Advertorial: Parmigiano Reggiano ‘King of Cheeses’

The  Staff Canteen
Did you know that there's only one real Parmesan? Legally, Parmigiano Reggiano is the only cheese that can be called Parmesan. Parmigiano Reggiano is one of the oldest and greatest cheeses in the world. It is produced in the _CGF8641 resizedEmilia-Romagna and Lombardy regions of Italy using methods that have remained the same for nine centuries. It is a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product. All such products are defined and protected by European Union Law to defend the reputation of regional foods and protect the consumers and producers. Therefore the unique characteristics of Parmigiano Reggiano can only be produced in the area of origin. Area of Origin Parmigiano Reggiano is made in the areas of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna to the west of the Reno River and Mantua to the east of the Po River.  The cows are fed on completely natural forage, producing a very high quality milk. This unpasturised milk is then collected at the local dairies twice a day, and taken to the nearby production sites to be transformed into Parmigiano Reggiano. Each stage of the Parmesan production is important for creating the final product, and there are strict quality controls that must be met. I_CGF0189 resizedt takes 550 litres of milk to produce one wheel, which on average weighs 40kg. The wheel must then be matured for a minimum of 12 months before it can officially be called Parmigiano Reggiano. Quality Control Once the cheese reaches 12 months, each individual wheel is checked by an expert cheese tester, to ensure it’s of the quality to be certified as Parmigiano Reggiano. The experts are able to tell if the cheese will pass, just by listening to the noise it makes when tapped by a sounding hammer. If the wheel passes the quality control tests, then it is heat branded with the stamp of the Consortium. Some cheeses will be sold at this age, whilst some are selected for further ageing, including 36 months or more. Traceability Each wheel of Parmesan has stamp marks on the rind, a repeating pin dot pattern of the words ‘Parmigiano Reggiano’. It will also include the identification number of the dairy as well as the production month and year.Lavoro_0019 resized The wheels have a certification branding, which includes the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano logo and the production year. Parmigiano Reggiano in the Kitchen Parmesan is a versatile cheese that has been used since ancient times to add flavour and texture to a dish. It has many advocates, including three Michelin starred chef Massimo Bottura, who based a whole dish around this important ingredient, in his infamous Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano. As Massimo knows, to get the most out of this important ingredient, it’s important to understand the differences between the ages of the cheese. The level of maturity effects the texture and flavour. PR0802 Linguine alla ParmigianaThe minimum maturation time for the cheese is 12 months, when it is milky, creamy and its texture is malleable. Most Parmesan is matured to 24 months or more, when the texture is firmer with more granular amino acid crystals forming; the flavour also becomes richer and nuttier and the rind turns a darker golden shade. This explains why certain aged Parmesan is used in different dishes. Nutritional Features Not only is Parmigiano Reggiano delicious and versatile, it is also one of the healthiest cheeses available;there are absolutely no preservatives, it is high in calcium, protein, vitamins and mineral, is easy to digest, and has one of the lowest cholesterol levels of any cheese. It is completely natural and the only cheese that has an extensive maturation process, improving nutrition, aroma and taste.

Here Maurizio Morelli creates risotto and homemade tortelli dishes with Parmigiano Reggiano: 

For more information on Parmigiano Reggiano contact Phoebe on [email protected] or visit: or find them on twitter:
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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th November 2015

Advertorial: Parmigiano Reggiano ‘King of Cheeses’