A journey in decadent flavor from a 24 month traditional Parmigiano reggiano, to an Alpine Brown cow Parmigiano to a grand finale of the legendary red cow of Reggiana. Experience how the King of Cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano's flavor is enhanced by terrior & cow varieties as award winning Italian culinary specialist Riccardo Longo takes you on a journey of flavor to explore the most decadent cheese in the world.
This Tasting Experience includes:
-1 Wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano “Traditional” 24 months aging (8 oz)
-1 Wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano “Appennino Modenese” 30 months aging (8 oz)
-1 Wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano “Vacche Rosse” 36 month aging (8 oz)
-Riccardo’s Tasting notes & educational information on each cheese.
Here are some further details on each cheese:
1) Parmigiano Reggiano PDO fresh cut wedge, aged over 24 months. (8 oz)
Parmigiano Reggiano is produced exclusively in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna to the left of the Reno river, and Mantua to the right of the Po river: this is the area hosting the farms where the cattle are fed on locally grown forage. The feeding of cattle complies with the norms of a strict specification that bans the use of silage, fermented feeds and animal flour.
The artisanal production begins when the milk from the morning and the previous evening is poured into the traditional upturned bell-shaped copper vats. It takes about 550 litres of milk to produce each wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano. The milk slowly and naturally coagulates with the addition of rennet and a whey starter, rich in starter cultures, from the previous day’s processing.
The curd which forms is then broken down by the master cheese-maker into minuscule granules using a traditional tool called “spino”.This is where fire comes into the picture, in a cooking process which reaches 55 degrees centigrade, after which the cheesy granules sink to the bottom of the cauldron forming a single mass.
After about fifty minutes the cheese-maker removes the cheese mass which will give rise to two twin wheels.Cut into two parts and wrapped in the typical linen cloth, the cheese is then placed in a mould which will give it its final shape.
After a few days, the wheels are immersed in a saturated solution of water and salt: it is a process of salting by osmosis. This last passage closes the production cycle of Parmigiano Reggiano and starts its maturation period.
The story of Parmigiano-Reggiano is a long one, and also a slow one, following the natural rhythm of the seasons.
In fact, the minimum maturation time is 12 months, the longest among all the PDO cheeses, and only at this point can it be decided if each individual wheel is worthy of the name it was given at its birth, and therefore continue the maturation up to 24, 30, 36 months and even more.
2) Parmigiano Reggiano PDO Appennino Modenese Milk fresh cut wedge, aged over 30 months (8 oz)
1/2 lb , Parmigiano Reggiano PDO Appennino Modenese, aged over 30 months..
What makes this Parmigiano unique is that it is produced exclusively from the milk of Cows on the Apennine Mountains of Modena. This beautifully flavored and highly structured milk gives this Parmigiano it's deep, rich flabors and known for its sweeter, more refined complexity due to the unique alpine terrior. Produced in the exact same fashion as traditional Parmigiano-Reggiano with extraordinary results.
This Parmigiano-Reggiano is produced in exactly the same manner as the 24 month with extraordinary results. What makes this Parmigiano unique is that it is produced exclusively from the milk of the Apennine cows in the Frignano mountains near Modena at an elevation of 700 meters. The cows that produce the milk enjoy the rich mountain terroir, fresh, clean air and a natural diet of local hay, cereals, barley, corn & fresh grass. The producer we buy from, Malandrone, has been producing since 1477. The quality of this Appenine milk is so pure and perfect that this wheel will continue to get sweeter and more structured for 10 years.
The beautifully flavored and highly structured milk endows this Parmigiano its rich complex flavors. Although the base notes of butter, hay, salt & umami are the same as the 24 months, you will experience a more refined complexity due to the alpine terrior and its signature sweetness and purity. This cheese, even with long aging, will remain moist when eating due to structure of the milk. To give you an idea of the purity of this product, when we visited we were told stories of how locals traditionally wean their babies on this Parmigiano-Reggiano due to its wholesome characteristics. The proteins are easily digestible even for some who are lactose intolerant. Close your eyes and allow your senses to take you to an Apennine mountain paradise where one of the great representations of Parmigiano-Reggiano is produced.
3) Parmigiano Reggiano PDO “Vacche Rosse”- 36 months (8 oz)
The ultimate Parmigiano experience! Parmigiano from the Red Cows of Reggiana: The Ultimate Parmigiano gastronomic experience. Intense, rich, structured, yet refined. This is a Parmigano-Reggiano to savor one small decadent bite at a time. An unforgettable poetic journey of flavor which speaks of the terriior, artisanal methods & the noble red cows. A bucket list experience for any cheese lover. A euphoric gastronomic experience.
Parmigiano-Reggiano is one of the most ancient and rich cheese ever known. It is produced nowadays substantially as eight centuries ago: same ingredients, same production process, same handcrafted care. Parmigiano-Reggiano is a cheese totally natural, known in the world as “King of cheeses” for its particular productive, nutritional and organoleptic characteristics.
The milk of Red Cows of Reggiana’s breed has some qualitative characteristics that differ from the traditional Parmigiano-Reggiano. The Red Cow produces a third less of milk than the Holstein breed, but it has a higher performance in the chesse-making process. In particular in the Red Cows milk there is a variation of the casein, the essential protein in the process of transforming the milk in cheese, that guarantees a better aptitude for the cheese to a long ageing, with a consequent better digestibility. For that reason the production regulations of Red Cows Parmigiano-Reggiano provide that the product can be sold only after at least 24 months of ageing, compared to the 12 months of the traditional Parmigiano-Reggiano. The result is a cheese that, despite the long ageing, has a sweet, delicate yet persistent and multi-dimensional taste. Moreover, also the organoleptic features are different. Characteristic is the straw yellow color which becomes more intense with age, the elasticity of the grain, the strong yet beautifully structed and refined armoas and flavor. This is a bucket list experience for any cheese lover. A euphoric gastronomic experience .
The production regulation
The production of the Red Cows Parmigiano-Reggiano is regulated by the strict guideline of the Safeguarding Consortium for the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, registered at the European Community, as Parmigiano-Reggiano is a Protected Designation of Origin cheese (PDO), that is a product that, thanks to its distinctive characteristics and to its link with the place of origin, benefits of a system of rules granted by EC for the consumer and producer protection. In addition to that the Red Cows Parmigiano-Reggiano follows a further specific production guideline (called “Regulation to produce Red Cows Parmigiano-Reggiano”) written by the Reggiana’s Breed Breeder’s National Association, the only control organisation that is entitled to certify the link between the breed and the cheese. That Regulation provides only grass, hay and certified no GMO feed, it is strictly prohibited to use any method to force the production, high attention to the animal well-being. That is why in our stables we still have animals that are easily over 10 years of age, uncommon in other type of cattle breeding. Our production, started in 1991, has always tried to be sustainable in respect of the environment, the animals and the consumers.
Every wheel of Red Cows Parmigiano-Reggiano has the mark of the traditional Parmigiano-Reggiano:
- There is the caption PDO, provided by the regulation of the EU, that decided that Parmigiano-Reggiano is authorized to have the PDO, a guarantee of origin and of a production from a typical area, an environment that cannot be replicated elsewhere. The dotting with the name Parmigiano-Reggiano, impressed on the wheel, identifies the name and represents the origin mark.
- On every wheel, together with the caption PDO, the month and the year of production, there is the identification number of the cheese factory. So with the list of the Consortium it is possible to know the producer of every piece of cheese.
- When the cheese is about one year old, every wheel will be checked with a needle and a hammer by the experts of the Parmigiano-Reggiano Consortium.
- Only the quality cheese, that it is without serious flaws, will receive the oval mark with the caption “Parmigiano-Reggiano Consorzio di Tutela”, the statement of the qualification required by the production standard.
But to become Red Cows Parmigiano-Reggiano there is still much to do.
In the storehouses chosen for the ageing, the Red Cows Parmigiano-Reggiano will rest and mature for 12 months. When the wheels are 2 years old, the experts of the Reggiana’s Breed Breeder’s National Association will check the quality of the wheel, also with the help of modern technologies. Only the most excellent wheels will have impressed the precious mark of the Red Cows: a unique brand impressed on the top of the wheel. Every wheel is identified by an alphanumeric code on a casein’s plate that accompny the wheel during all its life. Through that code it is possible to know the day of production, the cheese factory producer and the breeding involved in the milk production.