This is one of the harder lessons I learned at last weekend’s “Fast and Delicious” cooking course at Rachel Demuth’s vegetarian cookery school in Bath, England. The class was fabulous. Most lessons were delicious, some surprising, others a bit disappointing, like this fact about Parmesan cheese:
Italian Parmesan has to use animal rennet under statute, making it not suitable for vegetarians.
Bummer, because Parmesan is one of my favorite cheeses!
HOWEVER, there are vegetarian “Italian-style” hard cheeses that make a pretty good substitute for Parmesan. Lots of people, including Ms. Demuth, recommend Twineham George’s “Italian Style Hard Cheese”. According to vegetarian.co.uk:
Twineham Grange, who are based in Sussex, have been making this cheese for the past 15 years. They use the same traditional methods as the Italian cheese makers, the only difference is that they use English milk which is higher in protein and butterfat. It is also a good source of zinc and calcium. In blind tests even the judges were unable to tell the difference.
Today at Whole Paycheck I found some some made-in-Italy vegetarian hard cheese by a company called Soster who has a really charming low-fi website. The cheese wasn’t as hard as Parmesan but it had that nice salty flavor and grated well over my grilled tofu and pasta sauce meal.
More to come from my cooking extravaganza. There were way better lessons than this!