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10 Numbers behind…Parmigiano Reggiano

10 Numbers behind…Parmigiano Reggiano

Just to call it “Parmesan” would be an over-simplification because, behind this great cheese, there are so many curious facts and interesting figures

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2 different names. By Parmigiano Reggiano we mean the parmesan cheese produced in the Italian provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia and certain specific areas around Bologna, Modena and Mantua. Instead, the generic term Parmesan indicates cheese produced elsewhere, even though its sale is forbidden in the European Economic Area which only recognizes the Italian PDO product.

1348 is the year in which Boccaccio described Parmigiano in his Decameron. In actual fact, the first written evidence we have of this hard cheese dates back as far as the 13th century, with a description of how it was made at that time, a method that is very similar to the one used today.

15,9 is the percentage of Italian milk production used by the industry of Parmigiano Reggiano every year. All of this milk gives us about 3.6 million wheels of parmesan, for a total weight of 137,000 tons. This is equivalent to 300,000 wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano per month. In reality, output varies quite a lot from one month to another without following any set pattern.

11.333 tons of Parmigiano Reggiano make France the number one importer of this cheese, followed by the United States with 10.439 tons. The third position is occupied by Germany with 9.471 tons, followed by the United Kingdom (6.940) and Canada (3.030).

14 litres of milk are required to produce one kilo of Parmigiano Reggiano, so one whole wheel takes at least 550 litres of milk.

12 months is the minimum ageing time, but on average it is actually 24 months. This is obviously the final phase in the production of this cheese, which requires as many as eight steps to transform milk into the cheese we all know and love. It all starts from the milking process and the storage of the milk in tanks. From here, the milk is transferred to tubs where the whey is added. Then, the rennet is added and left to curdle. The resulting curd is broken down into pieces the size of rice grains, before being placed in stainless steel cylinders where it assumes its characteristic shape. The wheels are placed in brine for 20-25 days and then transferred to the ageing rooms where they are left to mature.

2,4 billion Euros represents the annual turnover of Parmigiano Reggiano. If we consider the extended industry of “parmesan”, Italy continues to be the main exporter with a share of 38%. It is followed by France (9800 tons), Germany (9460), the United States (9075), United Kingdom (6163) and Canada (2380).

30 kilos is the minimum weight of a wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano, while the maximum weight is 40 kilos. On the other hand, its height can vary from 20 to 26 centimetres with a diameter ranging between 35 and 45 centimetres.

32.4 grams of protein are contained in 100 grams of this product. However, Parmigiano-Reggiano is also characterized by fat content of 29.7 grams, 0 grams of carbohydrates, a lactose content of under 1 milligram, 1155 milligrams of calcium, 691 of phosphorus and numerous vitamins.

200 grams of Parmigiano Reggiano are sufficient to make an excellent Parmigiano potato flan. So take one kilogram of potatoes, 200 grams of diced pancetta, 250 ml of single cream, 100 grams butter, 4 eggs, salt and pepper. Slice the potatoes and arrange the first layer in a baking tin, previously greased with a little oil or butter. Now continue with the other alternate layers of potatoes, pancetta, cream and whisked eggs, Parmigiano, salt and pepper. Ideally, try to obtain at least two layers. Oven bake for one hour at 200° C.

Now, are you craving for some delicious recipes with parmesan cheese? Take a look at our recipes section!

Why don't you feast your palate with some spinach and ricotta balls with parmesan or a fava bean risotto with parmesan?

Looking for a gluten-free option? Try this easy and tasty gluten-free quinoa, zucchini and parmesan cake!

Have you ever thought to match fish with parmesan? Here are a delicious parmesan crusted salmon with spicy potatoes recipes to try. 

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