What Is Parmesan Cheese Called in Italy?
When it comes to Italian cuisine, one cannot ignore the rich and flavorful taste of Parmesan cheese. Parmesan cheese, known as Parmigiano Reggiano in Italy, is a well-known and beloved ingredient used in a variety of dishes. In this article, we will explore the history, production process, and cultural significance of this renowned Italian cheese.
The History of Parmigiano Reggiano
Originating in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, Parmigiano Reggiano has a storied history that dates back over 900 years. The monks in the area are credited with developing the traditional methods of production that are still followed today.
The name “Parmigiano Reggiano” was officially recognized in 1955 by the European Union as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product. This designation ensures that only cheeses produced according to strict guidelines within specific regions can bear the name.
The Production Process
Made from raw cow’s milk, Parmigiano Reggiano is crafted with meticulous care and attention to detail. The process begins with milking cows fed exclusively on locally grown forage. The freshness and quality of the milk are crucial to obtaining the distinct flavor profile.
After collection, the milk is heated and mixed with calf rennet to promote coagulation. The resulting curds are cut into small pieces and left to settle before being placed into molds. Each mold is imprinted with a unique identification number, ensuring traceability throughout the aging process.
Once removed from the molds, each wheel undergoes an extended period of aging, typically lasting between 12 and 36 months. During this time, the cheese develops its characteristic texture and flavor. Skilled artisans carefully monitor and turn each wheel regularly to achieve an even distribution of moisture and flavor.
Parmigiano Reggiano holds immense cultural significance in Italy. It is often referred to as the “King of Cheeses” due to its exceptional quality and long-standing tradition. In Italian cuisine, it is an essential ingredient in dishes such as pasta, risotto, and salads.
The cheese is also enjoyed on its own, served in chunks or shaved over dishes for added flavor. Parmigiano Reggiano has a distinct nutty taste with a granular texture that melts beautifully when heated.
Besides being a delicious addition to meals, Parmigiano Reggiano offers several health benefits. It is an excellent source of calcium, protein, and vitamins such as vitamin A and vitamin B12. Additionally, it contains no additives or preservatives, making it a natural choice for those seeking wholesome ingredients.
So next time you enjoy a plate of pasta or sprinkle some cheese over your salad, remember that Parmesan cheese in Italy is called Parmigiano Reggiano. Embrace the rich history and cultural significance behind this beloved cheese while relishing its delicious taste!