A cheese of the greatest quality, famous throughout the world, produced in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, and part of Mantua and Bologna.
Made from low-fat raw cow's milk, it is a hard, granular and semi-fat cheese that is white or straw yellow in colour with a natural straw yellow rind. It is characterized by a rich, delicate and full flavour that is never sharp.
Obtained by combining raw cow’s milk from the evening milking, left to rest and partially skimmed, with the whole milk from the morning milking. The use of fermentation inhibitors is not allowed. The minimum maturation time is 12 months and can be extended up to 2 years and more.
Parmigiano-Reggiano is a cheese of ancient origin and its characteristics and processing methods have remained unchanged over time. Still today, cheese masters continue the tradition of making their cheese with only milk and rennet, with strict respect to the centuries-old methods. The birth of this fine cheese, a symbol of Italian cheese making excellence, dates back to about the 12th century, even though the Romans and Etruscans were already familiar with this cheese produced in the Reggio Emilia area. The first evidence comes from Cistercian monasteries in Parma and Benedictine monasteries in Reggio-Emilia: thanks to the abundant streams of water and broad pastures, this hard cheese, obtained by processing the milk in large boilers, quickly spread throughout the area around Emilia. A milk with a particular and distinctive aroma that still today characterises the cheese, coming from typical forage from the pastures, composed of clover and lucerne. Already back then, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese had reached its perfect typicality, which has remained unchanged for nine centuries up to the present day, thoroughly expressing the tradition and precision of the monks. “And there was a mountain of grated Parmigiano cheese, on which people were making nothing but maccheroni and raviolis, and cooking them in chicken broth...” This dates back to 1351, when Giovanni Boccaccio wrote in Decamerone, a writing in which Parmigiano Reggiano was mentioned as a product of excellence, of universally renowned fame. In the 16th century it was the subject of Italian pride and undisputed star of noble lunches, where it was especially enjoyed when combined with fresh fruit. It is said that, before dying, Molier (1600) had asked for one last chunk of this white gold. Evidence of a success story also comes from the 1800’s, a prodigal century for quotes and honours for Parmigiano Reggiano. It seems that the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte loved to eat a dish of green beans and Parmigiano Reggiano, prepared by his personal chef which was discovered thanks to this second wife, the Duchess of Parma Maria Luigia. The success of this divine product is endless, and today it is one of the most highly representative products of Italian gastronomy in the entire world. Parmigiano Reggiano was awarded the Protected Designation of Origin status in 1955.
The production area for Parmigiano-Reggiano is fairly restricted: it includes the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena and parts of the provinces of Mantua and Bologna between the Po and Reno rivers. Both the production of milk and the transformation into cheese and its portioning are done in this area. Only raw milk produced in this territory is used for the production of Parmigiano-Reggiano. It’s a special milk, characterized by a singular and intense bacterial activity from a native microbial flora that is influenced by environmental factors, especially by local hay which is the main feed for the cows dedicated to this production: this firmly links Parmigiano-Reggiano to its territory, which makes it impossible to be reproduced in any other part of the world, even if the same production techniques are used.