Categories
Fast Food Recipes

Shake Shack Reveals The Secret Recipe Behind Their Cheese Sauce

The secret recipes continue to reveal themselves, this time in the form of Shake Shack’s famous cheese sauce.

Yes, the sauce found on the burger chain’s famous fries, hot dogs, and burgers can now be made in the comfort of your own kitchen — especially since many of us aren’t able to drive out to a Shake Shack any time soon.

Shake Shack’s posted a video on both their Facebook and Twitter accounts with their Culinary Director Mark Rosati showing how their iconic cheese sauce is made.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 Cups American Cheese
  • 2 Cups Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Tbsp Canola Oil
  • 1 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
  • 6 thin slices of Jalapeños
  • 3/4 Cup Onion
  • 1/2 Tbsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Peppercorns
  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tbsp White Wine

Check out the video to see exactly how that prolific cheese sauce goes down! Man, seeing the reveal of the flavors are so complex, but the execution looks so simple.

It appears this is the first of a few upcoming Shake Shack tutorials, so stick around as more are sure to drop soon. I wonder if In-N-Out will have any plans to reveal their secret spread recipe? Doubtful. Until next time, stay safe everyone!

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

PizzaRev Is Now Letting Kids Eat FREE At All Their Restaurants

While everyone’s advised to stay home, parents may have it pretty tough balancing a work-from-home life as well as the responsibility of feeding kids currently out of school. Yes, it’s every parents’ responsibility to make sure there’s food in their child’s stomachs, but what if that meant free pizza?

In an effort to bring some relief to stressed out parents, build-your-own pizza chain PizzaRev is letting kids eat FREE all day everyday.

With the purchase of an adult entree, a child will get his or her own personal cheese or pepperoni pizza, a healthy drink, and a dessert of their choice. Parent and child can sit down together and enjoy their own personally crafted pies from the safety of their homes.

PizzaRev is also offering beer and wine through DoorDash with proof of ID upon delivery. Just in case y’all feel like stress drinking.

Categories
Fast Food News Packaged Food What's New

Taco Bell Just Launched Real Crispy Cheese Snacks

 

taco bell cheddar crisps

Crispy cheese could be considered a delicacy in a number of places, namely my household. The crunchy ends on pizza crusts, the bits of shredded cheese that come out of a quesadilla while it’s cooking, hell, even the burnt Goldfish at the end of the bag — none of these are safe in my presence. For anyone on the same wavelength as me (so, anyone who isn’t lactose intolerant I presume), Taco Bell just came out with the perfect snack: Cheddar Crisps.

Their new Cheddar Crisps are now available in participating 7-Eleven’s and Kroger’s nationwide, and eventually will be on Amazon delivery services. Taking inspiration from classic Taco Bell flavors, they’ll be launching in three different variations: Nacho, Fire Sauce, and Mild Sauce.

Made with real cheese, the disc-shaped snacks are similar to other cheese snacks, except these have the feel of actual crunchy cheese rather than a cheese-flavored cracker. 

If you’re curious as to how these taste, and how fiery the fire sauce flavor really is, check out our Foodbeast first impressions on our Instagram.

For more info on where to stock up on these savory snacks, check out www.tacobellcravings.com for a store locator.

Categories
Adventures Brand Features Hit-Or-Miss

Parmigiano Reggiano’s Impact on Food Culture

A couple hours south of Milan is one of Italy’s most treasured and storied regions that you may not know about. The Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy is a beautiful countryside that encompasses a lush pasture — the ideal place to cultivate epicurean goods. This region is home to important staples of Italian cuisine, with deeply rooted traditions that stretch their influence worldwide, lending itself to be superior producers of ham, balsamic vinegar, and of course Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan cheese) —”The King of Cheeses.”  If your travels ever take you to this land of plenty, it would be easy to see why the culture of food in this region is especially valuable.     

Parmigiano Reggiano is a cheese that bears the weight of centuries old tradition. It carries with it an immortal process of cheese making that has been unchanged since its conception.  The process, developed by the Benedictan monks in the thirteenth century, uses only three ingredients: raw milk, rennet, and salt. With that, they were able to develop a method that safely aged cheese over a long period of time.  To this day, Parmigiano Reggiano, the authentic parmesan cheese can only be produced within the Emilia-Romagna region, using the same ingredients and methods.  

The 352 dairy farms within the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium (the union of producers and traders) abide by a strict process in creating this natural cheese.  The process begins by combining fresh, raw, unpasteurized milk from local cows with calf rennet — the enzyme used to jumpstart the curdling process. It is whisked around in a large copper vat, separating the solidifying cheese and the liquids over a short period of time.  Once the cheese completely sinks to the bottom, it is scooped up and molded into a large wheel. It is later brined in salt and is set to mature properly over the course of at least two years before being sold.

This arduous and meticulous process requires a masterful hand to create, and goes on year round without fail.  It makes absolute sense that these wheels (of fortune) cost what they do at market.   

True Italian chefs know that there is no substitute for authentic Parmigiano Reggiano, and it’s potential in dishes soar higher than as just a garnish on a bowl of bolognese.  Unlike its American counterfeit of the grated variety, parmesan in its truest form can be delivered in innovative ways that take advantage of its robust flavor.

Over time, Parmigiano Reggiano was established as a Denominazione di Origine Protetta (DOP), a product with a protected designation of origin — which means that it is a good produced only in a specific region of Italy, requiring a specific production process that cannot be duplicated elsewhere, due to its association to culture and historical value. 

Parmigiano is truly valued in many frames of Italian culture, especially in the Emilia-Romagna region.  It’s special to all the chefs and gourmands — who value true craftsmanship and artistry; and the pursuit of authenticity.  But especially for the Consortium’s 352 dairy farms and its farmers — the literal nine centuries old art of cheesemaking tradition that spans several generations; all families that are prepared to pass down a noble livelihood to the next generation.  It is pride, passion, and genuine love that is at the center of this story.

Categories
Brand Cravings Restaurants

The Halal Guys Confirms New Burrito Nationwide, And Secret Menu

The Halal Guys grew their legend slanging delicious meal platters built for easy consumption on the go. Piles of chicken and gyro meat, falafel, rice, dabs of red sauce, waterfalls of white sauce — all are part of the delicious hype. The popularity of this cart-turned restaurant chain cannot go unnoticed, and their latest menu addition proves their prominence on the list of Top 10 Fast Food Game Changers for 2019 (link: restaurant game changers).

Keeping in their habit of serving iconic street food, The Halal Guys have confirmed that they will now be serving burritos filled with their beloved rice platter ingredients. Additionally, they’ve unveiled a new, creamy, luscious cheese sauce that’s blended with their famous white sauce. It’s a big move for the chain, but they’ve shown in the past how nimble their model can be with new offerings that continuously capitalize on trends or simply recognize the tastes and wants of their customers.

We got our hands on these new burritos and instinctively ordered an extra side of that new sauce because we had to experience its velvety high. Dunking this burrito all up in it? It would be criminal not to. All of your favorite choices, whether it be chicken, gyro meat or falafel, can be stuffed into this burrito, so trust the platter essence remains true regardless of the vessel.

Feeling a little more hungry than usual? The Halal Guys has verified the ability to order the burrito as secret menu item that’s double the size — and it’s all thanks to the viral creator of “The Blake Diet,” Blake Horton AKA @blake_201 on Instagram. Horton is known for creating and eating massive meals, with portions built for competitive eaters, rather than any normal human, to promote the intermittent fasting diet. The Halal Guys contacted him for the release of their new burrito, which now birthed a version that’s, as Horton put it, “Twice the size, twice the nutrients, twice the gains.” Pretty much think of it as two burritos in one.

So if you’re up to the task of taking down one of these behemoths, make sure to request your burrito be “Blake-sized” and The Halal Guys will serve you up a meal that would make Blake himself nod in approval. 


Created in partnership with The Halal Guys

Categories
Cravings

How to Use the Most Popular Cheeses in the World

If you have a passion for cooking, then you probably want to try all of the most popular cheeses in the world. And there are so many! Here’s a list of the cheeses you need to cook with at least once in your lifetime. It’s the shortest list we could make, but you’re still going to scroll a lot while reading!

There are hundreds of types of cheese in the world. Many of them are only known in some countries or areas, but there are some known across the globe. These popular cheeses are used in most recipes because everybody can find them at their nearby grocery store.

If you haven’t yet tried the most popular cheeses, now it’s the time! Taste them in small bites, to feel their real flavor, then experiment with all sort of recipes that require them! If you don’t know which cheese to choose for the dish you want to make, here’s a short guide to the most popular cheeses.

20 of the most popular cheeses and their uses

1. Mozzarella

Mozzarella may be the most popular cheese of all. It’s a southern Italian dairy product traditionally made from buffalo milk. Fresh mozzarella is generally white, usually rolled into balls of different sizes – from perline, which is the smallest (0.03-ounce/1 gram) to ovoline (4 ounces/113 grams). But it can be found in even bigger sizes: half pound balls or pound logs. There also is low-moisture mozzarella, which is aged cheese, harder and with a buttery color.

You can enjoy fresh mozzarella with a drizzle of olive oil, coarse salt, and pepper, because it has a slightly acidic or lactic taste, but not salty. You can make a simple Caprese salad or eat it with tomatoes in a sandwich. Keep in mind that the best pizzas are never without mozzarella!

2. Parmesan

Parmesan, or Parmigiano-Reggiano, is considered to be among the top cheeses by cheese connoisseurs. It’s a hard, granular cheese with a strong, nutty, and bitter taste, and that’s the reason you should add a small quantity to your dishes.

Parmesan is mostly grated over pasta, used in soups and risottos. It is also eaten as is, as a snack or in cheese sauces. You can make crusts with panko, eggs, and parmesan for coating chicken before frying it, sprinkle it over a casserole dish or a salad, or add it into salty muffins.

3. Cheddar

Cheddar cheese is dry and crumbly in texture, with a deep, tangy, nutty flavor. The color varies from ivory to straw to deep yellow. Cheddar is used to top burgers, as well as in other types of sandwiches. You can use Cheddar over casseroles or grated, in cheese sauces such as the one for mac and cheese, or to make veggie pies or quiches.

4. Gouda

One of the most popular cheeses worldwide, Gouda is a semi-hard to hard cow’s milk cheese from the Netherlands. When Gouda is aged the cheese changes its flavor and texture. Aged Gouda has a strong flavor, with a sharp yet sweet taste at the same time.

Young Gouda can be melted, but aged cheese is best as is or grated in salads or over casseroles. If you eat it simple, have it with beer, orange or apple juice, flavored tea, red wine, or white wine.

5. Swiss cheese

Swiss cheese resembles Emmentaler cheese. It’s a pale yellow color, medium-hard cheese. Some types of Swiss cheese are riddled with holes known as ‘eyes’, except for the ones who don’t have ‘eyes’ and are known as ‘blind’. It’s one of the most popular cheeses in America.

Its mild, sweet and nut-like flavor makes it suitable mostly for sandwiches – especially for Reuben sandwiches – but people usually add it to dishes like pies, frittatas, souffles, or omelets, melted on a steak, in cheese sauces or fondue.

6. Emmentaler

Emmental or Emmentaler is what many people think of when they hear of ‘Swiss cheese’ because they’re quite similar. This cheese is mild, a little sweet, slightly nutty, and a bit spicy at the end. You can use it in many dishes, but especially when you make cordon bleu, fondue, grilled cheese, and casseroles.

7. Brie

Brie is a soft cow’s milk cheese from north-eastern France, pale in color with a slight grayish tinge under a rind of white mold. This cheese has a nutty, fruity, grassy, and even mushroom-like flavor, similar to Camembert. Some people find it unpleasantly acidic, others think it’s pleasant, buttery, and a bit tangy.

Brie and meat make a great combo, but you can also spread the cheese over a slice of baguette. You can also serve baked brie with honey and apples, as a sweet dish.

8. Camembert

Brie and Camembert look and taste alike, and they’re often served in similar ways. Yet there are subtle differences: Camembert has a deeper and more intense flavor. You can make baked Camembert and serve it with cheese crackers, toasted ciabatta slices, or garlic bread. You can also eat Brie and Camembert as is, with grapes and red wine.

9. Gruyère cheese

Gruyère is a hard cheese, yellow in color, sweet but slightly salty, with a flavor that varies depending on its age. Gruyère cheese is generally known as one of the finest cheeses for baking because it’s great for melting. Traditionally, you use it to make cheese sauce. You can also add it to fondue. It’s a fine table cheese. It can be used grated in salads and pasta. A French onion soup isn’t complete without it.

10. Feta

Feta is a Greek cheese made with sheep and goat milk. It’s a white brined cheese, salty, tangy, and moist, with a texture that can go from crumbly to moderately creamy. Crumble Feta cheese in salads and over roasted vegetables, add it to your sandwiches, add it in tacos and other Mexican dishes. Feta can be also served alongside olives, peppers, olive oil, and fresh flatbread.

11. Monterey Jack

Monterey Jack is one of the few all-American cheeses. It’s a pale yellow semi-hard cheese made with cow’s milk. It has a mild and buttery flavor with a bit of tang, and it’s good for melting.

It’s one of the best options for melting it in casseroles, including a classic like mac and cheese, for making sandwiches, cheese dips, and grilled cheese.

12. Provolone

Provolone is an Italian semi-hard cheese. Its taste varies depending on its age; from sharp or spicy to sweet with a very mild taste. Some versions of provolone are smoked. You can use it to complete your casseroles, pizzas, sandwiches, and baked pasta dishes.

13. Edam

Edam is a Dutch semi-hard cheese, traditionally sold in spheres with a pale-yellow interior and a coat of red paraffin wax. It has a very mild flavor, slightly salty or nutty, and almost odorless when compared to other cheeses. As the cheese ages, its flavor sharpens.

Edam cheese goes well with chicken or potato dishes, in pasta, souffles, salads, fritters, soups, and sauces.

14. Blue cheese

Blue cheese is made with cow’s milk, sheep’s milk, or goat’s milk and has cultures of the mold Penicillium added. That leads to creating blue, blue-grey, blue-green, or blue-brown veins of mold in it. Also, Blue cheese has a distinct smell, that some people find unpleasant. It tastes like yeast, it’s a little spicy, and it’s creamy like butter. Blue cheese adds some class to a simple salad, roasted vegetables, or grilled fruit dessert. You can add pieces of blue cheese to top your veggie soup or puree.

15. Gorgonzola

Gorgonzola is a type of blue cheese, but it’s special because of the small ‘blue’ stripes that actually has in it. It’s a mild, sweet, and milky cheese that is best served with a glass of red wine. You can also stir it into a risotto or slice it on your Quattro formaggi pizza.

16. Roquefort

Roquefort is, together with Gorgonzola, one of the world’s best known blue cheeses. This French moldy cheese is like a moist, crumbly paste. It’s made from sheep’s milk and has a sharp, sweet, and nutty flavor that comes from the yeast.

There are plenty of recipes that use Roquefort, thanks to its distinctive taste and its melting capacity. It’s best eaten as is, with crackers or toast, or with nuts and honey.

17. Ricotta

Ricotta is an Italian whey cheese made from sheep’s milk. This smooth cheese with a creamy mild sweet and fresh taste and a thick texture is very versatile. Plus, it’s low in fat, which makes it a good choice for almost any diet.

Thanks to its low salt content, Ricotta is perfect for both sweet and savory dishes. It’s actually perfect for everything from lasagna to pasta, from pies to cheesecakes. You can spread it on a bread slice and top it with veggies, sunny side up eggs, or fruit, and you can use it to make lots of dips.

18. Cottage cheese

Ricotta and cottage cheese are often compared and some people replace one with the other. But they aren’t all that similar. Cheesemakers separate milk or cream into curds and whey. Then, the curds are used to make cottage cheese and the whey is used to make ricotta. That’s the reason why both cheeses – Ricotta and cottage cheese – have different textures. But they’re both soft and mild in flavor.

While Ricotta is described as sweet, cottage cheese is fresh, milky, and creamy, with a moderate saltiness to it. The texture of cottage cheese is chunky, from the curds.

You can use it to top stuffed baked vegetables, like potatoes and pumpkins, in casseroles, pasta, to make a dip or a quick sweet snack (combining it with fruits and granola), in baked goods, or incorporated in smoothies.

19. Mascarpone

Compared to Ricotta (which is smooth, but has a grainy texture), mascarpone has a very smooth texture with no lumps or granularities. Mascarpone is one of the most popular cheeses and is made from cream and citric or tartaric acid, which thickens the cream. It has a milky and slightly sweet taste and a buttery flavor which comes from its high butterfat content.

Mascarpone is best known as an ingredient in the Italian dessert tiramisu. But you can also use it in pasta, mac and cheese, lasagna, or in fresh desserts. Or you can transform it into a dip by combining it with some olive oil, herbs and spices.

20. Halloumi

Halloumi is a Cypriot semi-hard brined cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk, and sometimes also cow’s milk. It’s the best cheese for grilling because it has a high melting point. Because it’s also a salty cheese, you should combine it with something that dims its strong taste.

Just throw it on the grill, then serve it as a starter, drizzled with olive oil and some fresh mint leaves and a glass of wine. You can add it to salads, in omelets served with veggies, in couscous, seafood dishes, or pair it with fresh fruit such as watermelon and pomegranate.

Related Links:

Fondue: The Journey of a Dish from Poverty to Luxury

The Best Italian Dishes to Make You See That ‘La Vita e Bella’

Most American “Parmesan” is Fake: How to Tell if Yours is Legit


Article by Raluca Cristian from So Delicious. View the original article here.

Categories
Cravings Recipes

3 Delicious Cheese Sauce Recipes Perfect Dips and Casseroles

If you’re a cheese lover, you should take advantage of this amazing ingredient and use it in your recipes. Cheese sauces are great in casseroles and for topping main dishes, but also for making savory dips for fries or vegetables.

I love cheese, I adore it in all its shapes and sizes! I eat cheese with almost everything. Sliced or spread on toast, crumbled on top of a soup or a vegetable dish, melted over a piece of meat, in mac and cheese, with walnuts and a good wine, in any casserole dish or gratins, in sauces that I pour over different dishes, or as a dipping sauce.

To be honest, I could give up on meat anytime, but on cheese never! To me, cheese is more delicious than chocolate! If you are a cheese lover like me, learn how to make use of it not only as is but in a range of cheese sauces!

We’ll give you three options, but you can always upgrade your basic recipe by adding or replacing any type of cheese and spices. Be careful though! Make sure that you choose a cheese that melts, because some cheeses crumble without melting, and others break the sauce when heated.

To make cheese sauces, use mainly sharp Cheddar, Gruyere, Muenster, gorgonzola, chevre, gouda, parmesan, Emmental, brie, blue cheese.

3 basic cheese sauces

1. Mornay sauce

Mornay is a basic cheese sauce, being famous for its use in mac and cheese. So, forget about mac and cheese in a box and start making it at home, from A to Z!

Mornay sauce starts off like a Béchamel, only you have to add cheese. A Mornay sauce is a Béchamel sauce with shredded or grated Gruyère cheese added. You can also use different combinations of Gruyère, Emmental, parmesan, or white Cheddar.

Melt some unsalted butter (4-5 tablespoons) in a saucepan over moderately low heat, then add flour (6 tablespoons) and cook over low heat whisking constantly, for 3 minutes. Add milk (3 cups) in a stream, while whisking. Continue to whisk and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and gently simmer the sauce, while whisking occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add grated Gruyère cheese (1 ounce/30 grams), whisking, until melted. Season with salt, pepper, and grated nutmeg.

You can replace Gruyère with Emmental, or Cheddar cheese. You can enrich your sauce with egg yolks and cream for a very tasty result (that means some extra fat in your sauce!).

Using Cheddar in this sauce results into Cheddar sauce or Cheddar cheese sauce, which is a traditional sauce used in English cooking. It could be seen as an English equivalent of the French Mornay sauce.

Mornay sauce (and Cheddar sauce) can be used for the classic croque madame sandwich, lasagna, or in any casserole. You can also serve it on pasta, fish, or vegetables.

Mornay is the cheese sauce famous for its use in mac and cheese.

2. Four-cheese sauce

Who says that, when you make Mornay or Cheddar sauce, you can’t add other cheeses? Nobody! Still, there is one inconvenient: you cannot call it that way. If you want to combine more flavors in a sauce, make a four-cheese sauce!

The recipe requires heavy whipping cream (2 cups) and butter (1/2 cup). Add them to a medium saucepan, over medium heat, stirring frequently until the butter melts. Gradually stir in grated parmesan cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, shredded provolone cheese, and grated romano cheese (1/2 cup of each). Reduce the heat to low and continue to stir until all of the cheese is melted.

To make other versions, keep parmesan and replace the others with cream cheese, blue cheese, or Cheddar. Season the sauce with salt and freshly ground black pepper. You can also upgrade with fresh oregano, crushed garlic, or chopped chives.

Add to gnocchi, pasta, steamed vegetables, baked potatoes, or on top of a steak. Serve immediately, because the sauce will thicken upon standing.

Add four-cheese sauce to your gnocchi, pasta, or steamed vegetables.

3. Cheese fondue

Fondue is a Swiss dish of melted cheese served in a communal pot over a portable stove, heated with a candle or spirit lamp. You can eat one of the best cheese sauces by dipping bread into the cheese using long-stemmed forks. Since the 1950s, the name “fondue” has been generalized to other dishes like chocolate fondue, in which pieces of fruit or pastry are dipped into a melted chocolate mixture.

For now, let’s stick to cheese fondue, which is basically a sauce. If you want to make fondue for when having guests, start cooking the sauce once they have arrived – you’d want the sauce to be warm.

Because fondue comes from Switzerland, the cheeses most commonly used to make it are Swiss ones like Emmental and Gruyère. But you can use blue cheese and cheddar as well.

If you want to make fondue for your guests, start cooking the sauce once they have arrived.

Rub the bottom of the pot you’re going to use with a cut clove of garlic, then discard the garlic. It helps put some good garlic flavor in the fondue. Add dry white wine (1 1/2 cups) to the pot and bring it to a simmer. Gradually add coarsely grated Emmental and Gruyère cheese (2 cups of each) to the pot and cook, stirring constantly in a zigzag pattern (not a circular motion) to prevent cheese from balling up. Stir until the cheese is just melted and creamy, but don’t bring it to a boil.

In a separate bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water and stir, then add the mixture into the fondue. Bring the fondue to a simmer and cook, while stirring until thickened, for about 5 to 8 minutes.

Transfer the fondue pot set over a flame and get all of your dipping ingredients and skewers or long-stemmed forks. You can eat cheese fondue with cubes of bread, garlic croutons, cubes of apple and pear, carrots sticks, roasted potatoes, steamed vegetables, avocado slices, potato chips, French fries, or cured meats.

If you like your cheese grilled, here are some tips to know what cheese goes hand in hand with your grill: Do Play with Fire: Which Are the Best Cheeses for Grilling?


Article by Raluca Cristian from So Delicious. View the original article here.

Categories
Culture Features Hit-Or-Miss

Most American “Parmesan” is Fake: How to Tell if Yours is Legit

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (commonly known in English as “Parmesan”) is one of the most famous in the world. Nicknamed the “King of Cheeses” in Italy, it’s touted for its nutritional properties and umami-boosting qualities as well as its unique taste and texture. It’s one of the most popular and top-selling cheeses worldwide.

Here’s the problem: many Americans have never tasted real Parmesan.

Within Europe, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) product, meaning that, since 2008, only cheeses that comply with a strict set of rules can be sold as “Parmigiano-Reggiano PDO” or “Parmesan.” Like another familiar controlled-origin product, Champagne, in order to qualify it has to be produced within a specific and limited geographic area (which includes the provinces of Parma, Reggio-Emilia, Modena, Mantua, and Bologna) and it needs to be made following a specific process, using genuine raw ingredients that also come from the designated area of origin.

This has led to the rise of fake parmesan cheeses, produced in places like Eastern Europe or South America, sold under similar-sounding names like “Pamesello” and “Reggianito.”

Within the U.S., however, there’s no such regulation, so anything can be sold as “Parmesan,” no matter where or how it’s made — and even if it doesn’t contain any Parmesan cheese at all. In 2012, the FDA investigated a cheese factory in Pennsylvania and found that the cheese it was selling as “100% grated parmesan” was actually cut with fillers like wood pulp and contained exactly 0% real Parmesan cheese, using instead cheaper varieties like Swiss and cheddar. That particular producer was busted and heavily fined due to a tip-off from a former employee, but similar practices are still widespread.

According to Nicola Bertinelli, President of the Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese Consortium, which works to promote authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano and fight counterfeit versions, the estimated turnover of fake parmesan worldwide is over 2 billion dollars annually — more than 15 times the amount of genuine Parmigiano-Reggiano exported each year.  


So, if there’s 15 times more counterfeit than genuine Parmesan circulating outside of Europe, are your chances of buying and tasting true Parmigiano-Reggiano slim to none? Actually, no. Here’s how you can avoid the fakes and make sure you’re getting the real deal:

Don’t buy grated cheese

Grated cheese quickly loses its flavor and moisture, so it’s always better to buy whole pieces and grate it yourself anyway, but also, only grated cheese can be adulterated with wood shavings, and real Parmigiano-Reggiano is exported in whole wheels, so buying it in chunks rather than pre-grated is a better way to ensure it’s legit.

 

Buy whole pieces, with the rind, and look for the stamp

The rind of every wheel of genuine Parmigiano-Reggiano is embossed, after inspection and approval by the Consortium, with dotted letters saying the name of the cheese, date of production, and the seal of approval of the Consortium. Always buy whole pieces that still have a portion of the rind attached, so you can see the stamped letters.


Look for the Consortium’s logo.

Pre-packaged pieces of authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano will have the PDO seal and the Consortium’s logo printed somewhere on the wrapper.


Look for the batch number.

Every piece of genuine PDO Parmigiano-Reggiano will also be marked with a lot or batch number stamped somewhere on the packaging.