PEARS AND PARMIGIANO REGGIANO
“There’s an old Italian adage that says, essentially, that a good ripe pear with a chunk of fine Parmigiano will turn a peasant into a king – at least temporarily. It is one of those blessed combinations that really delivers flavor and pleasure. A ripe pear can be difficult to find, however. Pears are picked underripe, and most are sold that way and need to be monitored at home for a few days. To check for ripeness, press gently on the neck of the pear. If it yields, just barely, to the pressure, it is ripe. The best tasting pears for eating out of hand are Comice and Anjou.” David Tanis, A Platter of Figs
Put a basket of pears and a hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano (the real stuff is produced only in Emilia-Romagna under strict supervision and aged for at least 2 years) on the table. Guests peel a pear, break off a shard of Parmigiano, and proceed from there.