Parmesan – the king of the cheese world
Close your eyes and say in a whisper: “Parmesan!” And now you are already sitting in the shade of the vine, drinking your favorite wine and enjoying the taste of cheese. Truly a magic word! No less delightful is the owner of this name – Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. We will tell you about where he was born, how it came to our days, in what recipes it is used, about the composition and health benefits of parmesan. Meet His Majesty Parmesan!
History of Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese recipe was developed about 900 years ago at the Cisterian and Benedictan monasteries. For all these years, the composition of parmesan has not changed: milk, water, salt and the lion’s share of patience during ripening. The monasteries were located on the plain between Parma and Reggio Emilia. From these provinces the cheese got its name Parmigiano Reggiano. A large number of pastures contributed to the development of farming in monasteries and the appearance of an excess of milk, which required the search for a recipe for an ideal dairy product capable of long-term storage. The first written mention of cheese is a notarial act drawn up in Genova in 1254, according to which a rich woman mortgaged her house for the annual supply of 25 kg of cheese produced in Parma. Then it was known as caseus parmensis (Latin name). During the 14th century, the Cisterians of Benedictine Abbey maintained a monopoly on the production of parmesan and sold it throughout Italy. In the 16th century, a recipe for Parmesan cheese was sold to Europe, where the best chefs in Germany and France began to cook it. On August 7, 1612, the Duke of Parma compiled a list of places where the word “Parma” could be used in the name of his product to protect the original production.
The name “Parmesan” (Parmesan) appeared in French, which meant “from Parma.” By 2004, there were around 512 cheese producers in the world with the name Parmesan. But in 2008, the European Court decided to name “Parmesan” only cheese made in the northern regions of Italy. Historical facts and literary episodes In 1344, Giovanni Boccaccio in the book “The Decameron” mentions the use of “grated parmesan for pasta and ravioli.” The great playwright Moliere, trying to prolong his life, adhered to an unusual diet: 320 g of parmesan and 3 glasses of port per day.
Dr. Livesey (the hero of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island) said: “You saw me a snuffbox, right? But you never saw me sniff tobacco, because in my snuffbox I always put a slice of Parmesan cheese. He is very nutritious! ”There is a version that the third president of the USA, Thomas Jefferson, contributed to the popularization of Parmesan in America. How Parmesan is made – the technology of making Parmesan cheese is called the king of cheeses. Its production takes place every year from early April to mid-November (the period of “green pastures”).
Currently, cheese made in only five provinces of Italy (Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Padova and Bologna) is considered a true parmesan with a special quality mark. Milk for cheese is taken from cows grazing Only on the pastures of the regions where the original Parmigiano Reggiano was made. We advise you to visit the gastronomic tour from Parma for the production of Parmesan.
For the production of cheese, raw materials from two milk yields are taken: morning and evening. Evening milk is left in tanks for spontaneous curdling. The next morning, the milk of the new milk yield is degreased and mixed with already sour milk. The mixture is sent to copper boilers containing 11 centners, which is enough to get two heads of cheese. That is, for the preparation of 1 kg of parmesan, approximately 14 liters of milk are needed.
After aging at 20 degrees, the vats are heated to 34 and add renin, an enzyme that digests proteins in the calf’s stomach. The resulting curd clot is cut into large pieces, and then with sudden movements break the mass into small particles the size of rice grain. Next, the vat is heated to 56 degrees. Until the fifties, the heating process was carried out using fire, which was followed by young workers, adding firewood. This profession was called sotcaldèra, which literally means “under the boiler.” After the formation of the correct dehydrated granules, the mixing and heating process is stopped, and heavy protein particles sink to the bottom. With the help of a wooden shovel, the settled cottage cheese is transferred to hemp tissue, which is then again placed in serum.
The clot is cut into two parts and in gauze placed in a round wooden mold, which is periodically turned over to remove excess serum. By the way, the draining whey is carefully collected and then used for feeding pigs, which are destined to become Prosciutto di Parma (Parma ham). At the end of the first day, the fabric is removed and the cheese is placed in the mold for labeling. Two cheese heads, obtained from the same vat, Italian cheese makers call the twins. On the fourth day, the cheese heads are placed in large vats filled with salt water.