When it comes to Italian Parmesan cheese, there are several options available in the market. Each variety has its own unique characteristics and flavor profile. In this article, we will explore some of the best Italian Parmesan cheeses and what sets them apart.

Grana Padano

Grana Padano is a popular Italian cheese that is often compared to Parmigiano Reggiano. It is made from cow’s milk and has a slightly milder flavor compared to Parmigiano Reggiano. Grana Padano is aged for a minimum of 9 months, resulting in a hard and granular texture.

It is commonly used as a table cheese or grated over pasta dishes. The flavor of Grana Padano is nutty, buttery, and slightly sweet.

Parmigiano Reggiano

Parmigiano Reggiano is widely regarded as the king of Italian cheeses. It is made from raw cow’s milk and aged for a minimum of 12 months, although some varieties are aged for up to 36 months. The longer aging period gives Parmigiano Reggiano a complex and intense flavor.

The texture of this cheese is hard and crystalline, making it perfect for grating. The taste profile includes notes of fruitiness, nuttiness, and umami. Parmigiano Reggiano is often enjoyed on its own or used as an ingredient in various recipes.

Parmesan vs Pecorino

Parmesan refers to any cheese that resembles Parmigiano Reggiano but may not necessarily be produced in Italy or follow the strict production regulations. On the other hand, Pecorino is an Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk. It has a sharper and saltier flavor compared to Parmesan.

Pecorino Romano is one of the most famous types of Pecorino cheese and is often used as a grating cheese in pasta dishes. While it may not be considered a Parmesan cheese, it still deserves mention for its unique taste and versatility.


When it comes to the best Italian Parmesan cheese, both Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano are excellent choices. Grana Padano offers a milder flavor, while Parmigiano Reggiano provides a more intense and complex taste.

Ultimately, the choice between these cheeses comes down to personal preference and how you plan to use them in your recipes. Whether you’re grating over pasta or enjoying it on its own, both Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano will elevate the flavor of your dishes to new heights.