There are many types of cheese on the market more than ever, but nothing defeats these two flavors and texture. This Parmigiano Reggiano vs. Parmesan comparison will tackle that.
These types of Italian cheeses have specific ingredients and locations. They not only have fancy names but they can make your food taste better and fancier.
Your ordinary grilled chicken can become a delicious treat with these cheeses. Not only that, but they can make any food taste better if you use them as a garnish as they enhance the flavors.
The usual boring Caesar salad improves by putting these cheeses into the mix. They can both improve the taste of the food you put them on to enjoy making and eating.
There have been debates between the two types of cheeses on which is better. Here, we will answer that for you.
There are some interesting and important differences between these two, and it can be confusing as these two kinds of cheese are the same in some standards, so let us see them up close.
Is Parmesan Cheese And Parmigiano Reggiano The Same?
If your cheese has the words Parmigiano-Reggiano stenciled on the side of the rind, then you can be sure that it is the real deal. That is what makes this cheese different from the others.
Yes, it is a given that the flavor is different and the texture, but what separates it from mediocre or fake cheese is the authenticity and the name that comes with the cheese.
What makes it confusing is that it is only the Italian for Parmesan. So what it means is that the two types of cheeses are the same in a way, but you cannot always be sure with Parmesan.
If the label is there, then the cheese is made from Italy in Bologna, Parma, Mantua, or Modena.Parma is the place and name from which you get the name Parmesan.
Under Italian law, the cheeses produced in those areas are the only ones that are authentic Parmigiano Reggiano. They make a big deal out of this as they should.
The producers from these are the only ones who can label their cheeses like Parmigiano Reggiano. The law carefully tracks this down to keep the authenticity of it.
The European law classifies the two names as the original names of the cheese. That is why Parmesan is technically the same as Parmigiano Reggiano, as it is just the English translation.
With these considerations, the law itself says that Parmesan and Parmigiano Reggiano are the same. The difference is that other countries can easily fake Parmesan cheese.
Notice that the label of authentic cheeses from those areas is only labeled Parmigiano Reggiano and not Parmesan. So others can make versions that say it is Parmesan and not the other.
The More Common Parmesan
If you see a block of cheese in the supermarket labeled as Parmesan, chances are they are not the authentic versions. Keeping the integrity of the cheese costs a lot of money, and it shows.
The authentic Parmigiano Reggiano or Parmesan cheese is so much more expensive than the ones in the supermarket. You also have to find suppliers to get these types of cheeses.
Companies or producers outside of Italy most likely make the more common parmesan cheese that you see in the fridge at a supermarket. It is a remake, and it does not taste as good.
Cheese labeled as Parmesan in the U.S. is not genuine Parmigiano Reggiano; however, it can still be tasty. Many producers make or remake this cheese with quality.
The difference between the taste is that the original has a stronger, more authentic, and complex taste. There are many things that you can taste with the original Parmigiano Reggiano.
The parmesan cheese made in other countries is great as well. There is some authenticity put in making these types of cheese to hardly taste the difference between the flavors.
What makes it insulting is comparing the original Parmigiano Reggiano with pre-grated Parmesan. There is nothing alike with these two, and you should never compare them.
What’s With pre-grated Parmesan?
There are many reasons why you should not pick up that bag of cheese labeled as pre-grated Parmesan. If you want the taste to be more authentic, then get that large block and grate it.
It is better to grate the cheese yourself as it will have a smoother texture, and it melts better. There are some issues with pore-grated cheese, and you should never get the shelf-stable ones.
These types of cheese have a lot of chemicals in them. They have chemicals meant to prevent the pre-grated Parmesan from clumping together while in the bag.
This not only makes them taste bad, but they also become unhealthy. So if you cannot afford the original Parmigiano Reggiano, then go for a block of parmesan cheese and grate it at home.
But Does The Immitation Parmesan Cheese Taste Good?
If you opt for the parmesan cheese made outside of the areas that the Europan law considers, you might be asking the same question of whether it is good enough.
While it is not genuine, parmesan cheese made in the U.S. or other countries is good. You can see many things different from them, but the overall taste is not that far.
There might be more bland flavors with the imitation, but it does come close. It lacks the original complexity, but it is the closest you can get if you do not have the budget.
You can also use it in many different recipes to enhance the flavor. You might not be too reluctant to try it as that is the type of parmesan cheese that we are used to eating on our pizzas.
Why Is Parmigiano Reggiano So Expensive?
Parmigiano Reggiano is sold at a very high price, sometimes with only one pound costing over $3000. Even copycats sell at thousands of dollars per pound in the U.S.
This is because of laws that prohibit the production of cheese outside of the areas in Italy. So you pay for the authenticity.
Not only that, but you also get a lot of flavors that no other types of cheese can produce. It has an authentic process of letting the cheese age in perfect conditions.
There is also a lot of work put into making just one block of Parmigiano Reggiano. It takes years before one block is allowed to be brought out of the manufacturing area and onto the market.
Making authentic Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is also impossible in other areas. Not only because of the law but also because of the specific bacteria that help the cheese form.
There are only 329 dairies that can make this cheese which also adds to the price. You cannot make the authentic ones if you are out of the areas in Italy mentioned above.
The imitation of parmesan cheese in Wisconsin is also expensive. They respect making authentic ones and producing blocks of cheese close to the authentic ones.
Suppose you want a cheaper remake of the authentic Parmigiano Reggiano. In that case, you can get the imitation from Wisconsin, but let me warn you, it is not that cheap either with this imitation.
This cheese is around $1000 per pound, so you will still spend thousands of dollars for this cheese. However, it is cheaper by almost 33% than the original Parmigiano Reggiano.
How Can You Tell If Parmigiano Reggiano Is The Real Deal?
The most obvious way to tell if the cheese you got is the real Parmigiano Reggiano is the stenciled label on the rind. However, you might have bought only a slice of cheese.
There are some ways to confirm if the cheese that you have bought is the real deal. First, the crust is easily recognizable, and you will be able to immediately tell if it is the real cheese.
Check the label as well if the ingredients are right as there are only three ingredients used to make the authentic ones. The original Parmigiano Reggiano is made only with milk, salt, and rennet.
Any other ingredients on the label mean that it is not the real one. The crust should also show dots around it, which indicates the origin.
There are also some marks on the packaging that indicate the authenticity of the cheese. You can use those as references, especially if the cheese is selling as diced, grated, or flakes.
There are many types of cheeses on the market right now, and you can be easily confused as to which you should get. However, you can never go wrong with Parmigiano Reggiano or Parmesan.
There are some limitations of this type of cheese, but then there is some price to pay if you want the authentic one. There is no real difference between Parmigiano Reggiano and Parmesan.
You just have to find the marks to get the real deal. Other types of parmesan cheese made outside of the areas in Italy are not authentic, but they can still be great for your food.
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