Reggiano cheese and Parmesan cheese are two types of Italian cheeses that are often confused with each other. While they may seem similar, there are some key differences between the two.
Reggiano cheese, also known as Parmigiano Reggiano, is a hard, granular cheese that originated in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy.
It has a rich history dating back over 900 years. Parmesan cheese, on the other hand, is an Americanized version of Reggiano cheese that is produced outside of Italy.
The Production Process
Reggiano cheese is made using traditional methods and strict regulations. It is produced from raw cow’s milk that comes from cows fed only grass or hay. The milk is heated and mixed with rennet to curdle it. The curds are then cut into small pieces and cooked in whey.
After cooking, the curds settle at the bottom and are molded into large wheels. These wheels are placed in a brine solution for several weeks to develop flavor and texture.
On the other hand, Parmesan cheese is made using similar methods but with some variations. It can be made from pasteurized cow’s milk and may include additives like salt and preservatives.
Taste and Texture
Reggiano cheese has a complex flavor profile with nutty undertones and a savory taste. It has a crumbly texture that melts in your mouth when grated over pasta or risotto.
The aging process of Reggiano cheese contributes to its distinct taste.
Parmesan cheese, on the other hand, has a milder flavor compared to Reggiano cheese. It lacks the depth of flavor found in its Italian counterpart due to differences in production methods and quality standards.
Uses in Cooking
Reggiano cheese is a versatile cheese that can be used in various Italian dishes. It is commonly grated over pasta, salads, and soups.
It can also be enjoyed on its own or paired with fruits and nuts.
Parmesan cheese, being a milder cheese, is often used as a topping for pizza, pasta dishes, and salads. It adds a subtle cheesy flavor without overpowering the other ingredients.
Due to its superior quality and production standards, Reggiano cheese tends to be more expensive than Parmesan cheese. However, the price difference is justified by the taste and authenticity of Reggiano cheese.
In conclusion, while both Reggiano cheese and Parmesan cheese are delicious Italian cheeses, they are not the same. Reggiano cheese is the authentic Italian version that has strict production standards and a complex flavor profile.
Parmesan cheese, on the other hand, is an Americanized version that lacks some of the qualities found in Reggiano cheese. The choice between the two ultimately depends on personal preference and budget.