When you think of tradition, college sports, fraternities or annual family activities might come to mind. For me, the first thing that pops up is Parmigiano Reggiano . This cheese has been made the same way for 1,000 years.
What to Know About Parmigiano Reggiano
While some traditions live on merely for nostalgia’s sake, Parmigiano Reggiano continues its reign as the king of cheese for so many reasons (#1 — it’s delicious!). Here are five things you should know about Parmigiano Reggiano from Whole Foods Market.
- You know authentic Parmigiano Reggiano when you see it — every wheel has “Parmigiano Reggiano” imprinted on the rind in pin dots. Wheels destined for Whole Foods Markets are also hot-branded, telling you the cheese within is of the highest export-only quality.
- Our global cheese buyer Cathy Strange visits each producer and select wheels made only with evening and morning milk. Wheels are selected based on the best flavor profile from spring milk (herbal, floral) and fall milk (nutty, caramelized).
- “Two summers” is the traditional mantra of the Parmigiano Reggiano cheesemaker. The belief is that one summer’s heat energizes enzymes, kick-starting their flavor-enhancing work. The next summer takes those flavors to the intensely complex, nutty, sweet, grassy, creamy heights the cheese is known for. That’s why Whole Foods Market only carries Parmigiano Reggiano that has aged 24 months.
- Our cheesemongers crack each wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano in house to ensure the freshest, most flavorful cheese is sold at Whole Foods Market stores.
- Parmigiano Reggiano is rich in protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals. It is easily digested, does not contain lactose, and has a low fat content
Storing Parmigiano Reggiano
Once you snag a hunk (or a whole 85 pound wheel, I don’t judge), make sure you treat it right.
- Let the cheese come to room temperature so those lovely aromas and flavors can unfurl.
- Try to buy pieces that will last you just a week or two. Wrap wedges tightly in wax paper or stoe in air tight Tupperware containers and keep in your refrigerator at about 40° (the veggie drawer works well).
- Reinvigorate dehydrated cheese by wrapping with damp cheesecloth, then plastic wrap, and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.
- Store grated cheese in the refrigerator in a zip-close bag with all air squeezed out.
Serving Parmigiano Reggiano
While wonderful on its own, Parmigiano Reggiano brightens nearly any recipe. Try these ideas for dinner tonight:
- On a cheese plate, pair with foods that complement the cheese’s subtle bite, creaminess and sweetness: pears, balsamic vinegar, honey, walnuts, figs or hazelnuts.
- Grate into breadcrumbs before breading.
- Melt onto the edges of your pizza crusts.
- The rind adds a lovely richness and complexity to soups or stews.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy Parmigiano Reggiano?