September 2, 2012

visit to a parma cheese factory

The production area of the original Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is stricly limited, within these borders the restictive production rules apply to every factory and you would think: Parmigiano cheese is Parmigiano cheese, right?
But we´re in Italy and it´s not that simple -  you find a wide varity in taste, independent from the maturing age and I´m going to tell you why.
First of all, we have to deal with differnt breeds of cows, the "La Rossa" and the "Bianca Modenese" (I explained the difference in an earlier article), second point is the specific location of the factory and last, but not least, every  cheese  master has his own signature. Let´s talk about the location: The area includes as well the flat, plain territory along the Po-Delta as the hilly countryside of the Appenin foothills, where the grass is not as fat, but includes more tasty herbes - you find less cows on the same amount of acreage. As a result, the factories in the plains expanded a lot, they produce for export and you´ll find this cheese in US supermarket shelves, whereas the factories in the hills stayed small - they don´t have enough grass to feed more cows. Since they also stayed with the traditional manual production, they still have the chance to devolop their own way, always sticking to the rules of the Consortium and, some of them, to the Slowfood agenda. This kind of Parmigiano you won´t find abroad, you have to come to the beautiful Emilia-Romagna!

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