From the Italian regions of Parma and Reggio Emilia, Parmigiano Reggiano truly is one of the world’s oldest documented and most famous cheeses. Produced from partially skimmed raw milk, Parmigiano Reggiano naturally develops its one-of-a-kind buttery and nutty flavor from the rich grass and hay digested by cows within the Parma and Reggio Emilia region. Certified by the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano, each wheel produced is marked on the side with the esteemed designation. After an aging of 18 to 36 months, Parmigiano Reggiano can be enjoyed simply as an eating cheese or can also be grated, shredded or shaved to accent any great recipe.
Parmesan or Parmesan-Style Hard Cheese
Parmesan, made from pasteurized cow’s milk, is a hard Italian-type cheese with many characteristics of Parmigiano Reggiano. With a similar buttery and nutty flavor, Parmesan also adds a slight salty tone to its taste and texture. After a 10- to 12-month aging, Parmesan can be consumed as a table cheese and can also be grated, shredded or shaved for use as an ingredient in recipes such as salad dressings, soups, and sauces.
Pecorino Romano Cheese
Pecorino Romano is a sheep’s-milk cheese produced mainly on the island of Sardinia, Italy, as well as in the regions around Rome. Dating back to Roman times, this cheese was a staple in the diet of legionaries out at war. As sheep graze in the rolling hills of Sardinia, their milk produces the makings for a pungent, strong-flavored cheese. Pecorino Romano is then aged for 8 to 10 months, with each wheel dry-salted by hand to accent the pungent flavor. Pecorino Romano rivals that of Parmigiano Reggiano due to its robust flavor and long life. Historically, Pecorino Romano was consumed as a table cheese but today is also grated and shredded to enhance any recipe.
Romano, made from pasteurized cow’s milk, is a hard Italian-type cheese with many characteristics of a milder Pecorino Romano cheese. With the added enzyme of lipase, higher fat contents are broken down further in Romano to create one of the most aromatic and robust cheeses today. With a similar aging process to Pecorino, differing techniques in brining and salting create a more flavorful and less salty Romano cheese. Pungent and less salty, Romano cheese is a great alternative to Pecorino Romano or Parmesan today.
Asiago cheese, originally from the northern town of Asiago, Italy, along the foothills of the Veneto and Trento regions, is a cow’s-milk cheese with full flavor and full functionality. Much like Parmesan and Romano, Asiago can be matured and developed in the aging process. With a higher moisture level, a fresh Asiago can be sliced and melted. With a potential higher fat content, as Asiago ages, flavor becomes more robust and texture becomes more firm. At one year of age, Asiago is able to be grated and shredded and have the same melting properties as when fresh. Asiago is unique and versatile by way of its aging.