Is it Parmesan what I am putting on my pasta?

Grated “Parmesan” cheese laced with cellulose or produced without using any Parmesan? It is quite sad to see that the name of such a great product (the real Parmesan cheese produced in Italy) is used to label stuff that does not even come close to the real thing. There should be a law against it!

Morale of the story: if you want to know what you are eating, and you should, go for the real thing.

Parmesan Cheese With Too Much Wood Pulled From Grocery Shelves
By Lydia Mulvany – 19 Feb 2016, 07:54:52

U.S. supermarket chain Jewel-Osco removed all of its Essential Everyday 100% Parmesan Cheese from shelves amid concerns about the use of cellulose, a food additive made from wood.

The move follows a Bloomberg News investigation published Feb. 16 that revealed a canister of the grated cheese tested by an independent laboratory contained 8.8 percent cellulose. A level of as much as 4 percent is deemed acceptable to meet federal regulations for what can be labeled Parmesan.

Jewel-Osco recalled the product from all 185 stores on Wednesday, spokeswoman Mary Frances Trucco said in an e-mail Thursday. The company’ is phasing out the brand and replacing it with its Jewel-Osco Signature Brand.

“Our supplier of the Parmesan cheese is aware of the issue, and we look forward to learning more about their investigation,” she said. The company didn’t identify its supplier.

Industry experts estimate 20 percent of domestically-produced Parmesan cheese may be mislabeled, largely due to fillers like cellulose in grated products.

USDA Inspection

Other retailers whose Parmesan was found in the same lab test to have more than 4 percent cellulose said they’re looking into the matter. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Great Value 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese registered 7.8 percent, while the Whole Foods 365 brand tested at 0.3 percent despite not listing cellulose as an ingredient on the label. The companies didn’t immediately return requests for comment Thursday.

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspection of a cheese company in 2012, details of which were obtained by Bloomberg News through the Freedom of Information Act, said “no Parmesan cheese” was used in manufacturing Target Corp.’s Market Pantry brand 100% grated Parmesan Cheese, as well as Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc.’s Best Choice 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese. The two companies didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.

ITALIASQUISITA.NET, A day with the dealer of Alba White Truffle

If you are a truffle lover like us, you might be interested in this short video published by the renowned Italian food magazine Italiasquisita. See some fantastic looking truffles, you can almost smell them, in some very famous Italian and Hong Kong restaurants. See if you recognize all the chefs.

Unfortunately it is all in Italian and for the one of you who do not speak the language, I have written here below a translation of the text that goes with the video:

“What do they have in common an historic restaurant in Turin, an Iranian food and wine importer based in Hong Kong (read: Mosun Abrate of Abrate & Sons) and a wild narrow valley somewhere between the hills around Alba? The business of the ingredient most rare and expensive, the same that from a small province of Italy, every year between September and December, conquers the cities and most important restaurants of the five continents. Italiasquisita has spent a day with the dealer of Alba White Truffle, 24 hours to know him and discover the world that gravitates around the most precious fungus in the world.”

To see the video use the link here below:

Un giorno con il dealer del tartufo bianco d’Alba


Try our Passepartout Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Galateo & Friends @ Ciak in the Kitchen!

Our Passepartout products are served in Hong Kong’s Italian best places! But now it’s time to learn how to use them at home! Join Chef Valentino Ugolini and his team at Ciak – In the Kitchen, the newly opened Italian concept in Landmark Atrium, with Chef Umberto Bombana as culinary advisor and mentor will tell you what to do! Here below all the information, what are you waiting for?


Sunday 6th July, 2014
Our adventures in Italian food begins at the basics: pasta!
Beautiful, handmade fresh pasta
At CIAK in the kitchen we like to offer to our customers great ingredients from Italy and to share our passion for cooking. Here you can buy the ingredients of the dishes you taste and learn how to cook our best Italian recipes.
A cooking class is a fun and interesting way to discover Italian culture!
12:45 Welcome drink for the attendees
13.00 Brunch Buffet starts
14.45 Cooking Class with our Chef Valentino Ugolini
How to make pasta dough from the beginning
Attendees partecipation to make the dought
How to produce the sauce: Puttanesca
How to cook fresh Tagliatelle with Puttanesca sauce
17:15 Distribution of the Pasta Kit
Pasta Mancini Mezze maniche, Galateo & Friends Olive Oil, Oilala Tomato pomodoro, Villa Reale capers, Galateo & Friends Passpartout, Black Olive
Cooking Class total fee of HKD 1500 net
For booking or enquiries: 2522 8869 /

Piedmont Wine Class! Come and join us at Il Bel Paese!

Abrate & Sons is cooperating with Il Bel Paese, the well-know Italian deli, to organize a Wine Class for you! Piedmont is the region choosen to represent our wines this time.

From Luca Abrate to La Caplana, through the delicious Barolo from Ciabot Berton, you will enjoy an amazing selection of different grapes, all representing their way Piedmontese style!

Please follow the link below and contact Il Bel Paese for bookings! We are waiting for you next Tuesday May 20th 2014!


It’s Easter time, celebrate with traditional Italian Colomba Cake!

gran nocciolata  golosona

Colomba pasquale or colomba di Pasqua (“Easter Dove” in English) is an Italian traditiona Easter cake, the counterpart of the famous Italian Christmas cakes, Panettone and Pandoro.

The dough for the colomba is made in a similar manner to panettone, with flour, sugar and eggs, natural yeast and butter; unlike panettone, it usually contains candied peel and no raisins.The dough is then fashioned into a dove shape (“colomba” means dove in Italian) and finally is topped with almonds and pearl sugarbefore being baked. Some manufacturers produce other versions including a popular bread topped with chocolate.

Here in the pictures, two different styles from Maina, top quality producer for Dove and Panettone in Italy: the classical Colomba with almonds, and a more “modern” with gianduja chocolate filling…only for gourmand!

Abrate & Sons proudly represent Maina products in Hong Kong!

From Salernitan hills with love: Casa di Baal



Immersed in the Salernitan hills, 150 meters above the sea level, the Azienda Agricola Casa di Baal is just few kilomteres from the Amalfi coast. The region is sunbathed year round and the combination of soil and gentle breeze coming from the sea brings a unique flavors and aromas to the grapes and wine.

The Salerno family has been producing wine and olive oil for three generations, since in 1978 they have been tending this reach land, In 2006, thanks to Annibale Salerno perseverance and the help of his five children, the estate underwent under an important renovation. The old 5 hectares family vineyard was replanted to substitute almost completely Barbera with Aglianico and Malvasia with Fiano. The Salerno have choosen organic farming to create a natural balance between the vineyard and olives grove. Since 2011 Casa di Baal produces certified organic and carefully crafted vineyards.

Casa di Baal is exclusively imported in Hong Kong by Abrate & Sons limited. Contact us to know more about it!


We are still talking about truffles.

The White Truffle of Alba season is slowly coming to an end. This year we have seen great truffles with a magnificent scent and flavor and we have organized and participated to quite a few successful truffle events mentioned in previous posts on this blog. Among others, we have organized a truffle workshop together with our exclusive truffle supplier Tartuf Langhe who was in town to present and talk about the precious tuber.

If you are interested to read about it, please follow the link here below.

areté food and wine

A day at the Offelleria Perbellini

17 more days to Christmas! Have a look at this video and get in the mood for a superbly reach panettone or pandoro. Look at the amount of butter and fresh eggs that go into the mixer, this is what makes a difference between this pastry shop products and the industrial one.

Perbellini products is imported exclusively in Hong Kong and Macau by Abrate & Son Limited and can be found in the best hotels and gourmet shop.


Fassone: the Piedmontese Beef

We are very proud of contributing to bring excellent Italian food specialties to Hong Kong and we are particularly happy to have brought the famous Piedmontese Fassone beef to the top restaurants and food shops in this foodies paradise of a city.

Have a look at this video to see these beautiful animals and the way the breeders of Compral are raising them. Compral is a cooperative of Fassone breeders and our exclusive supplier for Hong Kong.

For more information on this ancient breed please check our page “Fassone, Piedmontese Beef” on this blog.