At the World Cheese Awards, which takes place from 3rd-6th November in Oviedo in Spain, an online charity auction will be offering a very special 21-Year-Old Edible Parmigiano Reggiano Wheel of Cheese.
Some things seem to get better with age; these include George Clooney, some wines, meats, and some very special types of cheese. At an online charity auction taking place from the 27th of October through to the 6th of November, anyone in the world will be able to bid on a 21-year-old wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano – one of the oldest edible cheeses in the world.
This wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano is rather unique, as the minimum maturation period of a Parmesan wheel is 12 months, after which every individual wheel is quality-checked by a member of the Consortium. However, no maximum age has ever been set, with 24-, 36-, 40-, and 48-month Parmigiano Reggiano widely available for people to purchase.
As every age acquires unexpected and unparalleled aromas and flavours, a 21-year-old wheel of cheese is expected to be amber straw yellow with an intense toasted smell. The aromatic analysis should highlight typical leather, underwood, truffle, and smoky notes.
The cheese will probably have a special structure: dry, very crumbly, and soluble. It is an exclusive gift and a pleasant companion to be tasted with structured and meditation wines.
The cheese wheel was produced in April 2000 by the Latteria di Tabiano dairy when it was under the leadership of the late Erio Bertani. It was one of the first wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano to be awarded the prestigious “Quality of the Mountain” status by the Conva Consortium, which is responsible for the safeguarding and promotion of products from the Apennines.
The wheel was then purchased by Erio Bertani himself, who kept it in his warehouse until 2018, when his wife, Susetta Sforacchi, children, and the Nazionale Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmigiano Reggiano National Team) decided to donate it to charity in his memory.
All of the proceeds from the auction will be donated to two solidarity projects that are close to the heart of the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium: Aiutiamo il mondo di Padre Marco Canovi (“Let’s help the world by Father Marco Canovi”) and Mama Sofia, founded by Zakaria Seddiki, wife of the late ambassador to Congo, Luca Attanasio. The latter initiative is directly supported by La Forma Del Cuore (“The shape of the heart”).
Father Marco Canovi has dedicated his life to humanitarian work in Uganda, where he helped build Matany Hospital and its corresponding Nursing and Midwife School. He is passionate about providing education and a better quality of life for children and young people and has built both primary and secondary schools in the region.
Above all, the mission’s aim is to improve agricultural conditions by excavating wells, constructing drip irrigation systems, and cultivating the land. His mission in the Karamoja region has been to help local farmers create and prosper from their plantations of maize, vegetables, fruit, and other crops.
Proceeds from the auction donated to Father Canovi’s non-profit group will help to build a pediatric medical centre in the Apeitolim, which is already underway, with the construction expected to be completed by 2022. The money from the auction will be an invaluable method for the medical centre to train and recruit staff and purchase medical equipment.
La Forma Del Cuore is a project created by the Nazionale del Parmigiano Reggiano, an association of Parmigiano Reggiano dairies that promote the cheese in Italy and abroad, alongside the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium. The project has been associated with various humanitarian missions in Central Africa, including the Discalced Carmelites, the Sisters of the Incarnate Word in Central Africa and, beginning this year, the non-profit organisation, Mama Sofia.
It is being run by Zakaria Seddiki, the wife of Luca Attanasio, who served as the Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo from 2017. The Mama Sofia organisation supports women and families in situations of serious hardship in the Congo by providing healthcare, clean water, and schoolbooks for children.
Proceeds from the auction donated to La Forma del Cuore will support the Mama Sofia Medical Centre – the first medical centre dedicated to combatting malnutrition in Boma. The centre will guarantee medical support for at least 100 children every year.
The cheese wheel will be on display at the International Cheese Festival and the World Cheese Awards. Representatives from the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium will also be present throughout, where a sampling stand will be set up for attendees to learn more about Parmigiano Reggiano.
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