1/2 lb , Parmigiano Reggiano PDO fresh cut wedge, aged over 24 months. The king of cheeses, Parmigiano Reggiano wedges perfectly sized to grate, slice, cut or shave.
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.