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Under the Arches with the Perfect Italian Pair

It was under the arches of East London that the celebratory lunch was held to showcase the perfect pairing, of Italy's Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena vinegar. It might not have been set in the beautiful Emilia Romagna region of Northern Italy, where these products emanate, but it was a truly gorgeous setting nevertheless, in the heart of London, a stones throw from Bethnall Green tube station. The lunch was part of The Culinary Project to promote the qualities of these P.D.O. (Protected Designation of Origin) products. Not only do they need to be produced in a specific area, but they also need to undergo rigorous quality testing to make the mark. sager and wilde bar The bar at Sager + Wilde sager and wilde table setting The table setting. The event began with a welcome glass of fizz. We were then seated and tastings and informative talks began, regarding the Parmesan and Balsamic products from the respective Consortiums, namely, Simone Ficarelli and Mario Gambigliani. We were treated to samples of Parmigiano Reggiano that were 18 month, 24 month and 36 month, the older it was the more granular and complex flavours, and aged 12 year and 25 year Balsamico, the older one being thicker in consistency and sweeter taste. They are sold in special bottles-cruets, each numbered with a guarantee seal.<p> And so the meal began. The bespoke menu was created by Sager + Wilde's head chef, Chris Leach and guest chef, Gianpaolo Raschi, head chef of Michelin Star restaurant 'Ristorante Guido' in Rimini, Italy. sager and wilde menu The menu It was an absolute triumph! A very creative menu, expertly executed, to deliver maximum flavour to the dishes. squid with spinach Squid with spinach, duck liver, red onion with 12 year Aceto Balsamic Tradizionale di Modena PDO. Gianpaolo Raschi passatello with chickpeas, clams and rosemary Passatello Romagnolo with 24 month Parmigiano Reggiano PDO, chickpeas, clams and rosemary. Gianpaolo Raschi beef sausage Beef sausage with 30 month Parmigiano Reggiano PDO, fried potato and burnt shallot. Chris Leach The meal was finished with some very rich, deep and deliciously sweet, baked figs and vanilla ice cream, a perfect end to a perfect meal. chris leach and gianpaolo Raschi From Left: Gianpaolo Raschi, Head Chef, Ristorante Guido and Christ Leach, Head Chef, Sager + Wilde empty plate Many thanks to all those involved in creating such a fantastic, memorable event. For more info please visit : parmigianoreggiano.com; balsamico.it/gb/index.htm; sagerandwilde.com; ristoranteguido.it

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