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American Parmesan? Lie! It dates back to the Emilian Middle Ages...

Consortium: "Impossible to do it with milk produced outside this area or from abroad"

Following the controversial article in the Financial Times, the Consortium of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese felt "it was necessary to make some clarifications". "Parmigiano Reggiano Dop is one of the symbols of Made in Italy, it is an Italian product that the whole world envies us and was born in Italy - reads a note from the Consortium -. The first evidence of the marketing of Parmigiano Reggiano dates back to 1200 Indeed, a notarial deed drawn up in Genoa in 1254 testifies that since then the caseus parmensis (Parma cheese) was known in a city so far from its production area".

"In the fourteenth century the abbeys of the Benedictine and Cistercian monks continued to play a fundamental role in defining the manufacturing technique. Thus there was the expansion of trade in Romagna, Piedmont and Tuscany, from whose ports, especially from Pisa, the cheese produced in Parma and Reggio it also reaches the maritime centers of the Mediterranean Sea".

"The best-known literary testimony is from 1344: Giovanni Boccaccio in the Decameron describes the district of Bengodi and mentions a mountain of "grated Parmesan" on which "macaroni and raviuoli" were rolled, thus giving an indication of its use could do in the kitchen. Certainly there has been an evolution over the years. In the Middle Ages the wheels were decidedly smaller, while today they weigh over 40 kg. Obviously - the note continues - over the years the production techniques have evolved to comply with the health and hygiene standards that all food products must comply with, but the recipe has been the same for a thousand years (milk, salt and rennet), as has the production technique which has undergone few changes over the centuries, thanks to the choice to preserve a completely natural process, without the use of additives".

"A production that in 1996 was recognized as a Protected Designation of Origin by the European Union, with a very rigorous disciplinary which establishes that the processing must take place in an extremely limited area, that of the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Mantua in right of the Po and Bologna to the left of the Reno. In this area the production of milk, the transformation into cheese, the maturation up to the minimum age (12 months), the packaging and the grating of the Parmigiano Reggiano Dop must take place".

"It is not possible to make Parmigiano Reggiano with milk produced outside this area or from abroad - concludes the note -. It was the European Court of Justice itself, with a sentence dated February 26, 2008, which ruled that the term "Parmesan" is not generic, but it is an evocation of Parmigiano Reggiano, and therefore constitutes a violation of the community legislation on the subject of geographical indication, as well as a deceptive practice towards the consumer".

lml - 30344

EFA News - European Food Agency