Parmesan cheese tour (Parmigiano Reggiano)

From the milk to the most loved cheese in the World: the birth of a wheel of Parmigiano

The History of Parmesan cheese

Parmigiano Reggiano is a hard and granular cheese. It can be produced only in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Bologna (west area of the river Reno), Modena and Mantua (in Lombardy, the south area of river Po). Because it’s the most envied cheese in the World, only the cheese produced in this area can be called “Parmigiano Reggiano” and the European law classifies the name as a protected product and name. Outside the EU, the name “Parmesan” can legally be used for cheese similar to Parmigiano Reggiano.

Parmigiano Reggiano was created during the Middle Age period in the area of Reggio Emilia. Its production soon spread to the Parma and Modena areas.

The production started in XII Century in Monasteries and Abbeys: in the Middle Ages, these where the places where there was an area similar to a diary. Because the production of milk were very consistent, the Monks had the necessity to have a long-life cheese. In the beginning, the weight was around 18 kg per wheel; today, the medium average of a Parmigiano Reggiano wheel is about 40–45 cm in diameter and weighs 38 kg. Historical documents show that in the 13th and 14th Centuries, Parmigiano was already very similar to the one produced today

Parmesan cheese tour
Parmigiano Reggiano tour

The Visit to the Parmesan cheese producer

Parmigiano Reggiano is the most imitated cheese in the world… because is the best one!!! To produce a wheel of Parmigiano, the “casaro”, the official authorized cheese worker, needs about 500 liters of milk! The visit starts from the cows: the milking is done twice in a day, early in the morning at about 4am and in the afternoon at about 4pm. Then, about 900/1000 liters per each cupper tubs, together with serum and rennet, are cooked at a specific temperature for a specific duration. After that, the cheese workers, with a particular instruments, “create” a big wheel which is divided into 2 small balls, which are first closed into linen cloths, and then into molds that start to give them the typical shape of Parmigiano and the written “Parmigiano Reggiano DOP”, the number of the diary, the month and the year of Production. 

The salty room is the moment in which the wheels sleep. Finally, the storage with thousands of wheels: the aging must be of min. 12 months following the Consortium regulation… but there’s any limitation of max aging. You could find Parmigiano aged until 90 months or more!

very generous tasting of three different aged of Parmigiano is served at the end of the visit, with fresh ricotta and some drops off Balsamic Vinegar.

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