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Tasting Parm Again For The First Time

Updated: Feb 14

When’s the last time you had Parmesan cheese straight from Italy? Well, actually, every time you enjoy a Boone Dog pie. You see, it’s a special moment experiencing authentic Italian Parmesan, and Boone Dog wants to offer this scent, this flavor, this texture, this connection to an Italian tradition with every pizza served through the cart window.

Many say tasting this cheese is like tasting parmesan again for the first time. Or at least I know that’s how I felt. There’s a craft behind every bite that’s rare to experience in this world of industrial foods. It’s as if you’re experiencing a lineage of artisans, from the farmer to the dairy to the cheese maker to the chef. There’s a connection to heritage techniques that express the specific Italian landscape from which the cheese was made, the particular breed of cow, the specific grasses and forage, and a millennial cheesemaking history you just can’t find in the United States.

Parmesan made in this tradition is basically an expression of the landscape from which it came. Authentic Italian Parmigiana Reggiano comes from a small area north of Tuscany and south of the Dolomites. The area includes the valleys, foothills, and parts of the Apennine Mountains that are surrounded by the Po River to the north and Reno River to the east. Parmigiana Reggiano is one of the first protected designation of origins (PDO) established in the European Union, and all producers belong to the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Consortium) founded in 1928. This consortium creates and enforces the standards for the PDO.

Therefore, the cows are fed only local grass or hay producing grass fed milk. Only natural whey culture is allowed as a starter and the only additive allowed is Mediterranean sea salt. The aroma and flavor of the cheese differs depending on what the cows have been eating. The season of the grasses and the location of the forage, whether it’s the valley, foothill, or mountain, all influence the expression of this cheese. So each dusting of parm on a Boone Dog pizza connects you to this heritage, this standard of quality, this unique natural landscape.

The Parmigiano Reggiano is shipped from Italy straight to Sisters, Oregon as a giant beautiful wheel. And this wheel has been aged to create the taste and texture that you find on a Boone Dog pie. As this cheese ages, the texture becomes more slivery and granular, the scent more nutty and intense, and the flavor more savory and deep. Once it arrives to The Barn Kitchen, it’s carefully broken open by one of our chefs. There’s an art to hand cutting a wheel of Parmigiana Reggiano using traditional almond shaped knives that encourage it to split open in two, then quarters, and eventually the crumble we’re all familiar with as parmesan cheese.

Perhaps this might explain why we don’t have shakers or packets of parm to offer, but instead sprinkle by hand with care and intention. With each Boone Dog pie, it’s an opportunity to become present and notice the experience of authentic Italian Parmigiano Reggiano; its tradition, its heritage, its craft, its quality, its landscape, its season, its time honored age, its aroma, its texture, and of course its flavor.

You can find the Boone Dog Pizza Menu here.

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