Cheese of the week: Parmigiano-Reggiano
We’re bringing in the New Year this week by introducing you to a cheese you probably already know; in fact, you’ve probably enjoyed it several times a year for many years. But chances are you don’t really know this cheese, and that’s where we come in. We’re talking about Parmigiano-Reggiano. Usually referred to as “parmesan” in this country, real Parmigiano-Reggiano is a DOP raw cow’s milk granular cheese produced solely in five counties of northern Italy and has been done so for at least nine centuries. The characteristic fruity (especially pineapple-y), sweet, and sharp flavors and that extraordinary aroma which we experience today are essentially identical to the flavors and aroma this cheese has owned for hundreds of years because the making and maturation processes are strictly regulated to remain true to this cheese’s long and illustrious history. We sell a two-year aged Parmigiano-Reggiano since its full flavor and aroma are only reached after eighteen months of aging. Made using skimmed milk from the previous night’s milking, the curds are formed using rennet and fermented whey, cut into tiny pieces, and then cooked at a temperature around 130ºF. After resting and being placed in their molds, they are marked with the date, dairy, and dotted inscriptions- all visual markers cheese buyers look for when purchasing real Parmigiano-Reggiano. Being a very hard cheese, it is typically grated or shredded into pastas, soups, onto breads, etc. but we recommend you try a sliver of it on its own and really get to know this cheese you’ve enjoyed for years.