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
|Milk Source||Cow’s milk|
|Texture||Grainy and hard|
|Flavor||Salty, nutty, and slightly spicy|
|Aging Time||At least 3 months, often up to 6-10 months|
|Size||Small wheels, typically around 15 cm in diameter|
|Weight||Usually around 5-7 kg per wheel|
|Rind||Natural, hard, and thick|
|Alternative Name||Argentine Parmesan|
|Use||Grating over dishes, cooking, eating as is|
|Pairings||Red wines, fruits, nuts|
|Production Method||Artisanal and industrial|
|Similar Cheeses||Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano|
|Shelf Life||Several months when properly stored|
|Fat Content||High – about 30-40%|
|Storage||Wrapped in waxed or parchment paper, then in a plastic bag, in the refrigerator|
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?
|Origin||Argentina, created by Italian immigrants||Italy, with Protected Designation of Origin status|
|Production Process||Made with full-fat cow’s milk||Uses skimmed milk|
|Size and Shape||Smaller forms, hence the name ‘little Reggiano’||Known for its large wheel size|
|Color||Deeper golden hue||Lighter in color|
|Ageing Process||Aged about six months||Aged at least two years, some up to three or four years|
|Taste and Texture||Salty, grating cheese with a grainy texture7. A little saltier but not as strong in flavor compared to Parmigiano-Reggiano||Hard, granular texture. Less salty compared to Reggianito|
|Price||Often less expensive than Parmigiano Reggiano||More expensive due to longer aging process and production standards|
10 Best Reggianito Substitutes
|Cheese||Flavor Profile||Texture||Best Used In|
|Parmigiano-Reggiano||Nutty, slightly sweet, and savory||Hard, grainy||Grating over pasta dishes, risotto, salads|
|Pecorino Romano||Salty, sharp||Hard, crumbly||Grating over pasta dishes, soups, salads|
|Asiago||Nutty, sharp with age||Semi-hard to hard||Sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes|
|Grana Padano||Mildly sweet, nutty||Hard, grainy||Grating over pasta dishes, risotto, salads|
|Mild Cheddar||Mild, slightly tangy||Firm, crumbly||Melting on top of dishes, cheese platters|
|Gouda||Slightly sweet, creamy||Semi-hard, dense||Grilled cheese sandwiches, mac and cheese|
|Monterey Jack||Mild, buttery with slightly tartness||Smooth, creamy||Melting in dishes like nachos, quesadillas|
|Provolone||Mild to sharp depending on aging||Semi-hard, smooth||Sandwiches, pizza, pasta dishes|
|Colby||Mild, creamy similar to Longhorn||Semi-hard, elastic||Sandwiches, burgers, salads|
|American Cheese||Mild, creamy, less tangy than Longhorn||Soft, creamy||Burgers, sandwiches, melting in various dishes|
What Pairs Well With Reggianito?
Food that goes well with Reggianito:
|Breads and Crackers||French bread, sourdough, whole grain crackers, baguettes|
|Fruits and Vegetables||Grapes, pears, apples, figs, bell peppers, olives|
|Meats and Proteins||Prosciutto, salami, roasted chicken, almonds, walnuts|
|Condiments and Spreads||Honey, fig jam, Dijon mustard, olive tapenade|
|Desserts||Dark chocolate, almond biscotti, fruit tarts|
|Pasta and Grains||Risotto, fettuccine Alfredo, macaroni and cheese|
|Soups and Salads||Caesar salad, minestrone, spinach salad|
Also read: 11 Best Crackers that Pair Well with Cheese
Beverage that goes well with Reggianito:
|Wines||Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Malbec, Zinfandel|
|Beers||Stout, Porter, Belgian Ale, Brown Ale|
|Spirits||Whiskey, Brandy, Bourbon|
|Non-Alcoholic||Sparkling water, Apple cider, Grape juice|
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