Think you know parmesan cheese? Italian parmigiano reggiano cheese, regulated by the government's DOP guidelines, is one of Italy's most famous regional foods. We recently got an education about cheesemaking in Bologna, where recognizing and appreciating quality is the key ingredient of the Italian Days Food Experience. Well that, and the amazing food feast at the end.
Check out this labor of love in creating Parmigiano Reggiano - the undisputed King of Cheese - over a decade to produce and just a second to wash down.
Consortium #1384, producers of fine Parmigiano Reggiano, also known as the “King of Cheese”.
The plant is operated by just six men who begin the days first round of production at 4:30am. Parmigiano cheese production is labor intensive to say the least.
The Consortium operates under DOP, which in English stands for Protected Designation of Origin, a strict set of government regulations established to ensure total traceability from farm to table. Rules are enforced by official inspectors throughout the entire production process.
This is serious business in Italy.
Even the farmers who supply the milk for just one wheel of cheese - 550 liters of milk - 145 gallons! - are under the control of the consortium and DOP regulations.
Once the morning tasks are completed, usually around noon, the men go home to rest only to return at 4:30pm to start the next steps in the process.
After all is said and done - from milking the cows, processing, and aging it 12 months and longer, to final inspections - there is the birth of the King.
IF YOU GO
The Italian Days Food Experience will ruin you for forever for Italy's most iconic foods, but in the best possible way, and it's the perfect introduction to Bologna for first timers. Alessandro puts his heart and soul into making it much more than a tour. You'll be a Parmigiano cheese convert and a balsamic lover when the day is done. Book your tour online or at the Bologna Welcome infopoint in Piazza Maggiore.