Parmigiano-Reggiano: How One Region in Italy Put Its Stamp on the World

This multi-billion dollar industry produces one of Italy’s biggest exports.

By: Rachel Vadaj, ISDA Editor 

Parmigiano-Reggiano is a staple in many Italian American dishes. Its hard, gritty texture and fruity, nutty flavors amplifies any pasta dish it is sprinkled over, risotto it’s cooked in, or wine it is paired with.

The cheese’s flavor sets it apart from all others, but that is not the only aspect that does. One wheel of parmesan can cost upwards of $1,000.

Its taste alone is arguably worth the steep price, but why is it so expensive?

Each wheel takes 131 gallons of milk to make and at least one year to age. Most importantly, parmesan cheese can only be created within the region of Emilia Romagna in Northern Italy.

Although the region may be small, they have a global stamp on the world. Parmesan cheese is one of Italy’s biggest exports. On average, 3.6 million wheels are produced each year, making the industry worth $2.5 billion.

Feast your eyes on the following video for an inside look at what it takes to make this coveted Italian cheese:

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