Parmigiano Reggiano Dop, "one of the symbols of Made in Italy that the whole world envies us, was born in Italy".
The first traces of its commercialization date back to 1200, while the best known literary testimony dates back to 1344, when Boccaccio in the Decameron described the district of Bengodi, citing a mountain of "grated Parmesan".
After the controversy that arose from an article in the Financial Times in which the origins were traced back to Wisconsin, the Consortium of Producers is retracing the history of the famous Italian cheese.
"A notarial deed drawn up in Genoa in 1254 - they write - testifies that since then the caseus parmensis (Parma cheese) was known in a city so far from its production area".
Produced in the fourteenth century in the abbeys of Benedictine and Cistercian monks, it saw an expansion of trade in Romagna, Piedmont and Tuscany, from whose ports the cheese produced in Parma and Reggio reached the Mediterranean.
The shape has seen an evolution over the years.
"The wheels in the Middle Ages were decidedly smaller, while today they weigh over 40 kg".
Similarly, "over the years the production techniques have evolved to comply with the health and hygiene standards that all food products must comply with", but "the recipe has been the same for a thousand years, as well as the production technique which it has undergone few changes over the centuries, thanks to the decision to maintain a completely natural process, without the use of additives".
In 1996, the production was recognized as a Protected Designation of Origin by the European Union, with a very strict disciplinary which establishes that the processing, from milk production to packaging, "must take place in a limited area, that of the provinces of Parma , Reggio Emilia, Modena, Mantua to the right of the Po and Bologna to the left of the Reno".
It was the European Court of Justice itself that judged that the term Parmesan is "an evocation of Parmigiano Reggiano and constitutes a violation of the community legislation on the subject of geographical indication, as well as a misleading practice for the consumer".