About Imported Italian Parmesan
Schuman Cheese is the largest importer of Parmigiano-Reggiano in the United States, and our partner, Zanetti, has the highest market share in the nation. Zanetti Parmigiano-Reggiano, which has been exclusively imported by Schuman for 60 years, is the best known premium brand in the country.
Called “The King of Parmesans,” this Denominazione D’Origine Protetta cheese is only made in the “typical” zone, meaning the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna to the west of the Reno River and Mantua to the east of the Po River. This area is reputed for having some of the finest milk in the world.
Production of this authentic Parmesan is limited and all cheese is produced on small farms as a cottage industry. All aspects of production are highly regulated by the Consorzio Parmigiano-Reggiano, a group that governs and controls all rules regarding milk, production, testing and labeling of the cheese.
Production follows an 800-year-old tradition. No additives are permitted and cows must be fed a special diet (no silage). To produce the cheese, morning and evening milk is combined, skimmed, then heated in copper vats under the watchful eye of a master cheesemaker who knows just when the curd has set. The wheels are cured in brine for about 24 days and then placed on racks where the concave wheels are turned and brushed continuously throughout curing.
The Consorzio tests throughout maturation. Only perfect wheels can bear the Consorzio seal, which is a pin dot expression of the cheese’s name on the rind. (An export stamp is added when the product is shipped.)
Parmigiano-Reggiano is completely traceable to its origin. Each straw-colored 75-pound wheel bears the date of production and factory number. Coda (Fall) and Testa (Spring) cheeses are considered the best, as this is when the cows produce the finest milk.
The traditional flavor profile is described as “nutty,” and the long aging produces white calcium spots that give the cheese a crunchy bite.
Parmigiano-Reggiano is used in cooking. It can be grated, shredded or shaved on pasta, salads and vegetables. It is a delicious dessert when paired with fruit. High in calcium, Parmigiano-Reggiano is a healthy snack for adults and children alike.