sharing (Italian) food to enjoy life

Where are all the cows?

Posted by Jim Carfrae on November 6, 2009

low res cowI am just finishing up a week and a half across northern Italy.  Despite some of the best and most famous cheeses in the world there are no cows to be seen – until today.  It turns out the cows are kept inside to control the feed and to allow milking once or even twice a day.  While the feed is a mixture of grass and grain, the grass is grown in the region of the cheese, at least for parmigiano reggiano.

I was lucky enough to visit one of the 400 Parmigiano Reggiano producers and the largest producer of grana padana.  Why does it taste so good?  It takes 1100 litres of milk to make two 38kg wheels, that’s about 16kgs of milk per kg of cheese! It is aged for 16 to 24 months and  it uses milk fresh everyday!  The grana is made with skim milk so doesn’t need to age as long as the parmigiano which uses a mixture of skim and whole milk. I prefer the grana padano most for eating and the parmigiano reggiano for grating.


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