Parmigiano is born out of its territory and the skills of the people who make it. It is made today just as it was nine centuries ago: the same ingredients (milk, salt, rennet), the same care and passion and the same area of origin.
The production of the milk and its transformation into cheese take place in the provinces of:
Parma; Reggio Emilia; Modena; Bologna, to the left of the River Reno; Mantua, to the right of the River Po.
There is, in fact, a concentration of over 3,500 agricultural firms producing quality milk and the over 380 cheesemaking firms that transform it every day and that age the cheese for a minimum of 12 months through to two years and over, day after day.
Registered livestock farms
Parmigiano Reggiano is produced exclusively in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena and parts of the provinces of Mantua and Bologna, in the plains, hills and mountains enclosed between the Po and the Reno: here are found the farms on which the cattle are raised on fodder produced in the area. The feeding of the animals is strictly regulated to prevent the use of ensiled or fermented fodder.
Parmigiano Reggiano is made with the skimmed milk of evening milking added to the full milk from morning milkings. Poured into the typical copper vats with the shape of overturned bells, the milk is enriched with natural rennet and the starter culture: in this way the coagulation takes place. The curd is fragmented by the master cheesemaker into miniscule granules using a traditional stirrer known as a spino. This operation is followed by a slow scalding phase that reaches 55°C, after which the curd granules precipitate to the bottom of the vat, forming a single mass that is extracted by the cheesemaker and molded to form the wheels of cheese. Around 600 liters of milk are required for each wheel.
Marks of origin
Each wheel is assigned a casein plaque with a unique and progressive number: this is the Parmigiano Reggiano PDO identity card. With a special branding mold fascia marchiante the wheels are incised with the month and year of production, the registration number of the cheese house and the unmistakable dotted script around the full circumference.
After a few days the wheels are immersed in a saturated solution of water and salt: this is salting by osmosis. This final phase concludes the production process for Parmigiano Reggiano and is followed by that of ageing stagionatura.