Traditionally made with raw milk and using copper vats. The milk is coagulated using animal rennet and then cut with a traditional knife, called the spino. Once the curd is cut and shaped into a ball using a wood spoon, it is divided into two identical rounds and cooked for ten minutes.
Drying and Salting Process
The first day after the cheese is made, the remaining whey drains, in day two and three the water evaporates, then the fresh wheels are submerged in a salt solution for about 20 days to develop a rind and further drain water from the interior.
For two months the cheese solidifies as it loses moisture. Each caseificio (creamery) keeps these wheels for a couple of weeks before being aged in temperature-controlled rooms. After one year of aging, the cheese is checked for quality and branded with fire stamps.
Only raw cow’s milk from defined region of origin can be used to make Parmigiano Reggiano®. All caseifici receive milk twice a day. The milk from the afternoon is partially skimmed of fat and let rest. The morning milk is added to the milk from the day before to make cheese.
Look for the name Parmigiano Reggiano to taste the difference!
Region of Origin
Parmigiano Reggiano is produced exclusively in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena and parts of the provinces of Mantua and Bologna, on the plains, hills and mountains enclosed between the rivers Po and Reno in Italy.
Parmigiano Reggiano is a name protected product from Italy. For this reason only the cheese made following all the above mentioned steps, with the milk of cows from the region of origin, and made in a caseificio in the same region can use this name.
Meet the Rezdore
Cooks in the Parma province of Northern Italy often use Parmigiano Reggiano in traditional dishes. These dishes are normally made for everyday meals and are served in small restaurants throughout the region. The local culture still revolves much around family and the recipes for these dishes are shared from generation to generation. The “Rezdore” of the area (an adoring term in local dialect for housewives) are the keepers of these cooking traditions. Meet Silvana Ghillani and Lucia Gennari, two home-cooks sharing their favorite recipes with us.
Pesto and Tomato Sauce with Pasta
Watch Silvana Ghillani make Pasta al Pesto con Olive Taggiasche e Pomodori Datterini (Pesto and tomato sauce with pasta). Ms. Ghillani sources ripe tomatoes from the local market for this delicious dish.
Cannelloni with Wild Greens
Watch Lucia Gennari make Cannelloni con i Verds (cannelloni with wild greens). Ms. Gennari forages wild greens for this delicious dish. You can use seasonal greens and taste the flavors of the harvest.