What is Reggianito? Argentina’s Little Parmesan & Its Bold Flavor

What is Reggianito? Argentina's Little Parmesan & Its Bold Flavor - Cheese Origin

Reggianito, fondly known as Argentina’s ‘Little Parmesan‘, is a hard, granular cheese that offers a bold flavor profile. It was originally crafted by Italian immigrants in Argentina who missed the familiar taste of their home cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano. This delightful dairy product has a rich history and an even richer taste.

Its name, meaning ‘little Reggiano’, belies its big, robust flavors. With a slightly salty and sharp tang, it mirrors the taste of its Italian inspiration but brings its unique Argentine twist. Whether grated over pasta or enjoyed in thin slices, Reggianito adds a daring dash of Argentine character to any dish.

Quick Facts About Reggianito

Quick FactsDetails
TypeHard cheese
Milk SourceCow’s milk
TextureGrainy and hard
FlavorSalty, nutty, and slightly spicy
ColorPale yellow
Aging TimeAt least 3 months, often up to 6-10 months
SizeSmall wheels, typically around 15 cm in diameter
WeightUsually around 5-7 kg per wheel
RindNatural, hard, and thick
Alternative NameArgentine Parmesan
UseGrating over dishes, cooking, eating as is
PairingsRed wines, fruits, nuts
Production MethodArtisanal and industrial
Similar CheesesParmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano
Shelf LifeSeveral months when properly stored
Fat ContentHigh – about 30-40%
StorageWrapped in waxed or parchment paper, then in a plastic bag, in the refrigerator

What is Reggianito?

What is Reggianito?

Reggianito, a name derived from the Italian word ‘reggiano’ meaning ‘from Reggio’, is a distinctive hard cheese hailing from the vibrant culinary landscape of Argentina. This unique cheese, often referred to as Argentine Parmesan, was created by Italian immigrants who missed their beloved Parmigiano-Reggiano and sought to recreate it in their new homeland. The result? A tantalizingly flavorful cheese that marries the best of two worlds.

Unlike its Italian cousin which is produced in large wheels, Reggianito is crafted in much smaller forms, hence its name – ‘little reggiano’. Made from cow’s milk, it boasts a hard, grainy texture and a natural, hard rind. The aging process, which lasts at least three months but can extend up to ten, intensifies its rich, salty, nutty, and slightly spicy flavor profile.

Reggianito’s compact size and intense flavor make it an ideal cheese for grating over dishes, similar to how Parmesan is used. It’s a star player in pasta, risottos, soups, and more, lending a burst of taste that elevates the dish. But don’t restrict this cheese to your kitchen. With its robust flavor, Reggianito stands on its own as a table cheese, paired with fruits, nuts, and a glass of full-bodied red wine.

Whether you’re an avid cheese enthusiast or a curious foodie looking to expand your palate, Reggianito offers a delightful taste journey. From its humble Argentine origins to your dining table, this ‘little Reggiano’ carries a piece of culinary history in every crumbly bite.

What Does Reggianito Taste Like?

Reggianito has a unique flavor profile that sets it apart. During its aging process, this cheese develops a slightly piquant taste and a hint of bitterness, similar to Grana Padano, another Italian hard cheese. It carries a robust, salty flavor, which is beautifully encased in a crumbly and grainy texture.

Some argue that Reggianito tastes a touch saltier than its Italian counterpart, Parmigiano-Reggiano. This saltiness is not due to salt grains but rather the lactose in the milk used in its production. The savory and salty characteristics of Reggianito complement pasta and baked vegetable dishes exceptionally well.

While different brands of Parmesan can exhibit varying tastes, from sharp to mellow, Reggianito consistently delivers a rich, flavorful experience. Customers frequently comment on its perfectly aged, flavorful quality, describing it as both amazing and delicious.

In comparison to other cheeses labeled as Parmesan, Reggianito holds its own with its hard, granular texture and distinct salty flavor. However, it’s important to note that while it might taste Parmesan-esque, it has its own identity and complexity.

Reggianito Tasting Notes

  • Texture: Hard and grainy with a natural, thick rind.
  • Aroma: Mildly sharp with a hint of earthiness.
  • Flavor: Robust and salty, with nutty undertones and a slight spiciness.
  • Finish: Lingering salty aftertaste with a hint of bitterness.

What is the Difference Between Reggianito and Parmigiano Reggiano?

ReggianitoParmigiano Reggiano
OriginArgentina, created by Italian immigrantsItaly, with Protected Designation of Origin status
Production ProcessMade with full-fat cow’s milkUses skimmed milk
Size and ShapeSmaller forms, hence the name ‘little Reggiano’Known for its large wheel size
ColorDeeper golden hueLighter in color
Ageing ProcessAged about six monthsAged at least two years, some up to three or four years
Taste and TextureSalty, grating cheese with a grainy texture7. A little saltier but not as strong in flavor compared to Parmigiano-ReggianoHard, granular texture. Less salty compared to Reggianito
PriceOften less expensive than Parmigiano ReggianoMore expensive due to longer aging process and production standards

10 Best Reggianito Substitutes

CheeseFlavor ProfileTextureBest Used In
Parmigiano-ReggianoNutty, slightly sweet, and savoryHard, grainyGrating over pasta dishes, risotto, salads
Pecorino RomanoSalty, sharpHard, crumblyGrating over pasta dishes, soups, salads
AsiagoNutty, sharp with ageSemi-hard to hardSandwiches, salads, pasta dishes
Grana PadanoMildly sweet, nuttyHard, grainyGrating over pasta dishes, risotto, salads
Mild CheddarMild, slightly tangyFirm, crumblyMelting on top of dishes, cheese platters
GoudaSlightly sweet, creamySemi-hard, denseGrilled cheese sandwiches, mac and cheese
Monterey JackMild, buttery with slightly tartnessSmooth, creamyMelting in dishes like nachos, quesadillas
ProvoloneMild to sharp depending on agingSemi-hard, smoothSandwiches, pizza, pasta dishes
ColbyMild, creamy similar to LonghornSemi-hard, elasticSandwiches, burgers, salads
American CheeseMild, creamy, less tangy than LonghornSoft, creamyBurgers, sandwiches, melting in various dishes

What Pairs Well With Reggianito?

What Pairs Well With Reggianito?

Food that goes well with Reggianito:

Breads and CrackersFrench bread, sourdough, whole grain crackers, baguettes
Fruits and VegetablesGrapes, pears, apples, figs, bell peppers, olives
Meats and ProteinsProsciutto, salami, roasted chicken, almonds, walnuts
Condiments and SpreadsHoney, fig jam, Dijon mustard, olive tapenade
DessertsDark chocolate, almond biscotti, fruit tarts
Pasta and GrainsRisotto, fettuccine Alfredo, macaroni and cheese
Soups and SaladsCaesar salad, minestrone, spinach salad

Also read: 11 Best Crackers that Pair Well with Cheese

Beverage that goes well with Reggianito:

WinesCabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Malbec, Zinfandel
BeersStout, Porter, Belgian Ale, Brown Ale
SpiritsWhiskey, Brandy, Bourbon
Non-AlcoholicSparkling water, Apple cider, Grape juice

Also read: Best Wine and Cheese Pairings: The Ultimate Guide

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