Parmigiano Reggiano: The King of Cheese

Forget everything you know about the shredded and grated Parm you see in generic grocery store containers. The real deal is called the King of Cheese for a reason, and our Murray’s experts travel all the way to Italy to hand-select the best wheels straight from the source. Join us as we get reacquainted with cheese royalty and take a deep dive into Parm’s delicious and iconic history.

Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is Parmigiano Reggiano, and why is it so famous?

This nutty, crumbly classic has been one of Italy’s most famous cheeses since its birth during the Middle Ages. In the European Union, Parmigiano and even the generic name, Parmesan, is protected under strict D.O.P regulations, so when you see something labeled Parm, you know it’s authentic. Categorized in the “Grana” family of cheeses, which encapsulates most of the common grating cheeses you know and love, this all-time favorite is known for its crunchy texture, bright tangy sweetness, and gentle notes of almonds and strawberries.

Murray’s Parmigiano Reggiano is a particularly special treat. Sourced all the way from Italy, we partner with a farm in the hills of Parma that provides us with the massive, 80-pound wheels from which we harvest one of our bestselling cheeses. Made with 100% cow’s milk, the Parm is infused with a real taste of place, with aromas and flavor notes reflecting the grassy Italian pastures where these cows graze. Once the milk has been collected and gone through the cheese-making process, these giant wheels are aged for up to 24 months until they reach peak flavor: the perfect balance of salty and sweet. At this point, our team takes a trip overseas to sample the wheels and hand pick each for the ultimate profile, and then bring them back to our headquarters in New York City for your enjoyment.

And there’s a reason this cheese has been beloved for hundreds of years. In addition to being addictively snackable, its grating qualities and shelf life are two of its most popular features. Everyone knows Parm is perfect atop pasta–no matter if you’re diving into fettuccine alfred, cacio e pepe, or homemade spaghetti bolognese, a healthy serving of these sweet shavings is the best way to complete a big bowl of Italian flavor. However, Parmigiano Reggiano is also great when its shaved over roasted vegetables (try it with your zucchini noodles!), and is versatile enough to work with most dishes.

Parm stays good for a very, very long time. Because of its extra-hard texture, this granular favorite can last in your fridge until you’ve grated it down to the rind. The best part? Parmigiano rinds are famously great cooking ingredients as well. Typically used in soups and sauces, the leftovers of a wheel or wedge can be tossed in a broth to add a touch of bright, tangy cheese essence to whatever’s simmering on the stove. Try it next time–you’ll thank us later.

Want to check out some of our other favorite Parm varieties? We’re fully stocked on everything Parmigiano Reggiano, from the delectably aged 5 Year Parm to the whole 80-lb wheel, plus all the authentic Italian accompaniments you could ever want. Dig in!