Moving Goods

A Ladle ... Tradition

The industry is constantly being moved by new trends – we track them down. In our series 'A Ladle …' we regularly present exciting projects and personalities from the food and gastronomy scene. Today in a 3-question interview: Marcello Turini from the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano.

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What influence do the way the cows are kept and their breed have on the product Parmigiano Reggiano when it is the production and the maturing that make a cheese?

Oh, a very big one! One of the most decisive factors in the production of Parmigiano Reggiano – an authentic natural product from a specific geographical region – is the bacterial cultures that are found only there. They influence the taste and the processing properties of the milk. Our cows are fed only fresh grass and hay, of which at least 75% has to be produced in the region. They are only milked 2 times a day – not 3 times like other dairy cows. They are also allowed outside and are not kept exclusively indoors. The Consorzio employs 7 veterinarians who only look after the health of the animals. Most of the dairy cows whose milk is used for Parmigiano Reggiano production are Holstein-Friesian cattle, which have been at home in the region for many generations as Frisona Italiana. But we also work to preserve the Vacca Bruna – the brown cows – and the Vacca Rossa Reggiana – the red cows – which give a small amount of milk that is unique in taste and nutritional composition. The Parmigiano Reggiano made from it is more expensive and exclusive – and its marketing contributes to the preservation of these ancient breeds.
What role does Parmigiano Reggiano play in Italian cuisine?

Here in the region, it is the "king of cheeses" and it is impossible to imagine cuisine – at home and in restaurants – without it. Matured for a minimum of 12 months, Parmigiano Reggiano is ideal for grating and cooking with its mild flavour. Cheese matured for 24 or 36 months develops its flavour best on its own, accompanied by a glass of Lambrusco or a few drops of Aceto Balsamico di Modena – which is my favourite way to eat it because I am from Modena.

What makes Parmigiano Reggiano – whether from black and white or brown cows – so special in general?

Like any other product whose production not only follows strict rules and ancient traditions, but is also limited to a specific region, Parmigiano Reggiano has a character all of its own. You can taste the earth and the grass and the sun of this part of Italy in it, and it pairs perfectly with other products of the region. Last but not least, it also brings with it a very special nutritional composition. With its high calcium and protein content, lactose-free and without any additives, it is a true superfood!
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About the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano

Together with the producers, the dairies and the farmers, the Consorzio del Parmigiano Reggiano preserves the 900-year-old tradition of Parmigiano Reggiano production – along with valuable jobs in the Parma, Reggio-Emilia, Bologna and Mantua region.

Until a few years ago, the non-profit organisation was solely responsible for the cheese production process, but now it also looks after the quality of the milk and the welfare of the animals on the farms that deliver it to the dairies, as well as the preservation of old breeds and biodiversity. Currently, the Consorzio is working on a guideline that states that only animals raised in the region may be used for breeding.

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Parmigiano Reggiano – A Peek Inside the Copper Vats

Milk, rennet, salt – and time. Those are all the ingredients in Parmigiano Reggiano. Zanetti, a family company, produces the Italian hard cheese in the Parma province according to an 800-year-old tradition. The ageing rooms that are kept at a maximum of 16 degrees also contain the Parmigiano wheels that professional customers in 15 METRO countries can buy under the METRO Chef brand.


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