Many of us are familiar with Parmigiano Reggiano as a Made in Italy product of excellence. Slightly fewer know in detail what makes it unique in terms of food and nutrition. Many fewer know the characteristics that can differentiate normal Parmigiano Reggiano from organic Parmigiano Reggiano and how the latter presents unique uniqueness
The Caseificio Bio Reggiani is here to clarify your ideas, so let’s unveil the characteristics of Organic Parmesan one by one.
The Characteristics of Organic Parmesan Cheese
Let’s start from the assumption that in order to certify one’s products according to organic criteria, one must refer to the guidelines of a specific body. There are different bodies you can choose to refer to, they may differ from each other, but they all have the same objective: to guarantee the consumer higher quality organic food that has less impact on health, the environment and animals.
The Caseificio Bio Reggiani refers to the CCPB Certification, one of the best known and most recognised in the organic world.
That said, what actually differentiates organic Parmesan from non-organic Parmesan?
NO additives, NO preservatives: the use of additives that may alter the natural composition of Parmigiano is absolutely not permitted. As far as preservatives are concerned, it must be said that Parmigiano Reggiano already has a process whereby the only preservative used is salt. With Organic Certification, however, the use of additional preservatives is strictly forbidden and punishable by penalties.
NO pesticides, NO herbicides: an organic cheese to be produced clearly needs to have an organic farm behind it. Firstly, no pesticides or herbicides may be used. Thanks to this constraint, the grass on which our cows feed when they are out and about is 100% natural. In this way, we can guarantee a much higher quality of milk and thus of Parmigiano. In addition, this healthy and wholesome diet prolongs the life of the animals (from an average of 4/5 years for intensive herds to 6/7 years).
NO antibiotics: they can be administered to the animals at most once a year. We at the Caseificio Bio Reggiani have chosen not to administer them at all. Think of the quality of the milk and therefore of the Parmesan cheese that ends up on your table, made from the milk of a cow that has NEVER taken antibiotics in its life. Here, think also that in non-organic cheeses this constraint is non-existent.
Organic fodder: the cows are obliged (we oblige them, heheh) to feed themselves with certified organic fodder. Another feature that improves their state of health and thus the quality of the milk they produce. The same milk that will then give life to the Parmigiano Reggiano that will end up on your plates.
Extensive pastures: for each adult animal we must guarantee at least one hectare of land (this brings us to a total of 1650 hectares of land expanding from the province of Bologna to the province of Reggio Emilia). In the cowshed, the cattle must be left free and there must be at least 5/6 metres of space between one cow and another, to allow natural and unforced movement. Therefore, we are talking about a compulsory presence of both internal and external pastures, on considerable extensions of land. The organic milk of a cow that has had the opportunity to lead a dignified life in the open air will certainly produce a superior quality Parmigiano Reggiano.
By saying this we do not want to belittle the work of others, organic is a choice, for some not to be pursued, for others purely economic, for us it is a value.
What we bring to the consumer is a product of the highest quality that combines flavour with sustainability: genuine, healthy and good.
So, the next time you wonder why you might encounter a premium on an organic product, think about all the efforts we have listed above, which a producer is obliged to make. Then perhaps also ask yourself:
“Is my health and that of the environment around me really worth a few extra euros of savings?”
And then trust me, even the taste is affected 😉
Thanks for reading and see you in the next article!
Want to order online? We’ll bring you the Parmesan cheese.