Can the basic attributes of a cheese remain stable over half a millennium or so? Fortunately, written details of the visual, olfactory, taste and texture characteristics of Parmigiano-Reggiano™ cheese can be traced back as far as the Middle Ages. Allowing the collection, consolidation and examination of historical data to form the basis of a new study by professor Mario Zannoni, curator of The Museum of Parmigiano-Reggiano in Soragna, Italy.
“Until XIX century the characteristics of the cheese remained relatively stable. Important sensory changes happened in the XX century in relationship to the accelerated rate of modernization of the environment. The cheese still retained its granular texture being also tasty, a little sweet and rather fatty.”
But what of modern-day Parmigiano-Reggiano™ ? Zannoni continues:
“The characteristics of Parmigiano-Reggiano mean that, as in XIV century Italy, it is still suitable today for grating over pasta.”
The research paper : Evolution of the sensory characteristics of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to the present day is scheduled for publication in a forthcoming edition of the journal of Food Quality and Preference.
In the meantime, readers can savour in full an online essay from the same author (on broadly the same subject) : Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese from the Middle Ages to the XX century