A masterclass with top chef Giorgio Locatelli

If you put together two delicacies of the Italian cuisine and one of the finest Italian chefs in the UK than you have a match made in heaven.

I have been watching all the Giorgio Locatelli’s TV programs and read several of his books as I truly like his style of cooking traditional Italian food with the emphasis on quality.

When I finally met him in real life I thought blogging was well worth the effort after all!

Gathered around a large table we had a masterclass by Giorgio who demonstrated how to slice and serve a whole San Daniele prosciutto and how to crack open a wheel of Grana Padano cheese. These are two superb Italian products from Northern Italy which carry the PDO logo (Protected Designation of Origin).

So far I had only seen how to slice prosciutto in Italy when I buy it at my local supermarket but I had no idea that there was a precise technique behind it. So who could be better qualified than a top michelin star chef to teach you how to do it!

Giorgio Locatelli

Giorgio Locatelli is a very friendly guy who has the ability to put you at ease straightaway. It was like meeting the guy next door.. just so easy going. Many celebrities can have that air of superiority when they meet “ordinary people” but no, Giorgio is certainly not like that.

Grana Padano dates back to 1,100 years and it is a classic of the Italian cuisine. This cheese is said to have originated in a monastery a few kilometers away from Milan. It soon acquired the name of “Formaggio Grana” or grainy cheese because it has a grainy consistency which changes depending on how mature it is.

Grana Padano

In 1951 the production of this cheese was first regulated and the cheese differentiated between Grana Lodigiano which later became “Grana Padano” and “Parmigiano Reggiano”. Now the Consortium for the protection of Grana Padano brings together all the producers, maturers and merchants.

Grana Padano’s taste changes depending on old it is. A fresh one would be about 9 to 16 months old with a mild and milky taste, when it is more than 16 months old it has a more grainy texture and it is ideal for grating.

The oldest one,ย known as riserva, would be at least 20 months old with a distinct grainy texture and a consistent straw colour. This is great with fruit, mustart fruits and full bodied red wines.

Giorgio quickly showed us how to crack open a wheel of cheese.. Wow I think I will need to practice on this one!

cracking-open-grana-padano

After the cheese was cut he quickly made up some rolls with pear and Grana Panano cheese wrapped in San Daniele drizzled with balsamic vinegar.. I rather liked this one.

wraps with ham, cheese and pear

san-daniele-and-grana-padano

Then we moved onto the San Daniele. So far I had only seen how to open and slice a leg of ham in supermarkets in Italy.

san-daniele-ham

First you remove the layer of fat from the top and the sides until the meat is exposed and then with a sharp knife you remove the hip bone.

cutting-san-daniele-ham

Giorgio Locatelli cuts San Daniele ham

And I wasn’t expecting to have a go at it myself too…Steady!

slicing-san-daniele-ham-with-giorgio-locatelli1

Hmm.. getting better..!! But I must say it wasn’t that easy!

slicing-san-daniele-ham-with-giorgio-locatelli

I recently visited one of the San Daniele factories,ย  where you can read more about how San Daniele is produced.

Finally we were served a few delicacies including a risotto with quail, San Daniele and crunchy Grana Padano on top!

Risotto with San Daniele, Grana Padano and quail

Many thanks to the Consortiums of San Daniele and Grana Padano for inviting me to this event.

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10 Responses to A masterclass with top chef Giorgio Locatelli

  1. La cucina di Molly

    Sicuramente un evento molto interessante, bellissime le foto! Un bacione!

    • Alida

      Grazie cara un abbraccio!

  2. elisabetta

    Many families here buy legs of cured ham for the Christmas season and the hams are kept on their wood trestles waiting to be sliced. However there is a knack to it in order to obtain thin slices of fragrant ham. Lucky Alida had Giorgio holding her hand as he explained – all in the name of education of course! Prosciutto San Daniele and Grana Padano are so delicious, the risotto must have been heavenly.

    • Alida

      Ham for Christmas! How delicious! We usually have it on boxing day here in the UK but every year we try to do something different.:-)

  3. Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina

    What a wonderful opportunity to attend and learn from Alida! I would not be able to slice prosciutto thinly very well at all. Prosciutto, risotto, grans padano and instruction from a pro . . . it can’t get any better than this!

    • Alida

      It is in fact not easy to slice it thin with a knife.. you probably need lots of practice. It is delicious anyway though ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Francesca Polisano

    Bellissimo post, non conoscevo questo chef. Comunque il San Daniele รจ il mio preferito.

    • Alida

      Anche il mio!

  5. Chiara

    wow Giorgio Locatelli รจ un grande chef, che piacevole esperienza Alida !

    • Alida

      Si in gamba davvero!

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