CHEESE CORNER: Parmigiano Reggiano offers depth, versatility

This is the cheesiest column that you’ll see in this issue.


Matteo Ventresca '25

A slice of heaven on the kitchen counter.

Matteo Ventresca '25, Detours Editor

It’s about time The Panther Press brings back a classic after ten years. The Cheese Corner was a column published in the nineties where one type of cheese was highlighted every issue.

For this edition of the Cheese Corner, I bring to you the king of all cheeses, Parmigiano Reggiano. 

This cheese is made exclusively in a city called Parma, found in Northern Italy. Get it? Parma, Parmigiano.

Parmigiano Reggiano is produced in wheels. A wheel is in the shape of a cylinder with a diameter of 14-18 inches and a height of 8-10 inches. It can weigh up to 92 pounds. Each wheel uses about 145 gallons of milk. 

The milk comes from the morning and is poured into the old-fashioned copper vats shaped like a bell. The milk is slowly and naturally mixed with rennet and whey starter, made with starter cultures from the day before. The curd is then broken down into small granules using a special tool called a “spino”. This is where the fire comes in. The cauldron heats up to 131 degrees, and the granules fall to the bottom, forming a single mass.

When a wheel is produced, it needs to be salted. It will be immersed in a solution of water and salt, which is a process of salting by osmosis. 

After the wheel is ready, the fun begins.

The maturation time for a wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano takes a minimum of 12 months and can take up to 40+ months.

In terms of taste, it has a gritty texture and a crisp, subtle fruity/nutty flavor. It might also be bitter, yet plenty of cheeses lack the depth of Parmigiano Reggiano. 

Personally, I find this cheese to have many purposes. I eat this cheese almost every day—whether I put it on pasta, soup, salad, or just eat it in pieces. It is very appetizing no matter what you eat it with (or without). 

It’s like a piece of heaven that came down to earth.