A couple of weeks ago I was invited to attend a cocktail making class with Parmigiano Reggiano at TT Liquor in Shoreditch. We were going to get to make a cocktail and then enjoy a three course meal, with a Parmesan theme, with matched cocktails. It sounded fabulous – and it was! I was one of the first to arrive (I’m always early!) and was really impressed with the venue – absolutely gorgeous! We had a private room upstairs where there was a long table set up for dinner, with huge chunks of Parmesan laid out. I was so tempted to eat some but mustered up some restraint. Around the corner were the bar stations, ready and waiting for us to mix up a cocktail.
Once everyone had arrived we started the evening with a tasting of three ages of Parmesan, with Andrea Robuschi who is from the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium. Andrea talked us through how each age – we tried 18 months, 24 and 36 month Parmesan – is different in both taste and texture. He also explained the history of Parmesan and how it’s made. Did you know that Parmesan dates back to the 1200s? It is also a protected designation of origin product, meaning that it can only be processed in certain regions and according to strict rules.
After the Parmesan tasting it was time to make a cocktail! The first cocktail on the menu was a Parmatini, which was to be served with the first course, and we got to make it ourselves under the expert guidance of a TT Liquor Mixologist.
I’m not a big cocktail drinker – I prefer wine (Prosecco more to the point) or an Aperol Spritz – but I had fun learning how to make the Parmatini, which was basically a Martini. Boy was it strong though – yikes! The ‘Parma’ twist to it was in the garnish, which had olives, Parma Ham and Parmesan.
Once we’d made our cocktails, it was time to enjoy them with the first course. We were being served three Parmesan-inspired courses by chef Luke Vandore-Mackay, who can often be spotted at Borough Market’s demo kitchen, and the cocktails had been specially matched to each course by TT Liquor’s mixologists – what a treat!
The first course was 18 month Parmigiano Reggiano polenta chip Poutine with crispy chicken skin and gravy. I’ve never had Poutine before but if this is what it tastes like, sign me up! It was absolutely DELICIOUS.
The second course was a 24 month Parmigiano Reggiano and cauliflower veloute served with a Parmesan and chili crisp. The cocktail served with this dish was an Ancho Margarita with a rim of salt and Parmesan – this was definitely my favourite cocktail of the night. The veloute was silky and scrumptious too.
The third and final dish was a Scottish venison carpaccio with 36 month Parmigiano Reggiano dressing and hazlenuts. This was served with a Red Snapper – basically a Bloody Mary but with shavings of the 36 month Parmesan. The venison was really good – nice and light – but I’m not a fan of Bloody Mary’s so only had a couple of sips.
I had an absolutely wonderful evening and met some lovely people as well as catching up with fellow bloggers. Chef Luke did a sterling job with the three courses and although I’m not a huge fan of cocktails, I certainly enjoyed having them!