THE Italian cheese par excellence, produced in Parma, Reggio Emilia, Moderna, Bologna and Mantua. It’s unique taste, so characteristic of this cheese, derives from using milk from cows fed only on natural feed and the fact that it is preserve from 18-36 months and, in some cases, up to 100 months.
Its production is subject to strict criteria – otherwise it would not be allowed to use the label – which covers, among others things animal feeding, wrapping and labelling.
Already well-known in the X11 century, Parmigiano Reggiano has a unique taste and is difficult to imitate, becoming sweeter in 18 months, more complex and aromatic with preservation, but never spicy. The taste of this cheese is very soluble in the mouth, and releases aromas and hints of butter and milk. The more youthful cheese is sweet yet acidic, the 22/28 month is more harmonic while the more matured is decisive and full of flavour with hints of dried fruit and spices.
Its crumbly texture cannot be cut with a knife – which would spoil its delicate structure, and so for this procedure it is advised to use a different instrument – a short-bladed and pointed, almond-shaped knife which keeps the graininess intact.
The imitations of this product are endless. Europe has a cheese called Parmesan, that the true Parmigiano, has almost no recognition of its features. To be sure that the cheese is real, it is necessary to verify that the rind has the classic markings with the inscription “Parmigiano Reggiano” and that over 18 months of preservation it has a red, waxed seal, over 22 months a silver waxed seal and more than 20 months a golden seal.
With its versatile and unique taste, “Parmigiano Reggiano can be used in various preparations in the kitchen: soups, pasta dishes or in unusual combinations, as with meat and fish. It is wonderful with balsamic vinegar from Moderna or Reggio. As an aperitif it can be accompanied by celery, sweet tomatoes, mustards, non -spicy fruit and a glass of excellent white wine.
Fruits and vegetables are a good accompaniment for a younger Parmesan, while the more seasoned is perfect with dried fruits.