Legendary Brand Parmigiano-Reggiano

Fast Facts

  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is a hard granular cheese, cooked but not pressed. The use of the word “parmesan” can only be used within Europe where it refers to the actual Parmigiano-Reggiano — however, in the rest of the world, it can be misleading as it applies to cheeses sold as parmesan but that are not the authentic product.
  • European law classifies the name as a protected designation of origin.
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano is strictly bound to its place of origin. Both the production of milk and its transformation into cheese take place in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna on the left side of the Reno River and Mantua on the right side of the Po River, in Italy.
  • Many different factors come into the process of making Parmigiano-Reggiano such as the geological formation of the soil used to produce the fodder to feed the cows (or on which the cows graze),  the microclimate, the particularity of breeding farms and the human circumstances in which the cows are milked.
  • According to history (not legend), Parmigiano-Reggiano was created in the course of the Middle Ages (no province of Reggio Emilia) in the area bordering the provinces of Parma and Reggio Emilia.  Its production (no ‘soon’) spread to the provinces of Modena, Bologna and Mantua. Historical documents show that in the 13th-14th century Parmigiano was already very similar to that produced today.
  • In 1901, the Chamber of Commerce of Reggio Emilia in Italy proposed to establish a trade union between producers and traders of cheese to authenticate the origin of the product to be exported. In an attempt to solve this delicate problem, the representatives of the Chambers of Commerce of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena and Mantua met in 1909 to reach a joint solution for the possible marking of the hard cheese produced in these four provinces. It was discussed whether the name should be Parmigiano or Reggiano, but the meeting ended without any outcomes. When the Consortium was founded in 1934, the two names were joined together by a hyphen to create the name Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • The Consortium (known officially as Conzorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano) serves as the overlying defender of the official name of the cheese and helps facilitate trade and consumption of Parmigiano-Reggiano around the world.
  • The process of cutting a properly aged wheel is quite extensive and requires a skilled craftsman. A special knife is used, one with a short, pointed, almond shaped blade. One side is left slightly thinner to act as a wedge, and the correct terminology is ``opened``, not cut.
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano is typically aged for a minimum of two years before it`s sold.
  • An average wheel weighs around 39 kilograms and uses 550 litres of milk to make. In 2009 a little less than 3 million wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano were made.
  • Gourmets consider Parmigiano-Reggiano a splendid "table cheese" for eating, not merely for grating.
For more information about Parmigiano-Reggiano visit: www.parmigiano-reggiano.it.

The making of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, which dates back to the Middle Ages, was handed down by the Benedictine and Cistercian monks.  As it was done nine centuries ago, Parmigiano-Reggiano is made today using the same natural ingredients—raw milk, rennet and salt--and with the same care and craftsmanship.  It is a cheese that undergoes a long maturation process, that is a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) product—this means that it is produced in a well-defined area of Northern Italy (in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia and Modena.  In the province of Mantua, this applies to the right side of the Po River and in the province of Bologna, it applies to the left side of the Reno river) and that is one of the emblematic products of traditional Italian food.