The 395 cheese factories in the Parmigiano Reggiano district produce about three million wheels each year; out of these about 6,000 are made from only Italian Brown’s milk in 4 cheese factories; we produce 9 wheels a day.
The Italian Brown’s milk gives the Parmigiano Reggiano a rich but delicate taste, with a straw colour, typical of a traditional diet of different hay varieties and feed given separately. After 24 months, the consistency melts in your mouth releasing an incredible sensation of wholeness.
The reliability, competence and passion that the Breeders Association and all the Brown cow breeders put into their everyday work is a guarantee of an even better product.
With the evident “subdued” reference in the product’s name, the provinces of Parma and Reggio Emilia still boast 70% of the production. The area, in fact, according to current “dop” (protected designation of origin) norms, goes beyond these towns’ boundaries including cheese factories located in the territory of the Modena and Bologna Provinces to the left of the Reno River and the Mantua Province to the right of the Po River.
The technique for making Parmigiano Reggiano has ancient origins. In fact, there are many historiographical sources that testify the fundamental contribution of the Benedictine Abbeys which were the first, during the Middle Ages, to codify and spread the working technique of the milk (already famous and handed down for centuries). The first and most ancient written account came from the literary world and more precisely, from Boccaccio, who cites Parmigiano Reggiano in 1350 in his Decameron. Even back then in the Middle Ages, due to the large quantity of milk necessary for its production (16 kg of milk for 1 kg of product), it was considered a cheese of high quality, value and prestige. In fact, it was offered as a gift to kings and princes travelling through or guests in the territory of production. Historical sources trace the “birthplace” of Parmigiano Reggiano in the Enza valley, in the area between the provinces of Reggio Emilia and Parma.
Parmigiano Reggiano has a cylindrical shape with slightly bowed sides and a flat top and bottom, with a slightly raised edge. The diameter of the flat side is 35 to 45 cm, the height of the bowed side varies from 20 to 26 cm, the thickness of the crust is about 6 mm and the average weight is around 37 kg. The texture of the cheese: minutely granular, it breaks into flakes.
The main characteristic of Parmigiano Reggiano is the use of raw milk, additive-free and without any heat treatment. To produce Parmigiano Reggiano, the milk of the evening milking is used after having rested in vats. Only in this way, the cream surfaces naturally and can be skimmed off. Then, the whole milk of the morning is added. It is put into large cauldrons which hold 1000 kg of milk (50% from evening milking and 50% from morning milking). It is stirred, heated and coagulated with veal rennet. The curd is then broken down and cooked (the temperature does not exceed 55°) in order to maintain a microflora which is absolutely necessary for the maturation of the paste and for the aging process. Lastly, the cheese is wrapped in a linen cloth and put into a mould that gives it its cylindrical shape and stamp the origin mark. It is then brined and in 20 days it acquires the right flavour.
It takes at least 12 months of maturation to obtain the “dop” (protected designation of origin) qualification, after it has met the selection requirements, but the best qualities are obtained with a maturation of at least 2 years. The production of cheese is a daily process, 365 days a year.
With an enticing aroma and a unique taste, Parmigiano is ideal for bringing out the flavour and taste in vegetable soups and some second courses. It is excellent when eaten alone with aperitifs, fruit or in salads.