At H&D, our adventure into gluten free food has raised plenty of questions about exactly what goes into the best quality food. Gluten is obviously a no-no for us but we also steer clear of additives and preservatives, preferring to opt for the freshest ingredients we can find and natural methods of preserving. Many of our recipes are vegetarian but if we do use meat, it’s great quality and organically farmed for the best flavour. The fruit and vegetables we use are organic too. This ethos means we can be confident that our food not only tastes delicious but it’s as beautifully simple and unadulterated as it can possibly be.
We apply the same stringent quality controls to the cheese we use in our Healthy and Delicious gluten free recipes...
...as we do to all our other fresh Italian ingredients. It’s very important for those of us who are following a gluten free lifestyle to ensure we’re getting all the nutrients we need, but it’s just as key that everyone has enough calcium rich dairy in their diets for optimum health (especially once we get to a certain age). Cheese can be a brilliant source of calcium and like all Italians, we love our classic Italian cheeses and have made it a priority to find suppliers of parmesan and mozzarella that we can be really proud to buy from.
Take our mozzarella supplier for example ‘La Latteria’, founded by Simona di Ventri whose family has a successful business focussed on artisanal products. Simona moved to London from her native Italy but felt that despite the amazing culinary repertoire which the capital boasts, she missed truly authentic Italian mozzarella. Hence La Latteria was born and Simona hasn’t looked back.
Like Healthy & Delicious, the ingredients which La Latteria use are sourced from trusted producers, organically where possible. Their fabulously milky, deliciously tasty mozzarella is a result of traditional, artisan cheese making skill and experience. It’s the perfect addition to our baked Italian dishes and makes an amazing simple treat for the buffet table.
The parmesan cheese we use at Healthy and Delicious has a much more complex and chequered history...
As we always seek to use the best and most authentic ingredients (like our H&D olive oil), only the true ‘King of Cheeses’ - Parmigiano Reggiano will do for us and we source it directly through the Parmigiano Consortium in Parma in Italy. This is an organisation rich in tradition, originally established to control and regulate the production and sale of parmesan - so we can rest assured that every piece of our parmesan has met strict criteria required for accreditation.
Parmigiano Reggiano was first created in the Middle Ages. It’s mentioned in Samuel Pepys writings and appears in scripts of Marco Polo’s adventures. Throughout history this prized Italian cheese has been the target of Mafia driven organised crime, has been officially identified as one of the healthiest cheeses because of its high levels of amino acids, and has narrowly missed falling foul of the 2012 earthquakes when thousands of parmesan wheels (key to the authentic production of parmesan) were damaged.
Parmigiano Reggiano’s Italian provenance combined with its uniquely gritty texture and strong, tangy flavour, make it the ideal ingredient for adding to our authentic Italian Healthy and Delicious dishes. Mixing rich parmesan with the mellow flavour of mozzarella is a match made in heaven. We’ve worked hard to source the best ingredients for our Healthy and Delicious dishes and we’re particularly proud of these two fabulous cheeses. Truly the perfect Italian combination.
(The cheese images above are from the 'La Latteria' website and the Parmigiana Consortium website. They're both full of interesting information and well worth a visit.)