Parmigiano-Reggiano is one of the most ancient and rich cheese ever known. It is produced nowadays substantially as eight centuries ago: same ingredients, same production process, same handcrafted care. Parmigiano-Reggiano is a cheese totally natural, known in the world as “King of cheeses” for its particular productive, nutritional and organoleptic characteristics.
The milk of Red Cows of Reggiana’s breed has some qualitative characteristics that differ from the traditional Parmigiano-Reggiano. The Red Cow produces a third less of milk than the Holstein breed, but it has a higher performance in the chesse-making process. In particular in the Red Cows milk there is a variation of the casein, the essential protein in the process of transforming the milk in cheese, that guarantees a better aptitude for the cheese to a long ageing, with a consequent better digestibility. For that reason the production regulations of Red Cows Parmigiano-Reggiano provide that the product can be sold only after at least 24 months of ageing, compared to the 12 months of the traditional Parmigiano-Reggiano. The result is a cheese that, despite the long ageing, has a sweet, delicate and persistent taste. Moreover, also the organoleptic features are different. Characteristic is the straw yellow colour, the elasticity of the grain, the strong but delicate aroma even after 30 months of ageing.
The production regulation
The production of the Red Cows Parmigiano-Reggiano is regulated by the strict guideline of the Safeguarding Consortium for the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, registered at the European Community, as Parmigiano-Reggiano is a Protected Designation of Origin cheese (PDO), that is a product that, thanks to its distinctive characteristics and to its link with the place of origin, benefits of a system of rules granted by EC for the consumer and producer protection. In addition to that the Red Cows Parmigiano-Reggiano follows a further specific production guideline (called “Regulation to produce Red Cows Parmigiano-Reggiano”) written by the Reggiana’s Breed Breeder’s National Association, the only control organisation that is entitled to certify the link between the breed and the cheese. That Regulation provides only grass, hay and certified no GMO feed, it is strictly prohibited to use any method to force the production, high attention to the animal well-being. That is why in our stables we still have animals that are easily over 10 years of age, uncommon in other type of cattle breeding. Our production, started in 1991, has always tried to be sustainable in respect of the environment, the animals and the consumers.
Every wheel of Red Cows Parmigiano-Reggiano has the mark of the traditional Parmigiano-Reggiano:
- There is the caption PDO, provided by the regulation of the EU, that decided that Parmigiano-Reggiano is authorized to have the PDO, a guarantee of origin and of a production from a typical area, an environment that cannot be replicated elsewhere. The dotting with the name Parmigiano-Reggiano, impressed on the wheel, identifies the name and represents the origin mark.
- On every wheel, together with the caption PDO, the month and the year of production, there is the identification number of the cheese factory. So with the list of the Consortium it is possible to know the producer of every piece of cheese.
- When the cheese is about one year old, every wheel will be checked with a needle and a hammer by the experts of the Parmigiano-Reggiano Consortium.
- Only the quality cheese, that it is without serious flaws, will receive the oval mark with the caption “Parmigiano-Reggiano Consorzio di Tutela”, the statement of the qualification required by the production standard.
But to become Red Cows Parmigiano-Reggiano there is still much to do.
In the storehouses chosen for the ageing, the Red Cows Parmigiano-Reggiano will rest and mature for 12 months. When the wheels are 2 years old, the experts of the Reggiana’s Breed Breeder’s National Association will check the quality of the wheel, also with the help of modern technologies. Only the most excellent wheels will have impressed the precious mark of the Red Cows: a unique brand impressed on the top of the wheel. Every wheel is identified by an alphanumeric code on a casein’s plate that accompny the wheel during all its life. Through that code it is possible to know the day of production, the cheese factory producer and the breeding involved in the milk production.