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The next in line for this 3-post series are the hard cheeses. Tougher in texture, with some distinct flavours. Below 2 examples of world-known hard cheeses, the Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano & the English Cheddar cheese.
Parmigiano-Reggiano, also known as Parmesan, can only come from the region of the combined provinces Parma, Reggio Emilia, Bologna, Modena & Mantua, Italy.
lso known as the ‘’King of Cheeses’’, Parmigiano-Reggiano is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. The cow’s are only grazing fresh grass & hay, that benefits the flavours in the cheese. The cheese is made by mixing the freshly whole milk from the morning with the naturally skimmed milk from the night before (naturally separation of the milk & cream).
This milk is then pumped into copper vats where natural rennet is added to create the curd. After some time the mix gets heated whereby the curd sinks to the bottom of the vat. The curd is then wrapped in a muslin making the excessive whey (liquid) to leak out.
The still soft cheese is then transferred into a wooden mold & laid to rest. A plastic insert between the wooden mold & the cheese imprints the word ‘’Parmigiano-Reggiano’’ & dots as recognition of authenticity.
The harder Parmigiano-Reggiano is then put in a bath of brine for about 24 days to gain that salty ‘’thang’’. After these days, the cheese is heading to the aging-room where they’re laid to age & carefully turned for at least a year. After the aging year an official checks the cheese if it's ready to market & to be sold as a true authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese!
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese has a sharp, fruity & nutty taste with a strong savory flavor & strong aroma.
Cheddar cheese is a hard, white/orangey pasteurized cheese. It originates from the village of Cheddar in Somerset, UK. You can find cheddar made everywhere nowadays, as it’s not a protected name like Parmigiano-Reggiano or Champagne.
Cheddar is made via the usual way of making cheese, but in the process an additional step of ‘’cheddaring’’ is added. After the curd is drained from the liquid bath, the cheddar will be cut into smaller rectangular pieces & stacked upon each other up to 4 max. Due to the weight, excessive whey will be drained out. When the acidity levels in the cheese reach the right point, the cheeses are put in a mill, whereafter salt is added. The final step is transferring the cheese into the moulds to age for at least 2 months. Some Cheddars even age in caves, which provide the ideal environment for maturing cheese.
Cheddar has a close & firm texture, although the taste is quite fine, creamy & tends to melt. Cheddar is often used on the known Cheeseburger.
Other types of hard cheeses are: Grana Padano, Reggianito or Gouda.