Parmigiano Reggiano has ancient origins dating back to the 12th century. The first cheese dairies began in the Cistercian and Benedictine monasteries of Parma and Reggio Emilia. Abundant streams, pastures and salt from Salsomaggiore allowed the diffusion of a hard cheese made by processing milk in large vats.The monks needed a cheese that would keep over time and they achieved this result by drying the paste and increasing the size of the forms. This allowed the cheese to be preserved.
In the 14th century, thanks to cheese-making techniques established by the Benedictine and Cistercians monks, trade in Parmigiano Reggiano expanded to Romagna, Piedmont and Tuscany, where the ports also allowed the cheeses to reach the sea towns on the Mediterranean. Production was also established in the province of Modena in the 16th century. Traders from Milan and Cremona would come to the city square in Parma to buy Parmigiano Reggiano from the local cheesemakers. The trade soon expanded to Germany, Flanders and France.
The need to protect the product from similar cheeses, which were beginning to establish themselves in marketplaces and be confused with Parmigiano Reggiano, led to the formation of the Consortium: in 1920, the dairies of the province of Reggio Emilia formed an association to create the Grana Reggiano Voluntary Consortium.
Thanks to an agreement between the representatives of the cheese dairies of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena and Mantua, the Grana Tipico Voluntary Inter-Provincial Consortium was established on 27 July 1943, with the adoption an oval trademark for the approved cheeses, displaying the year and the inscription C.G.T. Parmigiano Reggiano. The original Consortium was reformed in 1954 as the present-day Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Consortium.
[Fragmentation of the curd]
[The stage of examination and marking of the form]
Curator — Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano