History of Parmigiano Reggiano
Its origins date back to the 12th century and its birth is located in the area of the Benedictine and Cistercian abbeys located between Reggio Emilia and Parma, however Giovanni Boccaccio in the Decameron explains that already around 1200-1300 Parmigiano-Reggiano had reached characteristics of the modern type therefore its origins could date back to several centuries earlier. The recipe could be similar to that of Piacenza cheese (called Piacentino) and Lodi cheese (Granone Lodigiano), both of which are hard dough, and the latter is sometimes mentioned by Roman sources.
Certain sources cite Parmigiano Reggiano in the 12th century as linked to the great monasteries and castles where the first dairies that produced this type of cheese appeared (they were small buildings with a square or polygonal plan where milk was processed). The four main monasteries in Parma and Reggio Emilia were two Benedictines (San Giovanni in Parma and San Prospero in Reggio Emilia) and two Cistercians (San Martino di Valserena and Fontevivo, both in the Parma area).
A lawn suitable for the breeding of large livestock needs an abundance of water and the largest meadows were formed where there was an abundance of spring water: in Parma in the area north of the city and in that of Fontanellato-Fontevivo or in Reggio in the territory between Montecchio Emilia and Campegine (the latter area was then subject to Parma).
Moreover, in the Parma area, thanks to the salt pans of Salsomaggiore, the necessary salt was available for the dairy transformation.
The production of Parmigiano Reggiano has rapidly spread in the modern district located south of the Po, in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia and Modena, also touching parts of the provinces of Bologna and Mantua.
Currently a large part of the production of Parmigiano-Reggiano takes place with milk produced by Frisian cows, introduced in the territory during the twentieth century, but the breed traditionally exploited for the production of cheese is the red Reggiana, with a triple aptitude (milk, work and meat). , probably introduced by the Lombards.
Its milk production is just over half that of the Friesian, although of superior quality, and this explains its abandonment, combined with the fact that its strength and aptitude for work have become useless with the advent of tractors. .
Some small dairies still use the milk to produce a superior quality cheese, hence the National Association of Bovine Breeders of the Reggiana breed.
A wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese must necessarily have a variable weight between 30 kg and over 40 kg, even if on average it is around 40 kg . To produce a wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano about 550 liters of milk are needed with an average of 14 liters for every kilogram of cheese produced.
Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)
It is a product with a protected designation of origin (D.O.P.), according to the European standard of the EEC Reg. 2081/92 and the recognition of the Reg. (EC) N. 1107/96. Only cheese produced according to the rules set out in the Production Regulations can bear the Parmigiano-Reggiano trademark.
Parmigiano Reggiano must bear the marks in their entirety on the outside of the wheel to identify and distinguish the product. The necessary combination for the production of this cheese are stable meadows and cattle breeding.
The marks of origin, affixed to the birth of the cheese, are:
the signs impressed with the marking band along the entire side of the wheel, which show the dots with the words "PARMIGIANO REGGIANO", the serial number of the dairy, the month and year of production, the word "DOP", the "CONSORTIUM PROTECTION";
the casein plaque, applied to the surface, bears the writing "C.F.P.R.", and an alphanumeric code that uniquely identifies each individual shape.
on both sides of the wheels produced with the Reggiana Red breed milk, there is, hot stamped, the inscription "Vacca Rossa Reggiana" of that animal.
Information source: Wikipedia