Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
One wedge (Approx. 9lbs total).
Emilia Romagna, Italy
Parmigiano Reggiano, often imitated, never replicated, is the original parmesan. The name given to this cow’s milk cheese is highly controlled and certified in Italy, ensuring that quality and authentic traditions are maintained. Unlike most parmesans, Reggiano is only legally allowed to be made 8 months of the year (between April and November) because the milk must be from cows fed fresh grass.
When you buy Parmigiano Reggiano you can be sure you are buying the real thing.
Comparing the flavors of a generic parmesan with Reggiano demonstrates that there is far more complexity and fruitiness in the original product. The flavor of a well aged Parmigiano Reggiano shifts ephemerally from spicy to sweet, salty, and nutty in a way no single-note parmesan can begin to challenge.
It is not only a flavorful cheese, but a nutritious one as well. Every 2.2 pounds of Parmigiano Reggiano contains 4.2 gallons of milk with all its associated vitamins and minerals. Part of the production process neutralizes any lactose or galactose found in the cheese as well, so lactose intolerant people can enjoy Reggiano without discomfort.
The flavor of Reggiano changes as it ages, and so it is important to know the age of the cheese you are buying. These 9lb wedges are cut from cheese aged for 20 months.
Cheese in Space
Because of its extremely high calcium content (over 100% of an adult’s daily requirement in just 100g) and easy digestibility, Parmigiano Reggiano is actually regularly consumed by astronauts on the International Space Station to combat bone loss. It is officially the first non-dehydrated or reconstituted food in space.
To store, wrap your cheese in moistened cloth (cheesecloth, tea towel, or (in a pinch) sturdy paper towel), then in a layer of aluminum foil, and store it in your refrigerator’s crisper.
Parmigiano Reggiano lasts an average of 180 days after it leaves the production facility. See date on your cheese's packaging for an approximate expiration date.
RECIPES & TIPS
Because of Parmigiano Reggiano’s structure, it is best to use a wedge or a chisel (sanitized) to break pieces off rather than trying to cut it. Do not grate Parmigiano cheese more than a day in advance of using it. Not only will the flavor of grated cheese erode over time, but it is far more susceptible to spoilage.
Reggiano cheese can be used in any way that you would use a generic parmesan, however the nuances of its strong flavor are better enjoyed on mild dishes where it can stand out. A simple way to enjoy this cheese is grated over buttered bread and toasted.
Do not discard the rind! While this is not an edible rind cheese, a tremendous amount of flavor can be extracted by cooking the rind in soups and sauces, and removing it prior to serving.