Parmigiano-Reggiano is my favourite cheese and I only recently started buying it after my friend Giuseppe came over with his wife and taught me how to make pasta. Until that I was using my now ex-favourite cheese, Parmesan :).
Apart from the taste (strong umami flavours) and aroma what I like about Parmigiano-Reggiano are the presence of cheese crystals. Wiki writes ‘Cheese crystals are whitish, semi-solid to solid, slightly crunchy to gritty crystalline spots, granules, and aggregates that can form on the surface and inside of cheese. Cheese crystals are characteristic of many long-aged hard cheeses.’.
The rind of true Parmigiano-Reggiano is heat imprinted with the cheese’s name, plant number and date of production.
Only these regions in Italy are allowed to sell cheeses labelled as Parmigiano-Reggiano:
This is shaved Parmesan which is still tasty and has its place still in my fridge: