Parmesan cheese is one of many signature foods Italy has to offer. Whether sprinkled over pizza or eaten as a snack, this popular cheese continues to soar in global popularity. Sadly, many within the Jewish faith are not allowed to consume this cheese due to religious and dietary restrictions. This is especially true for the Jewish community in Italy, which consists of several food connoisseurs and aficionados. While kosher parmesan cheese is available, most are simply processed and not authentic across the board. While parmesan usually refers to generic grated cheese in the West, the real cheese is produced in Northern Italy and dates back centuries. As a result, there really is no kosher Parmigiano-Reggiano available for those of the Jewish faith. This, however, is changing very soon.
Authentic Kosher Parmesan Parmigiano Reggiano.
For the first time ever, two local producers in Emilia Romagna have launched authentic kosher parmesan lines. This includes the famous Bertinelli cheese factory, which recently announced its plans for kosher Parmigiano-Reggiano by the end of 2015. Caseificio Colla will also have its official kosher line launch this October. The news has dazzled the culinary community, and especially Jewish food enthusiasts that have been waiting for products like these for years. Due to the small Jewish population in Italy, however, the producers will mainly be targeting Israeli and American markets. Still, the ability to have real kosher parmesan cheese has put smiles on many faces across Italy.
In order for parmesan cheese to be deemed kosher, it must pass a number of strict protocols. This includes its milk, which must emanate from cows consuming grass or hay. Secondly the cheese must be aged for at least a year, and restricted to certain factories and provinces. This includes Modena, Bologna, Reggio Emilia, and of course, Parma. While the Azienda Agricola Fantacini firm used to produce kosher parmesan cheese, this ceased in 2010. The result was a void felt by many observant Jews that relied on kosher products for dietary reasons. With the launch of 2 new kosher lines, however, Jews within Italy can enjoy mouthwatering parmesan again without the worry of breaking religious traditions.
The Bertinelli cheese factory dates back to the mid-1800s. As a family owned entity, they specialize in a myriad of cheeses and delicacies. Nicola Bertinelli, Owner, stated that the new kosher line is a big step for the company. The factory will ensure their kosher line meets strict guidelines, and the process of turning milk into hard cheese utilizes the right rennet. This is the main substance used for hardening, which must come from slaughtered animals based on Jewish law.