5 Things to Know About Parmigiano-Reggiano

1. The 80- to 90-lb wheels of cheese designated as Parmigiano-Reggiano must only be made by approved producers. They are made by traditional methods that have been used for more than nine centuries.

2. We choose to have our Parmigiano-Reggiano aged for 24 months—longer than most. We think this has the best balance of flavor, texture, and aroma. The wheels are carefully aged in special rooms where they are cleaned and kept at specific temperatures and humidity.

3. As the cheese ages, peptones, peptides, and free amino acids form. When these crystalize, they give Parmigiano-Reggiano its distinctive, slightly crunchy texture, as well as making it a healthy, easy to digest food.

4. After aging for one year, professional cheese testers from the Parmigiano-Reggiano Consortium scrutinize each wheel for maturation, aroma, color, consistency, and internal structure. After passing inspection, the wheel is branded with the Consortium’s symbol and finishes aging.

5. Once a wheel is opened, it’s susceptible to oxidation, like a fine wine, and should be wrapped in clean plastic wrap. Store in the warmest part of the fridge and never freeze.

 

DLM’s Todd Templin, front right, visits the aging room for Parmigiano-Reggiano and takes in the wonderful aromas of a freshly split wheel.

 

DLM Food Explorer Viva Italia

On my first trip to Italy some years ago, I was surprised to learn that Tuscans largely ignore balsamic vinegar, and Milanese favor rice over pasta. And right in between Milan and Tuscany you find many recognizable delicacies from lasagna to Prosciutto di Parma to balsamic vinegar in the region of Reggio Emilia. Hazelnuts are a big deal in the north and hot peppers in the south.

You learn that when speaking of Italy’s great food culture, it’s impossible to describe it without putting it in a regional context. Maybe it’s the Italian connection to the land, a long culinary history, or simply local pride. In any case, discovering the regional foods of Italy is both educational and incredibly fun. Over the years, so many of us at DLM have traveled to Italy to discover its food treasures, and we’ve made it a point to bring a number of those back to you.

You see Italy’s influence at DLM in the Italian products themselves, like our Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil hailing from the hills of Tuscany or our Parmigiano-Reggiano from Modena. Other times, you’ll find its reach in the form of a technique we’ve learned from studying with Italian masters that we then replicate here, such as our DLM Handmade Mozzarella, Naples-Style Pizza, and Tuscan butcher-inspired specialty prepared meats, to name a few. As you can imagine, we could write a book on our passion for Italian food, but for the purpose of giving some focus, we are spotlighting a few regions of Italy that have inspired us the most: Tuscany, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, and Southern Italy, mainly Calabria and Sicily.

We’ll be celebrating Italy all month culminating with our Food Explorer Day taking place May 18. Join us for great fun and good Italian eating on our next stop as Food Explorers…buon appetito!

TUSCANY

FOOD

Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (GROCERY), Pane Toscano (BAKERY), Pecorino Toscano (THE DLM CHEESE SHOP), Italian Oven-Ready Meats (MEAT)

WINE

CAPPONE CHIANTI CLASSICO – Count Sebastiano Capponi is a dear friend to DLM, hailing from his lovely Tuscan estate that’s been in his family since 1524! This young-vine Chianti is named for the first ancestor of Sebastiano. It’s 100% Sangiovese, brimming with beautiful fruit and richness.

VILLA CALCINAIA CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA – 100% Sangiovese from the best blocks of old vines near Greve in Chianti. It’s a well-structured wine that’s full of rich black fruits, leather, spice, cigar box notes, and supple tannins.

FONTALEONI VERNACCIA DI SAN GIMIGNANO – A wonderfully dry, minerally, and extremely pleasing white wine from the surrounding vineyards of the hilltop town of San Gimignano.

CAMPANIA

FOOD

Naples-Style Pizza (DLM WASHINGTON SQUARE & SPRINGBORO), San Marzano Tomatoes D.O.P. (GROCERY), DLM Handmade Mozzarella (THE DLM CHEESE SHOP)

WINE

COLLI DI LAPIO ROMANO CLELIA FIANO DI AVELLINO – A white wine from the Avellino province and a varietal the Romans called Vitis Apiana, vine beloved of bees. It’s dry, lovely, and has hints of pear and hazelnut, floral tones, and a hint of minerality.

EMILIA-ROMAGNA

FOOD

Prosciutto di Parma (DELI), Mortadella (DELI), DLM Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (GROCERY), Lasagna (GOURMET TAKEAWAY), Parmigiano-Reggiano (THE DLM CHEESE SHOP)

WINE

CASALI ROSA DI ROSA RED SPARKLING WINE – Perfect chilled with a plate of charcuterie enjoyed al fresco with its bright raspberry/blueberry fruit and soft bubbles.

LO DUCA LAMBRUSCO REGGIANO – Lambrusco does not exactly excite most after we’ve suffered so many terrible mass-produced and exported representations of this wine. However, Lo Duca is bright, semi-sweet, and has a naturally carbonated essence. Try it in a cocktail.

SOUTHERN ITALY (CALABRIA + SICILY)

FOOD

Cannoli (BAKERY), DLM Gelato (FROZEN), Scalia Anchovies (GROCERY), Marinated Anchovies (SEAFOOD BAR)

WINE

VILLA POZZI NERO D’AVOLA – The Pozzi family is a fifth-generation winemaking family located on the island of Sicily.

DONNAFUGATA ANTHILIA BIANCO – An amazingly crisp, minerally, and vibrant white wine blend from Sicily that’s perfect for light seafood dishes, salad, or poultry.

 

The Treasures of Tuscany

Over the years we’ve had the great fortune to travel to Italy several times to find new and exciting foods to bring back to DLM. Often, our home base is Tuscany. Our good friend and partner Alex Zanetti has graciously hosted us at his villa in the small medieval town of Lucignano. The rolling hills of this part of Tuscany are home to the olive trees that produce our signature Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. Made exclusively of Tuscan olives, it’s virgin pressed and bottled within a few miles of the olive groves. Its distinctive peppery notes are indicative of Tuscan oils and makes it our go-to olive oil for vinaigrettes, sauces, or simply drizzled over grilled meats or pasta dishes.

A trip abroad a few years back took several DLM food explorers, left, to Tuscany. One stop was at the estate of Count Sebastiano Capponi, right, whose beautiful wine we carry.

Not far from Lucignano is the better known town of Montepulciano. On our last visit, we enjoyed strolling through the street market, sampling pici (long cut pasta that is significantly thicker than spaghetti), pork sandwiches, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Some of the pictures on this page are from that trip. It’s a pleasure to be able to share some of our food finds with you this month.

The olives used in our Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil are grown on the Zanetti family’s estate. This olive oil has flavor, balance, and a peppery kick. Middle, Alex Zanetti shows DLM’s Scott Achs the olive grove.

Campania

The Italian Renaissance is widely known for a rebirth of art, culture, and literature. During that time period, Naples, which is located in the region of Campania, is largely credited for the modern birth of one of the quite arguably most popular foods—pizza. So beloved, Pizza Margherita was created by a Neopolitan pizza maker to honor Queen Margherita. Today, we love to create this flavor at our Naples-Style Pizza Station using those signature ingredients with our homemade red sauce, DLM Handmade Mozzarella (another handmade Naples favorite we make at DLM), and whole basil.

When we first sought to bring an authentic pizza-eating experience to DLM, we looked no further than the pizza-making style of Naples. We believe that to master this style, these components need to be just right: The dough (which is Made Right Here), a pizza oven to yield a crispy crust with chewy interior, correct technique when working with the dough, and the quality of ingredients as well as manner that they are applied.

Truly Toscano

For me, Tuscany is where Italian cooking begins. Low-lying hills with clean, graceful curves and a forest of vineyards make the countryside a temple of beauty. When I traveled there in 2001, my assignment was to study in an Italian butcher shop and bring knowledge home of these oven-ready specialty meats that have made the area famous.

Even now, the memories of sharing a bottle of Chianti Classico with Stefano Falorni in the Piazza Matteotti seems like just yesterday. Stephano and his brother Lorenzo are the fifth-generation owners of the Antica Macelleria Falorni located in Greve, the heart of the Chianti district. I spoke six words of Italian and they bested me by speaking seven words of English. Yet, the language of great food made with superb ingredients is universal. So when you see these gorgeous oven-ready meats in our Meat case, we can all thank our friends in that family-owned butcher shop.

MONTASTICI

Boneless eye-of-round beef thinly sliced and rolled with mozzarella cheese and prosciutto.

ARISTA PRONTA DA CUOCERE

Pork roast seasoned with fresh rosemary and garlic.

PORCHETTA

Boneless pork rolled with fresh pork belly.

PORK CUTLETS SIENNA

Thick-cut pork chops pounded into cutlets and breaded.

POLLO RIPIENO

Boneless chicken stuffed with ground pork, veal, and bread crumbs and seasoned with rosemary, salt, pepper, and garlic.

FAGOTTINI DI POLLO

Boneless chicken thighs seasoned with fresh rosemary and garlic.

PETTO DI TACCHINO

Boneless turkey breast stuffed with fresh basil, garlic, and fennel.

5 reasons we Love our New DLM Bath Bombs!

Bath bombs are exploding with popularity to help relax, rejuvenate, and revitalize your body, mind, and soul. So, we researched and came a across a local shop that is a member of the Handcrafted Soap Guild and is passionate about using natural, simple ingredients to create handmade products. Now you can turn bath or shower time into spa aromatherapy time. Our new DLM Bath Bombs are available in 6 fragrances including:  Pink Lilac, Pink Grapefruit, Lavender Rose, Green Tea, Florida Fresh, and Eucalyptus Spearmint.

  1. They are beautiful, fun, and easy to use.

    Bath bombs look beautiful when they’re sitting in a clear jar on your bathroom counter. And as soon as you fill your bathtub with warm water and drop one in the tub, all the excitement begins as you watch the fizzy bubbles come to the surface, enjoy its lovely color, and gorgeous fragrance.

  2. They create a spa-like atmosphere in the comfort of your home. 

    Life is busy and we can’t always make time to go to the spa. Bath bombs help create the perfect ending to any type of day.   You just need some calm music, tea candles, fine wine, and a good book to relax your worries away!

  3. They are all natural and use organic essential oils.

    The local shop that we partnered with is a member of the Handcrafted Soap Guild and is passionate about using natural, simple ingredients to create handmade products.

  4. They are good for your skin.

    A bath bomb adds emollients and softeners to your bath’s water that moisturize and indulge your skin. No matter what your skin type, the beneficial ingredients in bath bombs leave it soft and silky. Yes, it’ll cleanse your skin, but the ingredients inside will also pamper and soothe it. 

  5. They have aromatherapy benefits.

    The scent lingers on your skin and stays with you all day.  If you’re taking your bath in the morning, you’ll want to opt for an energizing scent like Grapefruit or Florida Fresh. It wakes up tired skin and a sleepy mind, and helps you face the challenges of the day. If you’re taking your bath in the evening, consider calming, relaxing scents like Lavender Rose.

Our shower tablets are similar to bath bombs but for those of us who don’t have the time to take a bath. Simply place the shower steamer in your shower away from direct water flow and enjoy as you breathe in the vapor filled with natural organic essential oils. DLM Shower Tablets come in the following scents: Energizing, Relaxation, and Sinus.

Hot Sauce Hurrah

Hot sauce is one condiment we cannot live without. It’s a sure way to kick your dish up a notch, and with the varying levels of heat you’re able to pick the one that’s perfect for you. We’ve selected a few of our favorites, each bringing its own flavors and complexities to your favorite meals.

1. Crazy Uncle Jester’s Jamaican Hellfire

Dayton-based, award-winning sauce with tropical flavor and heat. Pear purée combines with habaneros, serranos, jalapeños, and sweet bell peppers.

2. Bravado Spice Co. Pineapple & Habanero

This hot sauce has the perfect balance as it’s sweet and spicy, packed with real chilies and fruit.

3. Fix Sriracha

Inspired by a trip to Vietnam, Fix Sriracha was born. It’s simple, clean, and authentic, making it the perfect addition to your bowl of pho.

4. Dave’s Gourmet Insanity Sauce

Kick things up a notch! Add an insane boost to soups, burritos, burgers, and more with this intensely hot sauce.

5. TRUFF Hot Sauce

Crowned with a “truffle” cap, it’s a blend of ripe chili peppers, organic agave nectar, black truffle, and savory spices.

6. Cholula Green Pepper Hot Sauce

Uncap flavor with this zesty combo of jalapeño and poblano peppers in this medium heat sauce.

7. Chilau Original Pepper Sauce

Paying homage to his grandmother’s Crab Chilau recipe, Michael Anderson created this all-natural pepper sauce.

8. Uncle Snorey Taste Bud Annihilator

Locally made in Hamilton, Ohio, you’ll find all-natural ingredients and the ultimate combination of heat and flavor.

Lamb: A Delicious Sign of Spring

Growing up, my husband’s family had ham every single Easter, whereas at my house, our holiday meal centerpiece rotated between lamb, fish, or the occasional ham. We still debate over which one of our meals was the best. Of course, I think mine was always better as I loved the changing variety of that spring celebration meal. What did your family have on the spring celebration table growing up?

Although ham is an easy choice for a delicious centerpiece, especially when you have our signature Heavenly Ham® as an option, a roasted leg of lamb can be a bit more showy. Even though it looks and tastes ultra-elegant, it really is pretty simple to make at home. After experimenting with several recipes, one of my favorites is Rosemary & Garlic Lamb.

I also love how lamb pairs so nicely with other “springy” things like asparagus, goat cheese, tender lettuces, and the newly released rosés that combine to make a delightful meal. So if you haven’t mixed up your menu lately, spring is always a good time to start. It may be time to save the ham and eggs for the brunch table this year and look to lamb. (Even better, you’ll notice that we’re having a Leg of Lamb Sale in this week’s Club Deals.)

Speaking of lamb, my husband and his six siblings took turns sculpting the lamb out of butter for the table centerpiece (yes, it had cloves for eyes). It was a very big deal and as grown adults they still talk fondly about making that lamb-shaped butter.

But in my family it was all about the lamb cake. My mom had a lamb cake mold that she would get out every year to make a rich, plain pound cake in the shape of this adorable animal. Then my siblings and I would get to decorate it with white buttercream frosting, coconut flakes, and whatever color jelly beans we didn’t want to eat. Although I can’t quite remember what the finished cakes looked like, I do remember how much I love that frosting/coconut combo. Who cares about jelly beans?

I’d love to hear about your springtime traditions!

So Simple, So French

It’s referred to in my vagabond family of travelers as “that salad”. A lot of the times you don’t even order it. It just always shows up. It comes as a side dish, a first course, and a lot of the times it’s served like a heavy handed garnish to round out a plate. Over many wine-fueled meals my family has complained, “Why we can’t get this kind salad at home?” My son loves it and stated a long time ago he would eat salad everyday if I only made it for him back at home. So I did, and I am happy to say that he now makes it for himself!

Click here to view my recipe for salade verte.

“That salad” is the classic French salad called salade verte and it’s served everywhere in France. I am serious here—the corner bistro, the cafeterias, the Michelin starred places, fancy burger joints, and even at the breakfast buffet at your hotel.  It is, at its most simple, a lightly dressed lettuce. No croutons, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, etc. This salad doesn’t need any of it. It is perfect in its simplicity. Light, fresh, and delicious.

Since the salad is so simple, you’ve got to get it right when trying to recreate it at home. The lettuce that is most commonly used in France is what we here in America call Boston lettuce. Boston lettuce is part of the Butterhead family of lettuce. It is slighty bigger than Bibb lettuce, which tends to be easier to find around here. The leaves of both types of these lettuces are soft and tender, so you can usually find them packed in clear plastic containers that help prevent bruising.

For the dressing (a side note—the server will not give you a choice), it’s served with vinaigrette a la moutarde.  A classic vinaigrette made with Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, oil (usually sunflower or olive oil), salt, pepper, and finely minced shallot. Not a lot of variation here, although sometimes in southern France they will sub the vinegar with lemon juice and they always use olive oil.

The more I travel back to France and other parts of Europe the more I am starting to see a trend on using a bottled dressing that tends to be whitish in color and a little sweet. I can’t tell you all how disappointing that is! What has made this salad so distinctive is the freshness of the just-made vinaigrette. Sometimes the fast shortcuts are NOT the answer!

I challenge you to get out your whisk the next time you want to make a salad! Master this and you will be enjoying this simple balanced salad for years to come.

Calling All Food Explorers!

Come with us. We’re going on a journey to faraway places and it all starts at one of the most humble destinations—your table and the foods that fill it. No bags or pass ports needed, just an appetite for discovery. Taking flight with us this month is our new Food Explorer series, which will feature culinary stops to some of the hottest food regions of the world in the months to come. First destination is France, so get ready to embrace the fromage, the food, and let’s not forget about the wine!

Our inspiration for launching this journey was not a whim. Travel has become an essential fiber of Dorothy Lane Market’s DNA. For many years at DLM, there has been an underlying philosophy woven into the culture: We travel, we taste, and we meet and learn from artisans and masters in their own craft from faraway places. Then, we bring it back to you. “That gives us passion,” says Calvin Mayne, DLM President. “We are bringing you these great experiences from around the world and it makes us happy and gives our work meaning.”

In addition to so many at DLM, Calvin’s love for travel is inspiring and it walks hand in hand with his love for great food of the world. “You see how people live, you taste, you eat … and those memories stay with you forever.” This is why you’ll find the great flavors of the world discovered during travel being brought back to DLM with authenticity and pride. You’ll see this at play when it comes to our Artisan Bread, Naples-Style Pizza, sushi, Italian-style meats, and DLM Handmade Mozzarella, to name a few. You’ll also find products that we’ve sourced from fine makers and artisans lining our shelves, from the robust wine selection to olive oils, cheeses, and cooking sauces.

“Where else do you go to a grocery store where we’ve actually visited the fisherman or where the Bakery director studied with French masters to learn how to make a baguette?” Calvin says, referring to Jack Gridley’s salmon fishing exploration to the brisk waters of Alaska, Scott Fox’s rendezvous with French bakers in Aurillac, France, Todd Templin’s wine adventure to Austria, all the way to more local treasures, like Dennis Chrisman’s trek to the Amish farms in Adams County, Ohio.

With that said, we are ecstatic to celebrate the foods from afar that you’ll find in our stores the year to come! If you’ve traveled to the regions we’ll be featuring, we hope to revive some of those most delicious memories. If you’ve yet to explore the destinations, then let us give you a small taste of what it has to offer.