The Culinary Calendar - August

During August we'll be celebrating two great ‘P's of Italian cooking.

Next week taking we'll be taking a look at Parma ham but this week it's the turn of Parmigiano-Reggiano, otherwise known as Parmesan cheese, which is one of the most famous finishing touches in Italian cuisine.

Just like Champagne from France, Parmesan cheese takes its name from the particular area of Italy where it's made: Parma. Italian law states that only cheese made in this, and other close by areas, can carry the Parmesan label.

This well known cheese, derived from cows' milk, can be traced back as far as the 13th century, it's recipe and form having changed little since.

Today the people of Italy - and Italian food lovers across the world - use the cheese on many different pastas, with only seafood pastas being exempt from the unique parmesan flavour. However, its use isn't limited to a topping for pasta. It's also stirred into soups and risottos and eaten on its own or with balsamic vinegar.