Cheese 16: Parmigiano-Reggiano

One of my favorite meals growing up was noodles with butter and grated parmesan cheese. What kid doesn’t love that classic dish? And to tell you the tRuth, I’d still be quite happy to eat it on a regular basis if I hadn’t become so aware of things like vegetables and whole grains.

That said, grated Parmesan cheese was a staple in the fridge of my childhood. Little did I know, however, that the contents of that green shaker was an economized, processed, American-made version of what I think of as the grandaddy of all cheese, the Italian classic: Parmigiano-Reggiano.

And now it’s time for a few fun facts about our cheese of the week:

-P-R is only made in certain regions of Italy and must adhere to strict laws and procedures in order to be considered P-R

-P-R is always made with raw cow’s milk, traditionally from cows that have been grass or hay-fed

-P-R is cooked and not pressed, and salt is the only allowed additive

-The average wheel of PR weighs 84 pounds

-P-R is high in umami, making it well-loved by foodies or anyone with an eye on flavor per calorie

-Taylor Swift keeps P-R in her fridge at all times, according to Bon Appetit

So basically, you have to love this cheese. I do. I like to snack on small chunks cut from a wedge like this one, or shave it over pasta and soups. What’s your favorite way to enjoy P-R?

Week 16 of 52 Weeks of Cheese: Parmigiano Reggiano from Italy

Cost per pound: $20

Aging time: 2 years

Hardness/style: Firm

Milk type: Cow

Rating (of 10): 9

Firm but crumble-able, salty, umami-fied, complex perfection. Please find yourself a smell wedge of authentic P-R as soon as possible.


  1. Sasha says:

    Mmm this stuff is the s***!!!
    I like to eat it by itself, and even more so if I have to patience to let it come to room temp. But there’s really no bad place for some PR.

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