|Country of origin||Italy|
|Town||Provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna (west of the Reno) and Mantua (south of the Po)|
|Source of milk||Cows|
|Aging time||Minimum: 12 months
Vecchio: 18–24 months
Stravecchio: 24–36 months
|Certification||Italy: DOP 1955
EU: PDO 1992
Parmesan cheese is the name of an Italian extra-hard cheese made of cow's milk. The original Parmesan cheese is more precisely called Parmigiano-Reggiano. It is produced only in Italy, in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Mantua (partly)and Bologna (partly). It is usually the cheese to go with Spaghetti and other typical Italian pasta, but it also has many other uses. Parmesan is a part of Italian national cuisine and it can be consumed both grated and in slivers. It is hard, sharp and dry.
The brand (Parmigiano Reggiano) is protected, and only in Europe. In many parts of the world, cheese is sold as Parmesan cheese that has nothing to do with the true (Italian) Parmigiano Reggiano. Paradoxically, the biggest producers of such cheeses are the United States and Argentina.
The original Parmesan cheese is one of the most expensive cheeses in the world.
Generic Parmesan cheese
Very often, people who talk about "Parmesan cheese" do not mean Parmigiano Reggiano. They mean other cheeses, which are similar: They are hard grating cheeses made from cow's milk. They are generally pale yellow in color, and usually used grated on dishes like spaghetti, Caesar salad, and pizza. American generic parmesan is frequently sold already grated.
Within the European Union, the term Parmesan may only be used, by law, to refer to Parmigiano-Reggiano itself, which must be made in a restricted geographic area, using stringently defined methods. In many areas outside Europe, the name "Parmesan" has become genericized: Any one of a number of hard Italian-style grating cheeses are called 'Patmesan'. After the European ruling that "parmesan" could not be used as a generic name, Kraft renamed its grated cheese "Pamesello" in Europe.
Images for kids
Parmesan cheese Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.