If you’re a fan of Italian cuisine, you know how important Parmesan cheese is for enhancing the flavor of your dishes. This cheese is known for its distinct sharp taste and hard texture that makes it perfect for grating over pasta, pizza, and salads. However, with so many different types of Parmesan cheese available in the market, it can be challenging to determine how much it should cost.
What is Parmesan Cheese?
Parmesan cheese is a hard and granular cheese made from cow’s milk. It’s named after the city of Parma in Italy, where it originated.
The production process involves heating the milk, adding rennet to coagulate it, and then separating the curd from the whey. The curd is then pressed into molds and aged for at least 12 months.
Real Parmesan Cheese vs. Imitation Parmesan Cheese
When shopping for Parmesan cheese, you’ll come across both real and imitation versions. Real Parmesan cheese is made using traditional methods in specific regions of Italy like Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna, and Mantua. It’s usually more expensive but has a rich flavor that cannot be replicated.
Imitation Parmesan cheese or “Parmesan-style” cheese is made from cow’s milk mixed with additives like cellulose powder and potassium sorbate to mimic the texture of real Parmesan cheese. It’s often sold pre-grated in containers but lacks the same depth of flavor as real Parmesan.
How Much Does Real Parmesan Cheese Cost?
Real Parmesan cheese comes in different varieties with varying prices depending on factors like age and quality. Generally speaking, younger cheeses are milder in flavor and less expensive than older ones.
Here are some examples of real parmesan cheeses and their average prices per pound:
– Parmigiano-Reggiano: This is the most well-known type of Parmesan cheese and is considered the gold standard. It’s aged for at least 12 months and has a nutty, salty flavor. The average price per pound is around $20 to $30.
– Grana Padano: This cheese is similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano but is aged for a shorter period of time, usually around 9 months. It has a milder flavor and a slightly softer texture. The average price per pound is around $15 to $20.
– Parmesan Aged Over 24 Months: This type of Parmesan cheese has a more intense flavor and a crumbly texture due to its extended aging process. The average price per pound is around $35 to $40.
It’s important to note that these prices are just averages, and the cost can vary depending on where you purchase it from, the quality of the cheese, and other factors.
Real Parmesan cheese is an essential ingredient in Italian cuisine that adds depth and flavor to your dishes. While it may be more expensive than imitation versions or other types of cheese, its unique taste cannot be replicated. When shopping for Parmesan cheese, look for real varieties that are aged for at least 12 months for the best quality and taste.