Known as the king of Italian cheeses, parmesan originated in the Reggio and Parma regions of Italy. Made from part-skim milk and aged over 10 months, it has a granular texture and tastes sweet, buttery and nutty compared to the sharper and more piquant flavor of romano. Parmesan has become very popular in the United States, and Wisconsin leads in the production of award-winning parmesan.


Pale yellow




Buttery, sweet, nutty, intensifies with age

Serving Suggestions

Serve a bowl of freshly grated parmesan on the table with pasta dishes, steamed vegetables, soups, salads and pizzas. Add freshly grated parmesan to hot garlic mashed potatoes or risotto. Serve parmesan chunks drizzled with a good quality balsamic vinegar.

Goes Well With

Pasta, rice, other grain-based dishes, vegetable soups, cream and tomato sauces, grapes, figs, plums, walnuts, balsamic vinegar Red wines like Barolo; dessert wines like Vin Santo


Wisconsin parmesan comes in 22- to 25-pound wheels, half wheels, quarter wheels, and random- and exact-weight pieces. Wisconsin cheesemakers produce parmesan known as American Grana, made in the traditional 75-pound wheel and aged for 15 to 22 months. It is available in a variety of sizes and styles.

Performance Note

In Italy, the fashion is to serve parmesan for dessert with fresh figs, walnuts and a sweet red wine known as Vin Santo. Some commercially grated cheeses contain anticaking ingredients that prevent them from incorporating completely into sauces. Freshly grated cheese produces smoother sauces. Many Wisconsin cheesemakers offer freshly grated parmesan without anticaking ingredients.

  Cold Surface Broil Oven (in recipe) Oven (surface) Direct Heat (in suspension)