Il Parmigiano Reggiano
Parmigiano Reggiano is a hard-paste and long-maturation cheese, produced rigorously in Italy at the provinces of the Emilia-Romagna region, that is, Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna, located on the left side of Reno River, and Mantova, located on the right side of Po River.
It is a product with Protect Origin Designation (D.O.P.), according to the European standard Reg. CEE 2081/92 and the recognition of standard Reg. (CE) N. 1107/96: this is why only the cheese produced following the rules contained in the procedural guidelines, can obtain the trademark “Parmigiano Reggiano”. This trademark has to be affixed all over the rind of the cheese wheel together with the dairy’s register number, the month and year of production, the "D.O.P." sign and the "CONSORZIO TUTELA" sign, in order to identify and distinguish this Emilia-Romagna region delicacy among the several and poorer quality fakes.
More specifically, the original Parmigiano Reggiano cheese should have also a casein plate placed on its surface, which contains the year of production, the sign "C.F.P.R." (Consorzio Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano) and an alphanumeric code that identifies unequivocally each single wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano.
The naturalness of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese has made of it a distinctive and successful product known all over the world with more than nine centuries of history. Parmigiano Reggiano is obtained by mixing the skimmed evening milk with the full morning milk. For each Parmigiano Reggiano wheel it is needed around 600 liters of milk without the addition of any additives or food preservatives. Even though it is a long-maturation cheese, it contains only 30% of water and 70% of nourishing substances and for this reason it is a cheese extremely rich of proteins, vitamins and minerals.
100 grams of Parmigiano Reggiano matured contain:
- Water 30,8 gr
- Proteins 33,0 gr.
- Fat 28,4 gr.
- Energy value 392 Kcal
- Sodium chloride 1,39 gr.
- Calcium 1160 mg
- Phosphorus 680 mg.
- Sodium 650 mg.
- Potassium 100 mg.
- Magnesium 43 mg.
- Zinc 4 mg.
- Vitamine A 270 mcg
- Vitamine B1 34 mcg
- Vitamine B2 370 mcg
- Vitamine B6 110 mcg
- Vitamine B12 4,2 mcg
- Vitamine PP 55 mcg
- Pantothenic Acid 320 mcg
- Colina 40 mg
- Biotin 23 mcg
Parmigiano Reggiano contains essential amino acids and it can be easily absorbed and digested thanks to the presence of enzymes that modify the casein. Being a lactose free cheese, it is recommended to those who are lactose intolerant, to children, adolescents, athletes and also ancient persons.
The long-maturation of this product emphasizes its aromas and flavors. The minimum aging period is of 12 months and only the Parmigiano Reggiano wheels that pass this natural selection will proceed with their maturation for other 24, 36, 48 and more months.
Parmigiano Reggiano has a fat content lower than most of other cheeses, as it is produced with partially skimmed milk coming only from the areas of origin.
Since the Middle Ages, the intense agricultural activity and the reclamation lands of the Benedictine’s and Cistercensis’ monasteries of Parma and Reggio Emilia plains, led to the development of breeding farms in which the cows could be used for the land works as well as for dairy production.
In particular, the monks were among the first producers of Parmigiano Reggiano. They needed a long lasting cheese that could be easily transported and they achieved this characteristic by increasing the degree of dehydration of the paste and enlarging the wheel dimensions.
However, the main characteristic of the Parmigiano Reggiano production is the connection between the hey-fields and the breeding farms. In the breeding farms, that are concentrated among the provinces of Parma, Modena, Reggio Emilia and part of the provinces of Mantova and Bologna, the cows are fed with rigidly regulated forages that prevent the use of ensiled and fermented forages.
Parmigiano Reggiano P.O.D. cheese is today produced in 380 small and medium farms that in 2012 have transformed milk produced from 3500 farms. This datum confirms that Parmigiano Reggiano is a genuine and inimitable product of the made in Italy that is known all around the world also because of its precious organoleptic characteristics.
It is used especially in Emilia Romagna region traditional cuisine. It is used in the tortellini alla crema di latte (Bolognese cappelletti with heavy cream sauce), in which it is the main ingredient, and in the tagliatelle al ragù di cortile (fresh fettuccine with an old and secret recipe of Bolognese sauce), generously enriched by a portion of grated Parmigiano Reggiano P.D.O.
Besides, Parmigiano Reggiano, due to its nutritional characteristics and intense flavor, can be combined with classic and traditional wines and food as for example the Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena (balsamic vinegar), the Lambrusco dell’Emilia wine, as well as in more creative ways like with figs and pears marmalade, truffle etc.
Today Parmigiano Reggiano is the authentic expression of the natural and original gastronomic Made in Italy products.
See also Caseificio Aziendale Sant’Angelo