Who Invented Parmesan Cheese?


Parmesan cheese, also known as Parmigiano-Reggiano, is a popular Italian cheese that has been enjoyed for centuries. It is a hard, granular cheese that is famous for its rich flavor and versatility in cooking.

But have you ever wondered who invented this delicious cheese and how it came to be? In this article, we will delve into the history of Parmesan cheese and explore its origins.

The Birth of Parmesan Cheese:

The invention of Parmesan cheese can be traced back to the Middle Ages in the region of Emilia-Romagna in Italy. It was during this period that farmers and monks began experimenting with different methods of cheese-making to preserve excess milk.

Legend has it that the creation of Parmesan cheese was accidental. According to the legend, a traveler passing through the region left a container of milk in a monastery cellar. The cellar’s natural temperature and humidity provided the perfect conditions for fermentation and aging, resulting in the birth of Parmesan cheese.

The Role of Benedictine Monks:

During the Middle Ages, Benedictine monks played a crucial role in cultivating and refining the techniques used in cheesemaking. They were known for their dedication to craftsmanship and attention to detail.

The monks began making Parmesan cheese using traditional methods that involved curdling milk with natural whey from previous batches. The curds were then pressed into large molds to remove excess moisture. The cheese was then aged for an extended period, sometimes up to three years, which contributed to its distinct flavor.

A Royal Seal:

In 1955, Parmigiano-Reggiano became the first cheese to receive the prestigious Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status from the European Union. This designation recognizes that true Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese can only be produced in specific provinces of Italy using traditional methods.

Modern Production:

Today, Parmigiano-Reggiano continues to be produced using traditional methods that have been passed down through generations. Dairy cows are fed a specific diet to ensure the quality and flavor of the milk. The cheese is made from raw cow’s milk, which is heated and curdled before being molded and aged for a minimum of 12 months.

Culinary Uses:

Parmesan cheese is renowned for its distinctive flavor that adds depth to various dishes. It is commonly grated or shaved over pasta, risotto, salads, and soups. The nutty and savory taste of Parmesan enhances the overall taste profile of these dishes.

In Conclusion:

The invention of Parmesan cheese is rooted in centuries-old traditions passed down through generations of Italian cheesemakers. From accidental discoveries to meticulous craftsmanship, this delicious cheese has stood the test of time. So next time you sprinkle some Parmesan on your favorite pasta dish, remember the rich history behind this culinary delight!