Parmesan cheese is a staple ingredient in many households around the world. It’s a hard, granular cheese that is often grated and used as a topping for pasta dishes, salads, and other savory dishes.
However, with so many different types of Parmesan cheese on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is the real deal. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what makes Parmesan cheese authentic and how to identify it.
What is Parmesan Cheese?
Parmesan cheese, also known as Parmigiano-Reggiano, is a hard Italian cheese made from cow’s milk. It originated in the Parma region of Italy over 800 years ago and has been produced there ever since. Authentic Parmesan cheese is made using traditional methods and ingredients, including raw milk from cows that are fed only grass or hay.
How to Identify Real Parmesan Cheese
When shopping for Parmesan cheese, it’s important to look for certain characteristics that indicate authenticity. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Labeling: Look for the words “Parmigiano-Reggiano” on the label. This indicates that the cheese was produced in the Parma region of Italy using traditional methods.
- Rind: Real Parmesan cheese has a hard, thick rind that is stamped with the words “Parmigiano-Reggiano” along with other identifying information such as the producer’s name.
- Texture: Authentic Parmesan cheese has a hard texture that crumbles easily when grated.
- Aroma: Real Parmesan cheese has a strong aroma that is nutty and slightly sweet.
The Importance of Authenticity
When it comes to Parmesan cheese, authenticity is key. Not only does authentic Parmesan cheese taste better, but it also ensures that the cheese is produced using traditional methods and ingredients. This helps to support small-scale producers in the Parma region of Italy who rely on the production of Parmesan cheese for their livelihoods.
In conclusion, real Parmesan cheese can be identified by its labeling, rind, texture, and aroma. It’s important to seek out authentic Parmesan cheese not only for its superior taste but also to support traditional methods of production and small-scale producers. So next time you’re shopping for Parmesan cheese, remember these tips and choose the real deal.