There has been a lot of debate in recent years about the authenticity of Costco’s Parmesan cheese. Some people believe that the cheese sold at Costco is not real Parmesan, while others swear by its quality and authenticity.
What is Parmesan Cheese?
Parmesan cheese, also known as Parmigiano-Reggiano, is a hard, dry cheese that originated in Italy. It is made from cow’s milk and typically aged for at least 12 months. Real Parmesan cheese has a distinct nutty flavor and granular texture.
Costco’s Parmesan Cheese
Costco sells both grated and shredded Parmesan cheese in large containers. The packaging claims that the cheese is made from 100% grated Parmesan cheese, with no fillers or additives.
However, in 2016, an investigation by Bloomberg found that some brands of grated Parmesan cheese contained cellulose, a common additive made from wood pulp. The investigation specifically named a brand sold at Costco as containing cellulose.
Costco responded to the investigation by removing the affected brand from their stores and adding testing to ensure that their private-label brand of grated Parmesan cheese did not contain any fillers or additives.
How to Spot Fake Parmesan Cheese
If you are concerned about whether your Costco Parmesan cheese is real or fake, there are a few things you can look for.
Firstly, check the ingredient list on the packaging. Real Parmesan should only contain milk, rennet (a natural enzyme used to curdle milk), salt, and possibly some flavorings like black pepper or garlic.
Secondly, look at the texture of the cheese. Real Parmesan should be hard and crumbly with small granules throughout. If it feels rubbery or smooth, it may not be authentic.
Finally, taste the cheese. Real Parmesan should have a strong nutty flavor with a slightly sweet aftertaste. If it tastes bland or has a chemical taste, it may be fake.
Despite the controversy surrounding grated Parmesan cheese, Costco’s private-label brand appears to be authentic. The company has taken steps to ensure that their product does not contain any fillers or additives, and the cheese itself has a distinct nutty flavor and granular texture.
However, if you are still concerned about the authenticity of your Parmesan cheese, look for the telltale signs of real Parmesan: a simple ingredient list, a hard and crumbly texture, and a strong nutty flavor.