per 100 grams
Carbohydrates 3.2 g
Proteins 35.8 g
Fats 25.8 g
Water 29.2 g
Sugar 0.8 grams
Fiber 0 ug
Ash 6 grams

Parmesan Cheese

392 Calories per 100g

Parmesan is an iconic Italian cheese, known for its hard texture and nutty, salty flavor that give pasta dishes that extra special something. From pizzas and pastas to salads and soups, a good Parmesan cheese has a way of taking any recipe from average to amazing. But what is Parmesan really? How did this cheese earn its lofty place in foodie royalty, and why is it so beloved around the world? Read on to find out everything you need to know about Parmesan cheese.

What is Parmesan Cheese?

Parmesan cheese is an aged, hard cheese that originated in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and is now one of the most popular types of cheese used in cooking around the world. It’s known as Parmigiano-Reggiano, or just “Parmesan” for short. Parmesan is made with cow’s milk, salt, rennet, and enzymes. The cheese is then aged for at least 12 months and some types of Parmesan can be aged for up to three years.

The History of Parmesan Cheese

The first references to a cheese similar to today’s Parmesan cheese can be traced back to the Middle Ages. During this time, monks in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna were the first to produce a cheese made from cows’ milk that was suited for long-term storage. These wheels of cheese were then stored for months, or even years, to give them their piquant flavour. In the 14th century, Parmigiano-Reggiano was awarded a P.D.O. (Protected Designation of Origin) status, making it one of the earliest cheeses to receive such a distinction and helping to ensure it's authenticity to this day.

How is Parmesan Cheese Made?

The centuries-old process of producing Parmesan cheese hasn’t changed much over the years. Parmesan cheese is still made using the same techniques that were developed in the Middle Ages. First, raw cow’s milk is collected from farms that are within the Emilia-Romagna region and then it must be processed within 24 hours and heated to a required temperature, 32? for whole milk and 39? for skimmed milk. After that, calf rennet and other dry ingredients such as salt, pepper, peppermint and oregano are added. The curds are then cooked and stirred, strained, milled and kneaded. The cheese is then put into a mould to give it its typical wheel shape, and it is left to age in a controlled room for 12 to 24 months at a temperature of 14°C. During the aging process, the cheese is periodically inspected and given a stamp of authenticity.

What are the Different Types of Parmesan Cheese?

Parmesan cheese can be characterized into two main types: Grana Padano and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Both types of Parmesan cheese are milk based and made with partially skimmed cow’s milk, but their production methods are slightly different. Grana Padano has a milder taste and is aged for a shorter period of time (9–18 months). On the other hand, Parmigiano Reggiano is aged for 12 to 36 months and has a strong, nutty flavor.

What is the Difference Between Parmesan and Other Cheeses?

While Parmesan is similar to other hard cheeses out there, such as Asiago and Romano, it still has some key differences. Parmesan is harder and drier than other cheeses, with a grainy texture and a salty, nutty flavor. It also tends to be more expensive than most other types of cheese due to its lengthy production process and the expensive ingredients used (i.e., cow’s milk). Parmesan also contains higher levels of calcium than other cheeses, making it an ideal choice for those looking to increase their calcium intake.

What is the Best Way to Enjoy Parmesan Cheese?

The best way to enjoy Parmesan cheese is by grating it onto pastas, pizzas and salads. You can also sprinkle some on top of casseroles, lasagnas and soups for an extra bit of flavor. If you’re looking to get more creative with it, you can also try shaving Parmesan into curls or adding it to pesto and potatoes. Parmesan cheese is also delicious melted into sauces and appetizers, such as bruschetta or crostini. You can even use it as a topping for your baked goods, like biscuits or garlic bread.

Parmesan cheese is truly a star among cheeses — its distinct flavor and texture make it a staple in Italian cuisine, and it has even earned its own place in foodie culture around the world. Whether you’re looking to make a simple spaghetti dish extra special or you’re trying to find ways to get creative with Parmesan, this cheese is along for the ride.