Parmigiano Reggiano is known as the «King of Cheeses». Ancient Etruscans first produced the cheese using sheep’s milk and its preparation has remained largely unchanged over the centuries. The best Parmigiano Reggiano is traditionally made in copper-lined vats. The ageing process is strictly regulated. Parmigiano Reggiano must be aged for a minimum of 12 months but reaches peak maturity when left to age for three years. The older the cheese, the more cheese crystals it contains. Therefore, in theory, when stored in ideal conditions, Parmigiano Reggiano will never expire. During the ageing process, the cheese undergoes a sound test. Silver hammers are used to tap the wheels and identify defects. This test is performed by an experienced master called a battitore. Each Parmigiano Reggiano wheel receives a unique identification label. The lower the number on the rind, the higher the ranking of the cheesemaker.
Parmigiano Reggiano has a rich and complex flavor that possesses a certain sharpness. It has notes of fruit and nuts, and a savory lingering aftertaste. The cheese has a deep and spicy aroma. However, the flavor and aroma of Parmigiano Reggiano can vary depending on age. Over time, the cheese becomes fuller and more pronounced in taste.
Parmigiano Reggiano pairs well with ciabatta, a popular Italian bread made with a sourdough base. Ciabatta is rectangular in shape and is thought to resemble a worn-out slipper (hence its name in Italian). Ciabatta is crusty and crispy on the outside, but the inside is soft and porous.
This delicious duo is best accompanied by the equally renowned Mascarello Barolo DOCG Monprivato 2011 wine. Mascarello Guiseppe e Figlio is a family-run winery founded in 1881. The Barolo DOCG Monprivato 2011 wine is elegant, refined, and full-bodied. Its subtle features are not a sign of weakness, but of the character and very nature of wine.