Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Big Cheeses: Parmigiano Reggiano

The king of cheeses! I couldn't go without recognizing a cheese that would fall under such a title. That cheese is Parmigiano Reggiano, and it's the one that I have had the most active appetite for. The fact that the best in the market is imported makes it more expensive than something we put together in America, but it's definitely worth it when it comes to finally eating it. Many have tried to interpret Parmigiano Reggiano cheese as Parmesan, and just as many failed to do so. There is much to say about this king cheese, because if there is any all or nothing cheese, this one is definitely it!

Looking at the name alone, you would know that Parmigiano Reggiano comes from Italy. It just so happens that the cheese could only be called Parmigiano Reggiano if it is made in specific Italian provinces. These specific provinces include Parma, Bologna, Modena, Mantua, and Reggio Emilia. Otherwise, the name Parmesan is generally put into use. Parmigiano Reggiano has since spread and been extremely popular with several dishes. Whether it's grated on top of pasta, used in a soup dish, or on a salad in order to make the dish that much better. Of course, my favorite way to eat this cheese is just as it is.

Parmigiano Reggiano has a hard texture and a nutty kind of taste. If it doesn't crumble when you chop it from the block, it will surely crumble in your mouth. It leaves an orchestra playing in your mouth, tempting you to go for more. When it's in the right state, Parmigiano Reggiano is a brilliant cheese. Mario Batali even did his magic with this cheese by creating a bowl and filling it with grappa. There's a lot that could be done with this cheese, and this is a cheese that is difficult to create a disaster with.

If there's anything that's disastrous, it's the interpretations of this cheese. The biggest disaster is the Parmesan cheese that's sold in a container or shaker and laid out on a dry surface. While many practices say that cheese should be kept at room temperature as oppose to the cold temperatures in which it's often kept, the packaging completely hurts the taste of the cheese. Many of times, it's placed in a cardboard container. This causes the cheese to taste like sawdust, or sand, or the cardboard itself. Even when the packaging is dry, it takes the moisture out of the cheese and thus suffocates everything that makes the cheese excellent. If you have any intention of eating cheese the right way, buying prepared cheese that falls under this kind of packaging in a cardinal sin.

When it comes to doing the right thing and enjoying cheese the right way, spending thirteen dollars on a piece of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese shouldn't hurt if you do it on occasion and put the cheese to good use. The fact that it's called "The King Of Cheeses" is indeed an appropriate name and the fact that it tastes good just about confirms the statement. So do yourself a favor and buy a chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano if you have yet to do so for the holiday season!

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