intellectual part of a meal."
Alexandre Dumas' Dictionary of Cuisine, 1873

Souvenirs of Reggio EmiliaSouvenirs from 2015 Lambrusco Wine Competition. We were invited to evaluate & consider importing these very enjoyable wines that go marvelously with lighter foods similar to cuisine of Emilia Romagna.Lambrusco basicsA showcase of  Lambrusco wines from a major wine co-operative that produce some very drinkable wines at sensible prices.
Asian buyersOur first meal in Reggio Emilia with fellow buyers from Malaysia and Thailand. A typical restaurant in this small but prosperous town featuring the local cuisine.Proscuitto de ParmaTheir famous produce, Proscuitto di Parma, displayed proudly above the diners at this elegant restaurant in Reggio Emilia.
TortelliniElegant servings of Tortellini stuffed with Pork, dressed with a light broth with a spicy salsa on the side. A generous bowl of their famous Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is offered to complete the dish.

Our Malaysian friends could not resist their first taste of Proscuitto di Parma, as well.
Fresh ravioli filled with spinach is a dish light on the stomach. Meant to be drizzled with Parmigiano Reggiano.
Parmigiano RegianoA standard wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese weighing about 30kgs each. On the rind, note the various official markings that confirms this product is an authentic DOP product.Ageing Parmigiano ReggianoAs the cheese ages on these racks, they are turned regularly to ensure even maturing. Excess fat that ozzes out are also wiped clean. This maintenance work is done either manually or by using a robot.
Collecting the fresh cheeseThe equivalent of 2 wheels of cheese is being carefully eased out of the whey by dedicated workers. The yield of fresh cheese weights about 100kgs each in each container. Thus, teamwork is essential.Salting the cheeseAfter draining the fresh cheese, it is cut in two before being moulded into their characteristic shape. At this stage, the cheese weighs in at about 40kgs. More moisture is lost during the ageing process, resulting in mature wheels weighing about 30kgs each.
Red cow for Parmigiano RossoSay "Hello!" to the premium milk producer. The red cow is native to the region but produce 1/3 less milk than the "imported" black & white cows. Premium cheese producers offer this Parmigiano, which has a distinctively higher fat content & flavour.The breed that produces Parmigiano cheeseThe typical black & white cow breed that is used throughout the region to produce cheese. It is not native of Emilia Romagna but is favoured because of the higher milk yields compared to the Red Cow. The milk cows feed largely on a grass diet supplemented by some grains.
CodeluppiCodeluppi is a medium-sized Parmigiano Reggiano producer near Reggio Emilia. The scene is mid-morning in late October. They are one of the minority cheese producers, who farm their own cows to produce the cheese.Casks of Balsamic VinegarThe other famous product of Emilia Romagna is Aceto Balsamico. Here is the ageing cellar of an organic producer. The casks, of decreasing sizes, are all hand-made to the specification of the producer. Some of these casks are already pre-sold to quality restaurants or individuals.
Curing pork productsThese are organic-certified cured meats ageing in a purpose built underground cellar. These naturally cured sausages are made from different parts of the pig and fetch different prices upon maturity. The most coveted is the leg ham.Local products for saleThe certified-organic producer's store featuring his many organic products for sale to the public.
Simple lunch in Reggio EmiliaLunch at a village eatery hosted by Codeluppi. It is ham, cheese, pastries and Lambrusco wines, of course.Restaurant in Reggio EmiliaDinner at one of the better restaurants of Reggio Emilia.
Typical dishes of Emilia RomagnaA buffet spread for lunch in between buyer-seller meetings held throughout the day. Here, their unmissable item - Parma ham, thinly sliced to savour its complex flavours.Emilia Romagna dishesStuffed puff-pastries are a favourite in Reggio Emilia. Delicate & light, the stuffings are mainly healthy produce of spinach with cheese or pork.
Lunch in BolognaInky dark red Lambrusco from Mantova district. The fizz lifts the flavours of these easily extracted highly coloured wines, yet they are not heavy on the tongue. A pleasure to drink with pasta, ham & cheese.GnocchiGnocchi is a well-loved pasta from this region. This was served during lunch by 3 handsome young entreprenuers on a side street of Bologna. Generous to a fault, complementary wine were served with our midday meal.
An intimate tavern in BolognaIt was our last dinner in Bologna. My nose instinctively told me that I would enjoy this little trattoria on a quiet street close to the University quarter of Bologna. This 20-odd seater was full.  A 15-minute wait was well worth it.Roast rabbit for dinnerMy main course for the night was a whole side of roast rabbit in a delightful white sauce. The red house wine complemented it beautifully.

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