Abroad and in a relationship with food: Say cheese!

(Note: “Abroad and in a relationship with food” is a blog that tracks my romantic relationship with food as I study abroad in Parma, Italy. Because I will never love anything as much as I love food.)

I dare you to not be creepily, obsessively, hopelessly in love with cheese. Don’t take that dare because it is impossible.

Today, I visited the birthplace of the most delicious Parmesan cheese in the entire world, the Parmigiano-Reggiano factory, as a field trip for my History of Parma class. It was basically like meeting the parents of your future spouse, and let's just say I nailed it.

Photo by Jenna LaConte/Gavel Media

Photo by Jenna LaConte/Gavel Media

 

Photo by Jenna LaConte/Gavel Media

Photo by Jenna LaConte/Gavel Media

As the bus drove away from the factory, my heart slowly shattered as I imagined life without all of that cheese. Cupid struck for the second time in one day, however, when we pulled up in front of Alma, a top culinary school where we would be eating a four-course lunch specially prepared for our group of BC students. The menu even had a small BC logo in the top right corner.

Photo by Jenna LaConte/Gavel Media

Photo by Jenna LaConte/Gavel Media

Course 1: Codfish salad

Photo by Jenna LaConte/Gavel Media

Photo by Jenna LaConte/Gavel Media

If you're feeling like that cod looks a little bit undercooked, that's because it was completely raw. As a person who eats steak so rare that it is occasionally still mooing, I was overwhelmed with joy at the sight of this first course.

Course 2: Rice, beetroot and Riesling wine sauce

Photo by Jenna LaConte/Gavel Media

Photo by Jenna LaConte/Gavel Media

Rissotto is always a personal favorite, and beets are a favorite of my personal idol, Dwight Schrute. While I typically don't include beets in my daily diet, this dish was surprisingly great.

Course 3: Fillet steak Rossini by Gualtiero Marchesi

Photo by Jenna LaConte/Gavel Media

Photo by Jenna LaConte/Gavel Media

The menu failed to mention that there would be foie gras (which translates directly to "fat liver") on top of the steak, along with a small truffle. I have a strict "try everything I know I'm not allergic to" policy, and while the light texture made everyone at my table squeamish after one bite, I'm proud to say that I made it through at least three and a half bites before pushing it to the side of my plate and eating the steak on its own.

Course 4: Three flavors for a dessert

Photo by Jenna LaConte/Gavel Media

Photo by Jenna LaConte/Gavel Media

 

Photo by Jenna LaConte/Gavel Media

Photo by Jenna LaConte/Gavel Media

Dessert consisted of a miniature mousse-like coffee and chocolate flavored cake, as well as an array of pastries. I would go into detail, but I feel myself getting a little bit choked up at the memory of just how delicious this whole meal was. I know that dating food is supposed to be easier than dating humans, but the heart wants what the heart wants, and right now my heart (and stomach) just want that lunch.

Cue Jackson 5:

 

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