Unchanged for the last seven centuries, Parmigiano Reggiano was praised as early as 1348 in the writings of Boccaccio. In the Decameron, he speaks of Cockaigne where there was a mountain made completely of Parmesan, on which lived people who made nothing but macaroni and ravioli, seeming to prove that Parmesan has long reigned on the Italian table as the accompaniment of choice for pasta.
Introduced into France by a Duchess of Parma who crossed the Transalpine border to marry a grandson of Louis XIV, Parmigiano was quickly adopted into French kitchens. Talleyrand sprinkled it on his soup, to the astonishment of his relatives.
This is a cooked and unpressed, semi-fat, hard cheese made from raw cow's milk. The cheese is encased within a yellowish-golden and slightly oily rind on which the brand name Parmigiano Reggiano is stencilled in small dots. This very flaky and highly soluble cheese is very finely grained and ranges in colour from ivory white to straw-yellow. A chief feature of Parmigiano Reggiano is the presence of small white crystals which are indicative of the lengthy ripening period (on average 24 months). The taste is delicate, fragrant and very savoury with a lactic and vegetal aroma.
Parmigiano Reggiano is manufactured every day in traditional cheese-making plants in Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, as well as some areas located in the provinces of Bologna and Mantua.
Photo: www.vittorioonline.com - Online Italian Products
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