Discover The Origins – A Parmigiano Reggiano & Parma Ham Masterclass with Juliet Harbutt

Hello to all my Readers on this Bank Holiday weekend 🙂

Thank you for your patience on this post as I have been incredibly busy this week inside & outside of work. The most exciting news this week is that I have been asked to join the Judges at the British Cheese Awards at the Royal Bath & West Show on Tuesday, this is a very exciting opportunity for me and I cannot wait to report back to you all on my next post.

For now I bring you the article about the Discover the Origins master class.

On Monday 12th May I attended a Master class evening with Mike Elkins (From Waitrose Lymington) held at the Marriott West Cliff Hotel, Bournemouth. Discover The Origin is a campaign paid for from the European Union as well as funding from Italy, France and Portugal to promote five key European products: Bourgogne Wines, Parma Ham, Douro Wines, Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese and Port. They are free events held across the country that anyone can sign up to but unfortunately it will be stopped soon, If you would like to go you can find out more at

Before I begin I’m going to summarise briefly and all I can say is what a brilliant 2 hours! I loved every minute of it and was so happy that I got to meet Juliet Harbutt who wrote the book in the picture above and the book is available here The passion she has for these products is evident when she talks about them and that ignites the room with the same passion for these products when you leave. This was true with Mike Elkins who was a little sceptical on the evening to begin with but by the end he truly appreciated the evening.

When we arrived into the meeting room of the hotel we sat at a lovely table with the 5 products laid out and numbered so we could all taste them at the same time, there were press packs with all the info we would need about these products including tasting notes from the evening. Juliet introduced herself and then asked us all to introduce ourselves to the group of between 15-20 people. We all varied in age and from a vaguely similar food background but we all shared the willingness to learn about these delicious products. Juliet then started the evening with a presentation of no less than 76 slides (Juliet was certainly very vocal about the amount of slides for an hours presentation)! We followed the presentation which would leads us through all the beautiful products one by one, we would then then try combinations.

The tasting began with the wines & port and finished with the Parma Ham & Parmigiano Reggiano which I will describe below in tasting note form:

  • St. Aubin 2012 Burgundy

A lovely crisp and fruity Burgundy. Good with seafood but it also worked well with Parma Ham to intensify the flavours.

  • Churchill Douro

This beautiful red from Portugal is deep in rich fruit berry flavours, with a woody edge. This works perfectly with any red meat dishes but in particularly spicy sausage dishes. This didn’t work as well with the Parma Ham and not really with Parmigiano but if they were incorporated into dishes they would work well.

  • Grahams Late Bottled Vintage 2008 Port

This was by far Mike & Mine’s favourite it was rich, sweet, thick & smooth on the palate. This is really to be enjoyed on its on because of its strength it overpowers the tastes of Parma & Parmigiano. With a rich & strong Stilton this would be divine or even with a Strong Italian blue cheese like Gorgonzola.

  • Parma Ham 24 Months

The Parma Ham that most people have probably had at some point. Its deep and smooth meaty flavour just melts in the mouth for the most wonderful taste. The fat and saltiness just adds to the overall flavour and this would work well on its on, in salads or wrapped around meat & fish.

  • Parma Ham 32 Months

What a difference 8 months make! Having not tried a 32 months cured Parma until this evening I have to say that I prefer this one. The flavour seems to burst on the palate and to fully appreciate this I would definitely recommend eating this on its own. It just grows with flavour and intensifies everything that was good about the 24 months.

  • Parmigiano Reggiano 22 Months

Again most probably if you have eaten a Parmigiano Cheese you would have eaten this one or a 24 month aged as they seem to be the most popular. Once at room temperature this cheese packs a real punch with a salty back note. When eating think about pineapple and you are ready for a whole new world of eating Parmigiano. With salads & pasta this is just perfect but to really throw a curve ball serve this on a cheese board with some honey for a delicious change.

  • Parmigiano Reggiano 30 Months

This version is stronger and certainly more crumbly. I would say this certainly wouldn’t be for everyone but to increase flavour in pasta dishes add this and it will be noticeable throughout and will be appreciated. Its crystals are more prominent and have a really nice crunch which adds to its texture. If your a fan of strong cheeses you can just cut and nibble for an intense cheese bite to keep you going until dinner.

The food is of course beautiful and the wines are the same, the quality Is just out of this world. We are so lucky to have access to these products to make our eating times wondrous & joyous.

The stand out product of the evening was the port that evening was a Taylors Late Bottled Vintage 2008 with the rich flavour & sweetness was delicious, although it was a tricky devil to pair as it overpowered the Parma Ham & Parmigiano, but I’m sure you could find a way to enjoy it.

The evening came to a close and I spent a good 45 mins talking to Juliet after about my Blog, I also got her to sign my World Cheese Book’s (See picture at top of page). We had a lovely conversation and we agreed to keep in contact with one another. To finish the evening she Tweeted about me to her followers:

Juliet Harbutt‏ May 12

Dodge Jon and I sharing cheese and seaside whiffs at Bournemouth pier”


I thank you all for reading and providing me with these opportunities to go to these events, and I hope you all have a lovely Bank Holiday weekend.


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This is the official page for the Cheesy1 Blog. I'm a Cheese Writer/Advisor, Judge & former Guild of Cheese Graders member. I'm also available as a Professional Cheese Speaker. I'm passionate about cheeses and local produce but in my own unique cheesy way. If you have any questions please ask me via my blog or e-mail me at and I shall try to be as helpful as possible. Thank you for showing an interest in my Blog. Cheesy1

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