Parmigiano Reggiano is well-known for its typical golden colour and the unmistakable smell. You can use it everyday on the pasta or as a gift for your guests, but it is undoubtedly a product of Italian excellence.
Parmigiano Reggiano is a 100% natural cheese, renowned all over the world as the king of the cheeses for its production method and its nutritional and organoleptic characteristics. For these reasons the brand that we see and recognize can only be imprinted to the cheese:
- produced, transformed and processed exclusively in the area of origin
- made according to ancient traditional methods, defined by a strict regulation, which requires precise production methods, a controlled feeding of the cows and rules for the qualitative selection and the affixing of the marks on the forms
The production of Parmigiano Reggiano
The ingredients are simply three: milk, salt e rennet. The process, on the other hand, is not so simple and fast, it requires experience and patience.
Milk, the most important ingredient, is harvested twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. Parmigiano Reggiano is obtained with skimmed milk from the evening milking added to the whole milk of the morning milking.
Poured into the typical inverted bell-shaped copper boilers, the milk is enriched with natural rennet and the whey: in this way, coagulation takes place.
The curd is fragmented by the master cheesemaker into tiny granules thanks to an ancient tool called spino. Then it begins a slow cooking that reaches 55 °C, then the granules caseosis fall to the bottom of the boiler forming a single mass, that will be extracted from the master cheesemaker and worked to obtain the forms of cheese. Every form is made of about 550 liters of milk.
After a few days the forms are immersed in a solution saturated with water and salt for salting by osmosis. This concludes the production cycle of Parmigiano Reggiano and the seasoning of at least 12 months begins.
A less known Parmigiano
What would happen if they added to the 12-month seasoning process other 12 months? The selected forms of Parmigiano Reggiano, thanks to special techniques and this prolonged seasoning period, would become “Sua Maestà il Nero”.
This new product, processed in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, respects the rules of ancient processing methods and the modern ones of quality certification. As already mentioned, the selected Parmigiano Reggiano forms pass to a differentiated processing: the outer surface is scraped and a natural black water-based protective cover is applied and the seasoning is continued for another 12 months. The seasoning system enhances the characteristics of the product, making the rind thinner and more elastic and therefore the cheese tastier and more fragrant.
The black color of the crust is an ancient mountain custom and this type of cheese already existed eight centuries ago, when the shepherds of this part of the Apennines began to use methods introduced by the Capuchin friars of the area who produced cheeses with a thin rind and whose aging, minimum of 3 years, was slowed down by the use of ash and oil, sprinkled on the surface.
This is proof that tradition and innovation can create new products, always looking at their history.
What are you waiting for to try this regal delicacy?
Discover many other curiosities and taste the goodness of the Apennine tradition with our food and wine experience tour: http://enjoyappennino.com/en/tour/food-and-wine-experience-to-taste-the-apennines/