Parmigiano-Reggiano is my favourite cheese but I only recently started buying it after my friend Giuseppe came over and taught me how to make traditional egg pasta.
It is made from cow’s milk and aged for several years.
I think this cheese should be in your top 10 kinds of cheese to have tried. 🙂
Taste, Texture and Aroma
Apart from the savory almost nutty taste (umami flavours created by the aging process) and distinctive aroma of this very hard cows milk cheese, what I like most are the presence of cheese crystals. They give the cheese a slightly gritty feel in the mouth.
Wikipedia explains that the ‘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’.
It is true what they say, this cheese’s smell is ever so slightly reminiscent of sweat. There is however a lot more complexity in the aroma and http://qi.com/ cheese suggests state of mind and perception determines if we like the smell of this cheese.
Look and Feel
This is a very hard cheese with low crumble factor. I suggest you always grate it finely when cooking with it and cut flakes for salads etc.
The rind of a wheel of this cheese is heat imprinted with the words ‘Parmigiano-Reggiano’, the plant number and date of production. If this imprint is scored out it means the certifier was not perfectly happy with the cheese.
Only certain areas of Italy are officially allowed to produce and sell cheeses labelled as Parmigiano-Reggiano. Outside of these regions, the cheese is generally sold as ‘Parmesan Cheese’.
The cooking and serving possibilities are endless with this cheese. I love it in and on pasta the most. Flake it over salads for that little something different.
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
Here are some more posts about cheese: