Parmesan cheese in popular culture:
Not just cheese, more than a staple for those in Emilia-Romagna and the entire word, Parmesan Cheese is a myth, a tradition and at the core of Italian cuisine. The elderly of Modena, one of the areas where the production of Parmesan is safeguarded and brought forward, have always considered Parmigiano Reggiano a cheese with energetic and energizing properties, but there’s more. They also believe this cheese to have aphrodisiac properties and to be able to make those who eat it “horny”. The younger generations might not know of this bit of trivia from their parents or grandparents, but Parmigiano cheese is said to enhance a person’s sexual desire. This was considered a legend until recently, as it hadn’t been proved by scientific research, but folk tales do prove to be true sometimes, as is the case for Parmesan.
Parmesan cheese and science:
Local professor Mario Baraldi (http://www.fondazionebaraldi.com/curriculum.php) has a 50 years’ long experience in pharmacology and started researching Parmigiano Reggiano’s purported aphrodisiac properties with a scientific study based on the fact that about 15/20% of the male population has erectile dysfunction. His study was conducted on sexually sluggish male rats and then published on the Journal of Pharmacy and Nutrition Science because the professor discovered that feeding Parmesan cheese to the rats over a period of time improved their sexual performance. In fact, Parmesan is constituted for the 30% of free amino acids that are precursors and building blocks for nervous system stimulants such as dopamine.
Parmesan cheese and its synergic effect with traditional Balsamic vinegar:
Often the two products are consumed together. It’s really an experience to try, and purely from a gastronomic standpoint it’s something you’ll have to taste for yourself to completely appreciate the characteristics and strengths of both foods. The salty, grainy consistence of the cheese, paired with the smooth, sweet but slightly sour taste of Balsamic vinegar (also traditionally produced in the area of Modena and nearby) meet in an extremely enjoyable way. Balsamic is advertised as being a good partner for a wide array of different foods and dishes, but pairing it with Parmigiano Reggiano is like a meeting that was meant to happen. Some people pour a few drops on top of the cheese – which must not be cut in a straight direction, but flaked roughly with a special knife – while other people prefer to pour a small pool of Balsamic vinegar on their plates and dip the Parmesan flake in it. The different qualities of Balsamic vinegar ease the choice, since the more expensive the product chosen, the less drops each of us will use, both for the quality and the quantity needed to appreciate the taste.
Professor Baraldi reckons that consuming both products together can prove beneficial: the Balsamic vinegar helps the stomach in receiving and absorbing the cheese because of its unique sweet and sour taste. This way, the synergy created is not only a pleasant eating experience for your palate, but also for your body and sexual life.