In the regions around Parma, Italy, Parmigiano Reggiano has been produced for at least 800 years. Authentic parmesan from this area will always bear an imprint on the rind.
The best and original parmesan cheese is Parmigiano Reggiano. Its generic term is “grana,” which identifies it as a grain cheese produced in the and Reggio Emilia regions of . Today, only a few surrounding areas also produce this fine cheese. All other versions are identified only as parmesan.
In , this cheese is produced as Parmesano and in it is called Parmezao.
Parmigiano Reggiano will bear a stamp on the rind.
Never purchase any fresh parmesan wedge that does not have a rind. A cheese that has been too long on the shelf is whiter in color and will most certainly be too hard.
Commercially ground parmesan in canisters remains an economical and convenient option, but there is a significant difference in flavor. Most brands have a very long shelf life.
Fresh parmesan can be kept for about four weeks if refrigerated. Wrap first in a layer of wax paper and then in foil. Each time you use it, be sure to rewrap in a clean sheet of wax paper.
Parmesan can be frozen whole or shaved, but may have some flavor deterioration.
Ground, dried parmesan does not need to be refrigerated until opened, unless it was purchased in the dairy section at the store. Once the seal is removed, flavor will remain at its best with refrigeration.
• In grated form, parmesan is the topping of choice for every type of occasion from casual (pizza) to elegant (mushroom risotto). It can also become the perfect appetizer or dessert cheese as it is a delicious complement to apples, pears, and figs.
• Shred or grate a little into soups, add to a baked potato, or melt on top of a hot buttered slice of French bread.
• Always shave or grate just what you need and, preferably, just before serving or adding to a recipe. In fact, Italians use parmesan almost strictly for table service and sa