I was never a fan of Parmesan cheese until I had authentic Parma in Italy for the first time in 2011. Sadly, it’s been 2 years since I enjoyed the “real deal” so I must extend a huge thanks to Parmesan for sending me this sumptuous treat to experience once again! I’ve so enjoyed incorporating Parmigiano Reggiano into my favorite recipes lately so I wanted to share with you the top 10 ways I pair Parma with my favorite Fall food!
First though, here is a little history on Parma so you understand the significance of this particular cheese, vs. the “Parmesan” you may find at the local grocer: Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is known as the king of cheese throughout Italy and recognized as one of the world’s finest eating cheeses. The Parma I use for my recipes is 24 months aged and strikes the perfect balance of sharp, nutty and savory flavor, with the characteristic gritty texture. Because of the long aging process, Parmigiano Reggiano is naturally lactose-free. It also is easily digestible and the perfect source of both protein and calcium. Read more about its health benefits HERE.
In 2008, European courts decreed that Parmigiano Reggiano is the only hard cheese that can legally be called Parmesan. In so doing, they acknowledged the historical fact that the word can be traced to Parma and that consumers associate the cheese with its origin in the Parma-Reggio region of Italy, Emilia-Romagna. These court rulings mean that a cheese cannot be called Parmesan unless it conforms to the Protected Designation of Origin standards for Parmigiano Reggiano. Emilia-Romagna, on the Northern edge of the Apennines, is home to some of Italy’s most treasured culinary traditions, including Parmesan cheese, prosciutto, and traditional aged balsamic vinegar, and is accentuated by the vibrant capital city of Bologna.
Just three ingredients—milk, salt and rennet—and 900 years of cheese making experience go into every wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano. From the local grasses and forage fed to the cows, to the milk they produce and then the cheese that is crafted by nearly 400 cheese makers, Parmigiano Reggiano is a true reflection of its place of origin and the art of many generations of cheese artisans.
10 Favorite Foods to Top With Parmigiano-Reggiano:
- Caramel Roasted Pears
- Eggs, bacon, Italian seasoned omelet
- Lemon Shrimp Risotto
- Turkey + basil pesto grilled sandwich
- Arugula + strawberry salad
- Endive + artichoke + almond salad
- Raspberries + Maschino Prosecco
- Pumpkin bisque + steamed broccoli
- Figs drizzled in honey + walnuts + Cabernet Sauvignon
- PASTA — all the pasta!
As is evident from my list above, Parmigiano Reggiano is an extraordinarily versatile cheese! It’s recognized as being one of the easiest cheeses to pair wines with, and compliments many textures and flavors of food from savory to sweet, giving it a well-earned place on the shelves of pantries everywhere and an instant way to add a taste of Southern hospitality to your table!
Enter to win a Holiday Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Fest HERE!
What ways do you like to enjoy Parmesan cheese? Leave me some suggestions and ideas in the comments!