A Rich History
The origins of Parmigiano Reggiano can be traced back to the Middle Ages in the region of Emilia-Romagna, where it was initially crafted by monks to preserve surplus milk. Over time, the cheese gained popularity and became a symbol of Italian culinary excellence. Today, the production of Parmigiano Reggiano is governed by strict regulations that ensure its authenticity and uphold the centuries-old traditions that have shaped its unique character.
Quality and Tradition in Italy
What sets Parmigiano Reggiano apart from other cheeses is its producer's unwavering commitment to quality and tradition. The cheese is produced using time-tested methods that have been passed down through generations of cheese-makers.
The process begins with the highest quality cow's milk, which is collected from local farms and carefully inspected to meet stringent standards. The cheese is then aged for a minimum of 12 months, though some varieties are aged for up to 36 months or more, resulting in a rich, complex flavor and a granular texture that sets Parmigiano Reggiano apart from imitations.
The art of crafting Parmigiano Reggiano is a labor-intensive process that requires skill, patience, and a passionate dedication to quality. From the clotting of the milk to the careful aging process, every step is executed with precision to ensure that each wheel of cheese meets the exacting standards set forth by a regulating consortium.
Because of the many "imitators"(often called parmesan), the Italian government offers its cheese makers in the region of Emilo-Reggiano the DOP protection status (DOP means "Denominazione di Origine Protetta" the product from its original origins.) The Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano, the regulating body that oversees its production ensures that rigid rules are followed to maintain the integrity of this important product. Along with the traditions previously stated, if the cow's milk is not sourced from the region - it can't be Parmigiano Reggiano.
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Italian culinary craftsmanship. Its rich history, uncompromising quality, and time-honored traditions have cemented its status as a culinary treasure. As you enjoy each bite of this exceptional cheese, remember that we also pay homage to the centuries of tradition and expertise that have made it an enduring symbol of excellence.
So next time you are shopping for cheese, be sure to check the label for the name Parmigiano Reggiano and the DOP certification.
Photos 2 and 3 courtesy: Morana T from Pixabay
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