Is Parmigiano perfect food?

Is Parmigiano perfect food? Parmigiano-Reggiano is a cheese that can only be made with extremely precise ingredients. There are only three ingredients: milk, salt, and rennet, the enzyme that curdles milk. There is Parmigiano’s taste: salty but sweet, grassy but nutty, sharp but rich. There’s its texture: hard but grainy, popping with white crystals.

Parmigiano: vitamins and proteins

Parmigiano is a veritable nutritional supplement, capable of providing a high amount of vitamins and proteins in a few grams. Then there are the nutrients. A single ounce (28g) of Parmigiano has 9g of protein, 2g more than beef, and 321mg of calcium, nearly 10 times more than milk. It has 12mg of magnesium, 28mg of potassium and 0.12mg of vitamin A. There’s zinc and iron, copper and manganese, biotin and vitamin B6.

It takes 14 litres of milk to make 1kg of Parmigiano; 550 litres to make one wheel.

You can use the Parmigiano for many plats:

  • antipasto
  • the first main course
  • as a side dish like tortellini in a sauce of Parmigiano

With the “parmesan” word it is described as an extraordinarily particular process, a 10,000-sq-km geographical area of Italy.

The Parmigiano-Reggiano

Parmigiano’s devotees are hardly new. The 14th-Century poet Boccaccio set his maccheroni (pasta) eaters on a mountain of the cheese. The 17th-Century painter Cristoforo Munari placed Parmigiano at the center of his kitchen scenes. The Pope sent England’s King Henry VIII 100 wheels as a gift. The French playwright Molière asked for Parmigiano on his deathbed. When the Great Fire of London bore down on the house of Samuel Pepys in 1666, the writer buried a wheel of the cheese to protect it.

Within the EU, both Parmigiano-Reggiano and its anglicized version, “parmesan”, are legally registered terms protected by the PDO – protected designation of origin – label since 1996. But in the US, the law protects only the name “Parmigiano-Reggiano”

Francesco Iriti
Francesco Iriti

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