Our partner in cheese is Parma2064, a cooperative of five family farms, all located in Fidenza, the heart of the Parmigiano-Reggiano region. (The number “2064” is the dairy identification number for the cooperative.) As a cooperative, they have been producing cheese since 1979, and the individual farmers are Cascina “Margherita”, La Rinascente Società Agricola, Società Agricola Colombarola, Società Agricola Fratelli Tonoli e Società Agricola Vighi Mauro e Luigi.
Real people making real cheese - the ingredients are their own cows' milk, natural calf rennet and salt. There are no additives or preservatives. The families have three different locations for cheese production (casefici) in the area and ultimately sell cheese that is aged from 12-36 months.
Within two hours of milking, the milk is delivered to the caseficio. The milk used in each day’s production is from two consecutive milkings: the milk from the evening milking is partially skimmed by natural surface skimming; the milk from the morning milking is used as it is. The cheese is made daily by cooking milk containing fermented whey (natural bacterial starter coming from the processing of the previous day) and natural calf rennet. During the first three to four days of production, the cheese undergoes moulding, which gives the curd its final shape. At the end of moulding, the cheese is salted by plunging it into a saturated solution of sodium chloride and water (brine). After about twenty days in the brine, the cheese is taken out of it, dried and placed in a warehouse to slowly mature for at least 12 months. At this point, experts from the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano assess the cheese to confirm whether it features the desired characteristics and complies with the standards of Parmigiano-Reggiano. There are important assessments with regard to temperature, humidity, texture, elasticity and consistency of the cheese in production. Other important parameters with which you may already be familiar as they are visible are the presence of holes (small holes are allowed in Parmigiano-Reggiano if less than 2mm diameter) and the crystals of tyrosine (the “white dots” on the cheese surface) that are evidence of the cheese maturation. Accepted wheels of cheese are then hot-iron branded with the Parmigiano-Reggiano logo.
For large-sized cuts from the wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano, which is what we offer, the shelf-life is 6 months. All cutting, packaging, and shipping is done at the point of production. Freezing is not recommended.
The cheese pairs well with sparkling or medium-structured red wines, and with IPA-style beers. There is nothing more delicious than a big chunk on its own, or of course grated, on pastas and rice. Each cheese has specific pairings in the descriptions - such as for eggplant parmigiana or with savory jams, such as fruit, spices or caramelized onions. Rare meat or carpaccio with parmesan shavings is also a local favorite dish, and let’s not forget the complimentary flavors of black truffle and eggs.
Brian and Maria Gabriella have always loved the region around Parma. It is not only the land of great food, but also the source of great music - the birthplace and home of Giuseppe Verdi, the composer, statesman, and region’s favorite son. In the words of our partners, “we like to think of Parma2064 as a part of the great symphony of “quality of life”, a perfect combination of music, nature and food, in the heart of the food valley of Italy.”