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The King of Cheeses: Parmigiano Reggiano

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Known as the King of Cheeses, there is only one Parmigiano Reggiano, which can only be produced in five regions in North Central Italy. Parmigiano Reggiano is a DOP (Denominazione Origine Protetta) cheese, which means a specially protected artisan product. And wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano shipped directly from Italy are one of the highlights of Passaporto Italia at Central Market!

Their Parm is sourced from a single dairy in Reggio Emilia—the area where the cheese was created and home of the elusive tre numeri, or “three digit,” dairy numbers. Central Market’s tre numeri dairy number is 461, one of the original caseificios, or dairies, that produce just two wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano each day from fresh, local, raw cow’s milk. Each wheel specially selected for Central Market is fire-branded with their logo and shipped directly to Central Market.

In addition to originating in the heart of Italy’s Parm region, the cheese is also special because it’s extra aged—24 months—where the minimum is only 18 months. The extra time gives the Parm intense flavors and a crunchy, crystalline bite.

Serving Suggestions:

• Break it up and serve on a cheeseboard or along with salumi for antipasti.

• Snack on little nuggets drizzled with aged rraditional balsamic vinegar.

• Use as a condiment for pasta dishes, grilled vegetables, and other dishes.

• Save that rind! Drop into soup for an incredible umami kick.

• Pair with a sparkling wine like Prosecco; a red like Chianti or Barbera; or a white Pinot Grigio.

• Beer is often a better match. Lager, pilsner or even a sweet, caramel dark brew brings out the sweet notes of the cheese.

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