The dairy product creme de la creme, Parmigiano-Reggiano is the highest of the cheeses and is held with great reverence throughout Italy. Seriously, it’s considered the “King of Cheese” right there – aand for good reason! Parmigiano-Reggiano is truly extraordinary. . . everything. It’s very crumbly, rich, and salty, with the chewy, crunchy bits embedded in it.
Parmigiano-Reggiano enhances any dish associated with it, from mains and appetizers to charcuterie plates and even desserts. Parmigiano-Reggiano shards with savory prosciutto, crunchy baguette and salted olives combine to create one of the tastiest dishes imaginable. (I call it simplicity personified.)
“Culture” Magazine beautifully summarizes the essence of Parmigiano-Reggiano: It is “buttery,” “brittle,” “like peanuts,” “is studded with crunchy amino acid crystals” and has the “characteristic of umami.” Simply referred to as Parm In an everyday setting among friends or in a restaurant, the history and meaning of this cherished cheese belies its simple name. Parmigiano-Reggiano is really nothing more than milk, rennet and salt, but the quality of the products is truly pure.
Comprehensive and very thorough website for the Parmigiano-Reggiano Consortium, which serves as the main source of this article, is a true treasure trove of Parm worship. It states that cheese “is produced exclusively in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna on the left of the Reno river, and Mantua on the Po river.” The soils in this specific region “are characterized by the unique and intense bacterial activity of the native microbial flora,” meaning that Parmigiano-Reggiano cannot be produced anywhere else on earth. It has been produced in this particular region for over 1,000 years!
The history of Parmigiano-Reggiano dates back to the Middle Ages, when monks created cheese to produce a durable product. They used “salt from the salsomaggiore salt mine and bred crow’s milk,” according to the Consortium. In the 1600’s, a special designation was created for cheese to ensure that no competitor could claim it “from Parma.”
Parmigiano-Reggiano production has not changed, although new technology has updated its manufacturing specifications. In 1934, the various regions “agreed on the need to agree on a mark of origin for their cheese”. Interestingly enough, there is even a regulatory body – The aforementioned consortium – which acts as the supervisor of the cheese and is committed to its preservation. (You know, I’m not kidding when I say Italians are very seriously about this cheese!)
IIn 1992, a “protected origin designation” was approved to ensure that no Parmigiano-Reggiano copycat would develop. This cheese is often copied, but never duplicated! Believe it or not, Forbes even noted that there is a museum in Parma dedicated to highlighting “imitators”.
Fun fact: You can now order Italian too Airbnbs the spotlight was Parmigiano-Reggiano. They are strategically located near production facilities that offer tours and tasting. Oh, what a world!
How Parmigiano-Reggiano was made
According to the Consortium, the specially selected and bred cows that produce this iconic cheese are grazed on “locally grown forage”, and their feedings comply with “strict specifications prohibiting the use of silage, fermented feed and animal flour”. Parmigiano-Reggiano is produced in bell-shaped copper barrels, and a single wheel of prestigious cheese requires about 550 liters of milk. The milk “slowly and naturally coagulates with the addition of the rennet and whey starter.”
After the curd is broken down with the “spino”, it is cooked and the “cheese grains sink to the bottom of the cauldron to form one mass,” which then produces two Parmigiano-Reggiano wheels. The wheels are then “immersed in a saturated solution of water and salt”, which is the last stop before curing. Most are 12 months old, but some can be up to 40 months or more.
How to buy and grate this cheese
When discussing Parmigiano-Reggiano, one should also note “parmesan,” which is actually quite different. While it is also very tasty, it is not as regulated, prestigious or expensive as Parmigiano-Reggiano. An example of a great Parmesan cheese is Grana Padano.
Parmigiano-Reggiano has no additives or preservatives. It is also kosher, kosher, lactose free and organic. It is 100% natural and made from 30% water and 70% nutritional substances. Try to avoid grated or grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, as it often contains additives such as cellulose to prevent clumping. Your best bet is to buy a slice of cheese and grate it yourself using a microplane, vegetable peeler, or similar utensil.
Bright and sour with bursts of flavor from pistachios and Parmigiano-Reggiano, this pesto adds an interesting and sometimes unrecognizable flavor to a sandwich, pasta, or whatever it is topped with.
Recipe: Fennel Frond Pesto
- 2 1/2 cups basil
- 1 cup fennel leaves (lacy greens only)
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup EVOO
- 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/4 cup peeled pistachios
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- Halal salt
- Cracked black pepper
- In a blender, food processor or in a mortar and pestle, crush or blend Parm, pistachios, garlic, salt and pepper together.
- Add the basil, crush or blend, add the fennel leaves, mash or blend, then flow the oil slowly until the mixture is smooth and almost homogeneous.
- Season to taste.
A dozen other couple ideas:
- Aged Parm with honey, baguette and prosciutto
- Antipasti (Mutz, Parm, nuts, olives, bread, honey, pickled mustard seeds, grapes, balsamic)
- Brothers and sisters
- Cantaloupe, bresaola, Parm
- Crostini with ricotta, ramps and Parm
- Endive, shaved Parm, Parm Vinegar
- Parm and leek soup
- Parm Porchetta
- Parm veal stuffing
- Raw corn, pancetta and Parm
- Special skills Parm grilled cheese
- Sunchoke and Parm
More from Michael La Corte:
to request modification Contact us at Here or [email protected]