The Italian Almanac

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parmigiano reggiano

Chinese Can Eat It

A new ice-cream flavoured with Italy's king of cheeses, Parmigiano Reggiano, is proving a smash hit in China, its inventors said. Italo-Chinese ice-cream company La Perla said people were snapping up the creation, which is made with authentic Italian parmesan cheese, at its branches in Beijing and Shanghai.

''The taste was immediately excellent, but the biggest problem was getting the consistency right,'' said La Perla director Roberto Longoni. ''We found that the secret was to choose an 18-month-old cheese, which is sweeter and more elastic,'' he said. ''Given the success of this flavour, we plan to keep selling it and also to offer it to the restaurant chefs who we regularly supply with ice creams and sorbets,'' he added.

Simone Ficarelli, marketing head of the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium, said the ice-cream got the thumbs-up from the cheese's producers. ''It's an ice-cream made entirely by hand, in the same way we traditionally make our cheese,'' he said.

La Perla offers over 400 other flavours of hand-made Italian ice-cream in addition to the parmesan flavour. But a Gorgonzola cheese flavour is not included, yet.