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Made in Italy

A Brief History of Parmesan

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

Ever thought that the parmesan cheese you buy from the supermarket might not be original? True parmesan cheese must come from one of these Italian regions -Parma, Mantua, Reggio Emilia, Bologna and Modena. And what’s more, they must conform to the Protected Designation of Origin or PDO standards.

history parmigiano reggiano(photo by: m.giulia.b)

So how would you know if it was original? A true parmesan cheese wheel has a product label that will indicate which Italian region it came from, when it was made and more. If the cheese that you’ve been eating tasted bitter, then perhaps, it’s not the original parmesan cheese. The tradition of making this kind of cheese has been in practice for over 800 years.

It was initially started by monks who lived in the aforementioned Italian regions during the Middle Ages. But during the sixteenth century, Italian nobility presented this cheese to French nobility who started referring to it as parmesan, which means cheese from or of Parma in French. Ever since, the name parmesan took root.

Parmesan cheese is made from cow’s milk. But the milk has to be from cows that ate hay or fresh grass, not any kind of processed food. To enjoy the taste of original parmesan cheese, think about visiting Italy. Original parmesan cheese, which is like the colour of straw, has a grainy and hard texture. Generally, it tastes nutty and fruity.

If you were to visit Italy, you may be surprised at this: cheeses that are produced during different seasons have different flavours. The winter cheese is lactic and fruity while the summer cheese is more meaty and toasted. For a nutty caramel taste, there is the cheese made during fall. If you love herbal or floral flavour, there is the cheese made during spring.

Going to Italy would also give you a chance to taste parmesan cheese at its best – used in authentic Italian dishes like risotto, lasagne and pasta. The most amazing thing about parmesan cheese is that it can be taken as a highly nutritious and natural snack! One ounce of parmesan cheese is equivalent to twenty percentage of your body’s daily protein needs and twelve ounces of a glass of milk.

So if you’ve been buying ‘fake’ parmesan cheese that has a bitter taste or without any proof that it is from one of the aforementioned Italian regions, just take a trip to Italy. Not only do you get to enjoy the unique taste of parmesan cheese but also the culinary and amazing sights of Italy!

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer anna lia gerardi

I love travelling and writing about my experiences. From my early years I have kept a passion for different cultures and habits and for languages. I speak Italian and Spanish fluently, alongside my native English, and after many years of roaming around I have established myself in beautiful Rome. Google+

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