Top 10 Untold Truths of Parmesan Cheese


Cheese lovers need to get the inside scoop
on the gourmet Italian cheese known as Parmesan. Making this particular cheese, which has a
nutty and gritty taste, is truly an art form. A favorite ingredient in so many recipes,
let’s discover the top 10 untold truths of Parmesan cheese. The Good Stuff Costs A Bundle If you want to buy a big wheel of Parmesan
for personal use, be aware that you’ll be purchasing a lot of Parmesan cheese. The Costco
website offers 72-pound cheese wheels for $899.99 US. The stuff you shake out of a
can, onto a plate of pasta, is not generally the “good stuff” and that grated cheese product
isn’t going to put a big dent in your bank account, but you should treat yourself to
the fancier version at least once and maybe much more often. You’ll find that enjoying
real Parmesan is a true culinary milestone. Authentic Parmesan isn’t even called Parmesan,
that’s an English name for this cheese, but we’ll talk about that a bit later. Parmesan
as in Real Parmesan is an extravagant food product. Real Parmesan is always created
in wheel form. Huge wheels of this gourmet cheese are produced and then aged. It all
happens in Italy. Lately, there is a trend towards making pasta dishes directly on top
of Parmesan cheese wheels. The pasta is stirred around on top of the cheese wheels and then
served. Before the pasta is put on top of a cheese wheel, a bit of the cheese is scraped
out. The scraped-out cheese flavors the pasta and gives it texture. It all happens table-side,
for a bit of mealtime drama. While obviously all pasta joints don’t offer pasta made in
cheese wheels, there are eateries where these types of dishes are specialties. You can find
this available in Houston, Texas, at Ragu & Pesto. You can also find it at Le Petit
Paris in Los Angeles and Cacio e Pepe in the Big Apple. It Tastes Better As It Ages Genuine Parmesan ages like fine wine. Authentic
Parmesan cheese from Italy, which is produced in those huge wheel shapes, is aged for a
couple of years, but there are other types of Parmesan cheeses which are aged for even
longer. Parmesan cheeses labelled as stravecchio age for three years, while stravecchione is aged
for four years. Since the aging process is so long, even when Parmesan is sold at a younger
age, such as two years, it’s no surprise that this cheese costs serious cash. It costs money
to store huge cheese wheels over the long term, not to mention what it costs to produce
these gourmet cheese wheels in the first place. Way, way back, in the Middle Ages, Benedictine
monks made this revered cheese in their monasteries. In the 13th century, it was made in four different
regions of Italy. This cheese has a long history. It is a cheese with heritage, and the making
of this cheese is all about time-honored Italian tradition. Cows whose milk is utilized to
make genuine Parmesan from Italy are fed a special diet, in order to produce the purest,
tastiest milk. Cows are never fed any animal-based products. Every step of the production process
for this raw milk cheese was carefully thought-out ages ago. It’s believed that the process hasn’t
been altered in any significant way since medieval times. Parmesan Is Rich In Nutrients If you’re not a Parmesan expert, you won’t
believe how nutritious this cheese product actually is. It’s kind of astonishing. It
is loaded with nutrients. So, be sure to treat yourself, in moderation. When you indulge
in genuine Parmesan, you’ll access a treasure trove of protein, minerals and vitamins. Authentic
Parmesan cheese, which must be produced in Reggio Emilia, Parma, Mantua, Bologna or Modena,
Italy, contains 35.8 grams of protein per 100 gram serving. That’s a much higher protein
count than you would access if you ate the same amount of Mozzarella, Camembert or Cheddar
cheese. It’s more protein than meat offers in the same serving size. In terms of mineral
content, real Parmesan contains sulfur, potassium, sodium, magnesium, chloride, calcium and phosphorus.
It’s also a source of the fatty acids known as Omega-3 fatty acids. This isn’t a low-calorie
food product, though, so do be moderate when you indulge. One hundred grams of Parmesan
contain four hundred and twenty calories. You may be wondering which vitamins are present
in authentic Parmesan. There are a lot. This cheese from Italy contains vitamin A, vitamins
B-1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, and 12, as well as vitamins E and K. If you’d rather enjoy Parmesan than
swallow a multi-vitamin, you’ll be pleased to know that this cheese will give you so
many important nutrients, plus great taste. An Earthquake Once Destroyed Thousands Of
Parmesan Wheels There was once a natural disaster that threatened
the entire Parmesan industry, but people did find solutions that saved the day. In 2012,
there were a couple of earthquakes in Italy which damaged some property. These same earthquakes
damaged huge and valuable Parmesan wheels. The wheels are stored in warehouses for aging
and the force of the earthquakes made the wheels crash to the warehouse floors. We’re
talking hundreds of thousands of wheels. Some of the wheels dropped from significant heights.
One-third of the cheeses produced that year were ruined. Damage totalled over three hundred
and twenty million dollars. Each gourmet cheese wheel was valued at about four hundred and
fifty US dollars. These were high-end cheese wheels with hefty weights. So much high-end
milk was needed to make them, in warehouses equipped with humidity control systems to
protect them. So, how did the problem get solved? It was such a big problem. Well, firefighters
rallied quickly to salvage as many cheese wheels as possible. 12 million kilos of Parmesan
were salvaged. These firefighters were nicknamed, “Angels of Parmesan”. Individuals and companies
also offered to buy some of the damaged wheels, or pieces of the damaged wheels. A range of
charitable initiatives also cropped up, which were designed to help revitalize the struggling
Parmesan industry. So many people came together to help. It was all a nightmare for Parmesan
producers and their employees, but those who recognize the value and quality of authentic
Parmesan were more than willing to help, and the industry eventually recovered. Real Parmesan Is Known As Parmigiano Reggiano Lots of people refer to this cheese as Parmesan,
but that’s the English name for it. The true Italian name for the authentic cheese from
Parma or another region of Italy is Parmigiano Reggiano. There are tight controls which dictate
whether or not cheese makers may call their cheeses Parmigiano Reggiano. Real Parmigiano
Reggiano is made in Italy, according to plenty of production rules, and has a rind that features
the words, Parmigiano Reggiano. Under European law, only cheese crafted in traditional Italian
production areas may be called Parmigiano Reggiano. If you want the real thing, look
at the rind on the cheese. You don’t have to buy a whole cheese wheel. You may opt for
a wedge. The wedge of a genuine cheese will have the markings that show it’s the real
thing. The pre-grated cheeses you see on grocery store shelves aren’t the real thing and they
will typically be labelled as Parmesan. These inauthentic versions may taste good and suit
your preferences, but they are not genuine Parmigiano Reggiano. Find it at local cheese
shops, or anywhere that offers gourmet cheeses from around the world. Once you try the real
thing, you’ll notice a difference in taste, for the better. Imitation Parmesan cheese
just doesn’t have the same depth of flavor. It’s fun to eat the genuine cheese. It’s always
a gourmet experience. Parmesan Is Lactose-Free People who are lactose-intolerant may stay
away from cheeses because they don’t want digestive problems. The beauty of genuine
Parmesan is that it won’t trigger any digestive issues in people who are lactose-intolerant,
because it is lactose-free. If you’re looking for a cheese that is safe to consume, despite
your lactose intolerance, give authentic Parmesan a try. You may add it to recipes, such as
Chicken Parmigiana or risotto. You may grate it onto a bowl or plate of pasta. You may
shave it into salads. You may eat it as a snack. A lot of cheeses are hard on the systems
of people who are lactose-intolerant. This one is different. While real Parmesan isn’t
the cheapest cheese, you’ll find that you don’t need to use much of the cheese in order
to add flavor to recipes. A little authentic Parmesan goes a very long way. Most people
purchase a month’s supply of the cheese and then make sure to use it up within 30 days.
They don’t invest in massive and costly cheese wheels. Kraft Heinz Got Sued For Adding Cellulose
To Its Parmesan Cheese Kraft Heinz got in legal hot water over the
cellulose content in its grated Parmesan cheese product. Most of us are familiar with this
cheese product, which comes in a shaker-style container. The cheese from Kraft Heinz is
marketed as being one hundred percent Parmesan, but this isn’t the case. A study showed that
it contained a cellulose level of 3.8 percent. After the investigation, Kraft Heinz and other
companies were named in a legal action over the cellulose, which was utilized as a filler.
The lawsuit happened in 2016. A woman from Illinois chose to move forward with a class
action lawsuit in a federal court. Her lawsuit claimed that Kraft Heinz was violating state
laws about fraud and business deception. The thing is, cellulose, which is a fiber derived
from plants, is not illegal. It has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Cellulose
helps to prevent clumping in cheese that is grated before it is sold. So, it’s a filler
ingredient that does serve a constructive purpose. All told, fifty lawsuits about cellulose
content in a variety of products, which were directed at Kraft Heinz, Wal-Mart and other
industrial heavyweights, were filed. In 2017, a judge threw out a lot of the lawsuits. The
Kraft Heinz lawsuit got tossed and Kraft execs were very happy. The judge said that all of
the ingredients in the pre-grated cheese product were detailed right on the package. Anyone
who was thinking about buying the cheese product could see what’s in it just by checking the
ingredients. Parmesan Has A Very Hard Texture Real Parmesan isn’t a creamy cheese, like
Brie or Camembert. It’s a hard cheese. Its texture is usually described as gritty. In
Italian, the word is grana, which means, granular. Authentic Parmesan has a nutty and fruity
flavor. Pale imitations may feature more bitterness. This is yet another reason to try the real
thing if you haven’t tried it yet. There are special knives for grating or shaving
Parmesan. The knives feature almond-shaped blades. Sometimes, these knives are sent out
as practical extras when people buy huge Parmesan cheese wheels. If you’re interested in buying
your own wedge or wheel, and a Parmesan knife doesn’t come with your purchase, you can find
one at a kitchen supply store, or order one online. Since this cheese is very hard, a
proper knife will definitely come in handy. Parmesan cheese just doesn’t have as much
moisture are creamier cheeses. It’s difficult to crack the rind of a Parmesan, unless you
have the right tool at hand. With a proper Parmesan knife, it’s simple to get through
a rind and then shave or grate the cheese. Parmesan Has To Be Stored Correctly When you’re considering buying real Parmesan,
it’s a bit of an investment, although well worth it. When comparing places to buy, try
to find out how they store their wedges and wheels before you buy. Proper storage is essential.
A humidity-controlled environment is ideal for storage of big Parmesan wheels. Once you
buy, you’ll need to store your cheese properly at home. The cheese should be wrapped snugly
in plastic clingfilm and then placed in the fridge. Make sure to keep it well wrapped
after every use! Making The Cheese Isn’t Easy Making what is deemed the “King of Cheeses”
by proud Italians isn’t easy. It’s an art and a science. Usually, cows graze right on
site, while cheesemakers toil inside. The cows are milked regularly and cheese makers
start creating authentic Parmesan by skimming milk collected the evening before. The milk
is added to non-skimmed, fresh milk collected in the morning. Both types of milk are added
to vast tanks made from copper. Rennet is added, after whey is mixed in. The whole mixing
process happens quickly. Several moments later, curds begin to form. The curds are broken
up with special tools that are like big whisks. Next, the huge metal cauldrons are heated
up through steam, in a gentle and slow manner. After three-quarters of an hour, the heat
is shut off. At this point, the curds have joined together. Next, cheese makers work
in small teams to pull the newly-formed cheeses out of the liquid in the vats. After this
is done, the cheese solids are loaded into big rings of plastic which resemble the tires
of trucks. At this point, the cheese sits for nine hours. After the cheese rests, it’s
added to molds made from stainless steel and left to rest for two to three days. After
this second resting period, the cheese brines in salt for around eighteen days. Then, it’s
put into a warm room, where it sweats. This helps the rind to form naturally. After all
of these steps, it’s time for the cheese to be placed in an aging room. Quite the process! Stick around and tap that screen to check
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