Know Your Food: The Story of Our Parmigiano Reggiano

parmigiano logo
Sunset’s Parmigiano Reggiano is special. Here’s why:

The farm.
Our Parmigiano Reggiano hales from Malandrone farm, which has been managed by the Minelli family for over 100 years. The farm is nestled in the rural mountain town of Pavullo nel Frignano in the northern Italian province of Modena. 

Our Parmigiano Reggiano is made at a higher elevation than most. In fact, it’s a certified ‘Mountain Product’—a unique designation given to Parmigiano Reggianos produced in pristine mountain environments. The mountain altitude and climate promotes the growth of lush grasses and herbs, whose unique aroma and flavors make their way into the cheese. 

The sourcing.
Giovanni Minelli photoOur Parmigiano Reggiano is completely single-sourced. This is unique; most Parmigiano Reggiano dairies pool milk from a number of neighboring farms, make cheese from it, then sell it to a separate aging facility. Our Parmigiano Reggiano is produced on the Malandrone farm from start to finish. The Minelli family meticulously controls every detail of production, from the cow’s diet to the aging process. 

The unpasteurized milk used for our Parmigiano Reggiano is sourced exclusively from cows born and raised on the Malandrone farm. About 150 Holstein Friesian cows are raised in the pasture and open housing. If the cow’s aren’t able to find enough to eat on their mountain pasture, supplemental forage is sourced locally within 3-4 miles from the farm. 

The process.

The Minelli’s don’t cut corners in their cheese making process. Valuing flavor over return, they use the minimal amount of rennet and whey, and they favor a low fat to casein ratio (some dairies increase this ratio to increase yields, though this reduces the flavor complexity). They also know that a slow curd formation is crucial; the difference is evidence when flavors emerge during the aging process. 

parmigiano reggiano malandrone1477

The Minell’s go above and beyond in their aging process, too. Their Parmigiano Reggiano is aged for 26 months—a period well over industry norms. After those 26 months, delicate flavors of butter and grass emerge, and distinctive bits of tyrosine crystals develop. 

Parmigiano reggiano factory

Taste why we’re so proud of our Parmigiano Reggiano (and many other cheeses) at our Fall Cheese Tasting on Saturday, 11/4 in Northbrook, or Saturday, 11/11 in Long Grove


Continue reading
4913 Hits

Heirloom Breads from La Brea Reserve - Now at Sunset!

Heirloom Breads from La Brea Reserve - Now at Sunset!

La Brea Reserve logo
Normally, the wheat supply chain goes something like this: third-party suppliers source wheat from farmers all over North America, blend it together, then resell it on a commodity market. Albeit, this kind of wheat is uniform, though it’s completely detached from the farm it came from. 

La Brea Reserve does not source wheat like this.

In fact, La Brea’s Reserve breads are changing the way we think about wheat entirely. The Reserve Line focuses on the idea of Farm First. Rather than sourcing generic varietals from a smattering of farms from across the continent, the wheat in Reserve breads are heirloom varietals, grown on a single parcel of land, by a solo farmer. Once a characterless commodity crop, wheat now has personality.

Finally, bread has caught up to the farm-to-table movement.

La Brea Reserve proves that wheat, like coffee or wine, can embody a place—the soil, the climate, and the topography. The farm is located in scenic Three Forks, Montana, near the headwaters of the Missouri River. The parcel is nestled within a valley, which sits atop a mountain at 5,000 feet—one of the highest elevations that grain is grown in America.

Farmer photo


Those regional nuances create distinct flavors. La Brea Reserve tastes pure, rich, and earthy. It has gentle sour notes, a subtle sweetness, a hearty crust, and a divinely chewy crumb. No one else is making bread quite like La Brea Reserve. And no else carries it except Sunset. Give it a try (it’s on sale this week!) and you won’t want to go back to ordinary bread. 




Continue reading
4747 Hits