Postcards from Italy
THE BLOG OF CIU TRAVEL

Parmigiano-Reggiano Pairings and Recipes: 12, 24, 30, and 36 Months

Congratulations, you’re the proud owner of a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano, one of the most iconic cheeses in the world!

If you’re not, you should be...and now you can order authentic aged Parmigiano-Reggiano directly from Italy in just a few clicks via the dedicated page on our Cantina Direct site. We’ve sourced top-quality cheese from the Parma2064 cooperative - a group of five historic family farms located in the countryside outside Fidenza, deep in Parmigiano-Reggiano country - and chosen to offer four different agings so you can compare the subtle variations in texture and flavor between wheels aged 12, 24, 30, and 36 months.

Parmigiano-Reggiano
Parma2064 Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese is available in the USA via CantinaDirect.com

Now, what to do with this precious Italian staple, invented by Benedictine monks almost a millennium ago and produced roughly the same way with no additives and no preservatives since? All certified authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano is made using the same technique and ingredients (take a deep dive into the production, aging, and certification process in our Parma Food Tour blog post), but the final product is markedly different depending upon the age of the individual wheel.

Parmigiano-Reggiano


  • Younger “Primo” cheese (aged a minimum of 12 months) is lighter in color, creamier in texture, and still tastes of fresh, buttery milk and bright grass and herbs from the local forage that must be used to feed the cows.
  • As the cheese ages another year and earns the name “Classico”, it becomes slightly darker and more granular. The flavor deepens and begins to take on floral or fruity notes with hints of spice and nuts.
  • “Lunga Vita” Parmigiano-Reggiano, aged 30 months, has a more intense color and flavor. This crumbly cheese is unique for its stronger herbal notes with traces of toasted nuts and spices.
  • Aged a full 36 months, “Extra Lunga Vita” cheese has the most striking color and grainy texture, with a complex blend of flavors from sweet hay to chestnut. This aging also has the most intense umami effect and you can sometimes pick up notes of rich beef broth and dried mushrooms.
Since Parmigiano-Reggiano evolves in its texture and flavor over time, you should try different pairings and recipes with each aging to highlight its specific characteristics. We suggest ordering a variety of different ages of cheese to compare and contrast their nuances and choose a favorite. If you’re unsure which to order, contact us for some tips and guidance and be sure to click through to the full article for 4 fabulous recipes! Read Moreā€¦