Dinner Dates at Cheese

03 August 2021

The most luscious and luxurious occasions to explore the world of cheese are back: the Dinner Dates!

The Dinner Dates at Cheese 2021 are four opportunities to broaden your knowledge of the dairy world and explore themes like food recovery and the interconnections between ecosystems through taste.

Check out the program and see what whets your appetite!

The Dinner Dates at the Garden Restaurant in Pollenzo

Preview dinner: September 16, with special guests from Ai Due Platani, Parma

Photo: Parmigiano Reggiano

We might be tempted to think that natural cheeses are obscure products whose names are unknown to the majority of the public. But that’s not always the case; after all, Parmigiano Reggiano is probably the most famous Italian cheese worldwide.

To demonstrate the versatility and scope of Parmigiano we present a dinner prepared by the cooks of Ai Due Platani in Parma, long-time holders of the prestigious snail symbol in Slow Food Editore’s annual guide to the best places to eat slow in Italy, Osterie d’Italia. At Ai Due Platani the traditions of Parmigiano are local folklore, combined with masterful innovations in the kitchen and the efforts of the floor staff to narrate their dishes to their guests. Among their flagship products we find high-quality cured meats like Prosciutto di Parma PDO, coppa, pancetta, cappelleti pasta, roasted meats, and of course the extraordinary Parmigiano Reggiano at a range of ages.
To pair we have wines from the same region.

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September 19: The Cooks’ Alliance and transhumance in Calabria

transhumance calabria
Photo: La voce della Calabria

As Italian historian Piero Bevilacqua wrote, “the practice of transhumance, in Calabria, is one of the oldest and longest-lasting forms of natural economy. As in much of the Mediterranean countryside, it must have arisen – like other forms of horizontal transhumance between mountains and plains at the same latitudes – from the need to provide cattle with adequate agrarian and climatic conditions all year round.” Here we dedicate a Dinner Date to the tradition of transhumance in Calabria with chefs from the Slow Food Cooks’ Alliance from the north, center and south of this vast region.

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September 20: where the sea and the mountains meat in Liguria, with Marco Visciola

Marco Visciola dinner date
Marco Visciola (left) on the terrace of Il Marin in Genoa. Photo: Alessandro Vargiu

Mare e monti (Sea and mountains) is a common name for restaurants, pizzerias and hotels all across Italy. But it’s also the expression which best summarizes the essence of Ligurian cuisine, which, due to the nature of the region’s geography, has always combined products from the sea and the highlands behind it.

To guide us on this unmissable tour we have Marco Visciola, the talented chef of Il Marin at Eataly in Genoa, creating a sort of bridge between Cheese and Slow Fish. In just a few years Marco has conquered the palates of gastronomes from Genoa and beyond, and at Cheese 2021 we’ve tasked him with a narrative dinner that explores the links between the dishes of the sea and inland Liguria. Prepare to be surprised!

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A Dinner Date at Ristorante Battaglino in Bra: circular cheese and the cuisine of recovery according to Ivan Milani


This year at Cheese one of our Dinner Dates will be held in one of our favorite places, in the heart of Bra, with special guest Ivan Milani. A constantly-evolving chef on a never-ending search for new ideas and discoveries, Ivan’s idea of cuisine has changed over time thanks to an openness to outside influences. Here, he explores the idea of recovery and recycling. The recovery begins with sourdough bread, made with leftover whey from cheese-making and ricotta rather than water in the dough; then there’s bread miso produced with leftover bread which gives the leavened bread an incredible aromatic complexity. On the same theme, the dessert is a cake made from stale bread with homemade vervain mascarpone. But before we got to dessert, there’ll be three dishes which recount the chef’s life story and the places he’s lives and cooked.

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We look forward to welcoming you to Bra from September 16 to 20 (yes: Cheese officially begins on the 17, but the Dinner Dates begin a day earlier) at our Dinner Dates! Please note: in line with current regulations, the events at Cheese 20201 are reserved exclusively for visitors in possession of an EU Digital COVID Certificate (also known as a Green Pass).

by Silvia Ceriani, info.eventi@slowfood.it

Cover image: Paolo Properzi