parmigiano reggiano vs parmesan cheese

Difference Between Parmesan Cheese And Parmigiano Reggiano

parmigiano reggiano vs parmesan cheese

Many people think that Parmigiano Reggiano is just a fancy name for a Parmesan cheese.  However, Parmesan cheese and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese are not the same.

So, what is the difference between Parmesan Cheese and Parmigiano Reggiano?  The difference between these cheeses is that Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is the real deal, and Parmesan cheese is an imitation of the real Parmigiano Reggiano.

According to the trademark laws in Italy, the cheese cannot be called “Parmigiano Reggiano” unless it’s made in Italy according to a specific recipe.   Parmigiano Reggiano is always made in Italy, while the Parmesan cheese can be made anywhere else – there are no restrictions on the name “Parmesan”.  Parmesan cheese is produced to try to duplicate the flavor of “Parmigiano Reggiano”.

If the cheese is labeled “Parmesan”, it is the imitation version of “Parmigiano Reggiano” and usually has inferior taste.  The powdered Parmesan sold in the large spice jars give the Parmesan cheese a bad name 🙂 If you taste the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and Parmesan cheese side by side, you’ll most definitely notice the difference.

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is always more expensive than Parmesan cheese.  The money used to buy the real thing is the money well spent – Parmigiano Reggiano will really enhance the food that you sprinkle it on.  Once you taste the real Parmigiano Reggiano, you’ll never want to go back to the plain Parmesan.

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2 replies
  1. Anthony C Iacobucci
    Anthony C Iacobucci says:

    Last fall we visited a Parmigiano Reggiano factory near Parma,Italy and discovered the reason for the difference in the cheeses. It is all due to how the cows are fed. Cows that supply the milk for Parmigiano cheese cannot be fed from grain stored in silos. The natural feed has to be fresh and stored in open feed trays. The cows cannot be given any antibiotics also. Therein lies the difference. Grana Padano which is often promoted as an acceptable alternative is made from the milk of cows fed on silo stored grains and therefore has a different flavor. In addition, no cheese can be exported which is aged less than 24 months and the most expensive cheese is aged 36 months. Any cheese sold in this country which is aged 12 months is not the real deal from Italy and I doubt the the cows have been fed in the same way. The factory told us recently that one of their suppliers of milk was removed as a supplier because they discovered that their cows had ben fed antibiotics. The difference in flavor was detected by the inspector and thereby the farmer was caught and removed as a supplier. All of these regulations are adhered to by the members of the consortium. Any cheese not passed by the inspector and given the stamp of approval cannot be exported and is sold to the locals only. There is a lot behind the authentic product which accounts for the excellent flavor and consistency of quality. Nobody seems to be aware of the reasons for the difference between the garbage that is sold in this country and the authentic cheese that is made in Italy.


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