Minimum maturation is 12 months (the longest minimum maturation for any PDO cheese), but Parmigiano-Reggiano reaches a degree of maturation that fully expresses its typical characteristics at approximately 24 months. It can mature up to 36, 48 months or longer, acquiring unexpected and unparalleled flavours and aromas. In maturation, thanks to the action of the enzymes released by lactic bacteria, proteins are broken down into smaller pieces, free peptides and amino acids, the basic bricks of the protein chain. This action of protein breakdown (proteolysis) determines the structure and sensory properties of Parmigiano Reggiano and its digestibility.
The different degrees of maturation give rise to varying aromatic sensations and make it particularly versatile in the kitchen and suitable for several preparations and pairings:
12- 18 months – Parmigiano Reggiano with 12-18 months of maturation has a harmonious and delicate flavour with scents of milk, yoghurt and fresh fruit. It is particularly suitable for aperitifs paired with sparkling white wines, or to enrich salads and cold dishes.
22-24 months – Parmigiano Reggiano with 22-24 months of maturation is soluble, crumbly and grainy with the right balance between mildness and tastiness, with notes of fresh fruit, nuts and meat stock. Perfect with medium body wines and to add flavour to all the dishes of the Italian tradition.
30-36 months – Parmigiano Reggiano with 30-36 months of maturation is particularly crumbly and grainy. The flavour is pronounced with notes of spices, nuts and meat stock. It is an ideal ingredient for filled and baked pastas or to be tasted at the end of meals, paired with fruit and honey.
more than 40 months – Parmigiano Reggiano with 40 months has passed the test of time and releases pleasant scents of spices. It is an exclusive gift and a pleasant companion to be tasted with structured and meditation wines.
For further information on the Consortium, the product and the processing: www.parmigianoreggiano.it