To die-hard cheese nuts, Parmigiano Reggiano is nearly as valuable as gold. Grated over any dish, it adds a rich, briny flavor without compromising texture. It is so special, in fact, that it’s name is protected by designated protection of origin laws, so you can be sure that any cheese with the Parmigiano Reggiano name is made by one of 406 producers in specified regions. But how is this nearly ancient cheese made?
The New York Times has an excellent slideshow dedicated to this topic, complete with animated pictures to show the process from farm to store. At the particular cheesemaker highlighted, “Sixty cows are used to make two wheels of cheese every day. The farm has its own cattle and grows its own feed. It controls every aspect of the process of cheesemaking, and has since 1895.” Yes, this kind of quality comes with a higher price tag. But the uses for Parmigiano Reggiano are so vast, you’ll certainly get more bang for your buck.
Try Parmigiano-Reggiano with honey or salami for a simple treat (or both, if you’re feeling adventurous). Make a tomato and red pepper bisque heartier with super-sized Parmigiano Reggiano croutons. Or add the tough, dry rinds to water for a flavorful broth to be used with ricotta and herb ravioli.
Photo by The New York Times