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The most famous Italian PDO in the world

The unmissable ingredient on our tables, adds that special touch of taste to every dish on a daily basis: it is Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, the king of Italian cheeses, for a total of 30% of Italian hard cheese spending. But its flavor has also been able to conquer international palates, thus becoming a must even overseas. And often Parmigiano Reggiano PDO, abroad, is known as the now widespread term of Italian Sounding: “Parmesan” in English, “Parmesano” in Spanish, and so on, its spurious imitations.

But let’s analyze together the characteristics of Parmigiano: it is a hard cheese with a long maturation, where 70% of the product is composed of dry matter. It has a unique taste and is rich in nutrients such as calcium, proteins, vitamins of group A and B, minerals, phosphorus and potassium. The king of Italian cheeses has established itself as a designation of origin and typical, first at the Italian level and later at the European level, with the recognition of the Protected Designation of Origin.

The unique characteristics of Parmesan:

• The historical and geographical origin: in the Middle Ages the Cistercian and Benedictine monks of the Po Valley, driven by the search for a cheese that can last over time, invented this method of cheese making. With the milk of the cows raised in the grange, the farms of the monasteries obtained a cheese with a dry texture and large shapes, suitable for improving with aging.

• The production area: the production area includes the territories of the provinces of Bologna to the left of the Reno river, Mantua to the right of the Po river, Modena, Parma and Reggio nell’Emilia.

• Feeding and milking of cows: according to the regulations, cows must be milked twice a day. As regards the feeding, only fresh or hay fodder is provided. Only one milk (generally that of the evening) is exposed to the surface, while that of the morning is used whole, mixed with that of the evening. In this way, the milk destined for the production of Grana Padano PDO has a lower fat content than other hard cheeses.

• The use of rennet solely and exclusively of animal origin, and in particular calf rennet as required by the specification.

• The structure of the pasta and the aging: the disciplinary provides that the consistency is finely grainy with flaky fractures. For Parmigiano Reggiano PDO, the testing takes place at the end of the twelfth month of maturation, the longest maturation foreseen is that for the cheese over 30 months but the specification provides that we can wait even longer to obtain the desired final product.

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