“Would you like Parmesan with that?”
“No no no!” Is what I repeatedly reply to waiters in restaurants.
You’d think that after specifying my dietary requirements upon arriving at restaurants, waiters would know better than to offer a vegetarian Parmesan. Unfortunately, what most waiters (and some chefs) fail to realise is that most hard cheeses contain calf rennet, making them most definitely not suitable for vegetarians.
A couple of weeks back, I went for some food at a particular Italian cafe on Hoxton Square. I’d been there before and was impressed with the food. On this occasion, I opted for a spinach and ricotta tortellini dish which was advertised on the menu as vegetarian.
The dish looked delicious and as I tucked in, I realised that something wasn’t quite right. To my horror, it dawned on me that the pasta I’d been eating was covered with Parmesan!! Noooo!!
My boyfriend complained to the owner/head chef who…no word of a lie…laughed and couldn’t comprehend what the “fuss” was about. I then had to explain why Parmesan isn’t vegetarian-friendly and fully expressed my discontent at the fact the tortellini had been incorrectly advertised as suitable for vegetarians.
The owner continued to laugh and deny any wrong-doing until I had to resort to digging my iPhone out of my bag and show him that I was in fact correct (thank you Google). He did apologise but I was past caring by this point. The fact of the matter is, people who own and cook in restaurants should know the full contents and ingredients of the food that they serve. Ok so vegetarianism is my choice but what about people with specific allergies?
Anyway, I’ve just returned from a shop at Waitrose with a big smile on my face. They sold a veggie-friendly hard cheese, as you can see in the picture. Ive been trying to hunt this down for ages! I’ve stocked up with a few blocks as who knows if they’ll still have it there next time I visit. This will make a perfect addition to the creamy butternut squash and sage spelt risotto that I’m cooking up this evening. Here’s one happy veggie!