Cheese Articles - Formaggio Kitchen


Introducing Parmigiano-Reggiano Agrinascente

Years ago, Ihsan began developing relationships with producers in Europe and started the Formaggio Kitchen direct import program. The goal was to develop direct connections to artisans so that they can learn our tastes and we can better understand their products. In turn, we share their stories with our customers so they can experience the exceptional products available nowhere else in the United States. Today, this program is a vibrant part of our stores and each year we discover new and delicious cheese, olive oil, vinegar, pasta, grains and more.

Our newest exclusive import epitomizes the efforts Ihsan puts into sourcing the very finest products for our Formaggio Kitchen customers: Parmigiano-Reggiano from Caseificio Agrinascente.

Ihsan’s Selection of Parmigiano-Reggiano

Twelve years ago, Ihsan met Gian Domenico Negro, an enthusiastic cheese professional who was working to preserve the traditions of Piemontese goat milk cheeses, and other cheeses made using traditional methods. He and Ihsan met several times over the years, but never found just the right cheese for Ihsan to bring to the United States.

Finally, on a trip to Parma in 2015, Ihsan met again with Gian Domenico and tasted through cheeses from small and medium-sized producers throughout Italy. While doing so, they discussed the history of the farms and the need to preserve traditional cheesemaking techniques. From all of the cheeses tasted, one stood out: the 27 month Parmigiano-Reggiano from the cooperative dairy of Agrinascente. Gian Domenico took Ihsan to the dairy, and the rest is history.

Agrinascente Parmigiano-Reggiano

Cooperative Casearia Agrinascente, located 15 minutes Northwest of Parma in the town of Fidenza, was founded 35 years ago when nine like-minded farms decided to come together.  Their goal was to preserve the traditions of Parmigiano-Reggiano production while constantly tweaking their techniques to improve their cheese with each and every batch. Today, they work with six dairies all of whom allow their Friesian cows to graze on pasture during the warmer months and feed hay during the winter months. Because of their proximity to the city of Parma, Agrinascente took adopted the brand Parma2064 to indicate both the specific region where their cheese is made (Parma) as well as their registered production code (2064) in the consortium of Parmigiano-Reggiano producers.

Parmigiano-Reggiano production

A cheesemaker stirs curds in copper pots known as caldaia. Photograph courtesy of

The caseificio houses 32 glowing copper caldaia each of which produces two forms a day. Considering it takes roughly 600 liters of milk to make a single wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano, they go through more than 40,000 liters of milk in a single day! Wheels are aged for 12 months before being tested, wheel by wheel, to determine if they are worthy of being labeled as Parmigiano-Reggiano. After approval, they are aged for a minimum of 6 more months, most to be sold around 24 months but some aged up to 40 months. We’ve found that with this particular dairy, our sweet spot is right around 25 to 28 months.

A bank of Parmigiano-Reggiano wheels.

A wheel of Agrinascente Parmigiano-Reggiano – courtesy Parma 2064

The Taste of Parmigiano-Reggiano

After his first taste, Ihsan knew this was a Parmigiano-Reggiano of superior quality.  On the palate, fruity notes are accentuated by just the right amount of salt and nuttiness reminiscent of roasted pecans, which carries through to the finish. What is truly special about this Parmigiano-Reggiano is the balance of flavors. The flavors are in perfect harmony with one another and collectively linger on your palate long after your first taste.

Cut, Grated, Slivered or Chunked

Available now on our website (and in our shops) Parmigiano Reggiano Agrinascente is perfect cut for your cheese plate, grated on your pasta, chunked and drizzled with balsamic or slivered over your salad.

What is raw milk cheese and why is it important?

Raw milk has been a hot topic in the media recently with frequent articles bubbling up about the dangers of fresh raw milk and raw milk cheese. The issue is much more complex than is often portrayed in these articles and there are strong and reasoned voices on both sides of the raw milk debate. Continue Reading »

Housemade Pimento Cheese: Eat Well, Do Good

Eat Well, Do Good When Formaggio Kitchen South End owner Valerie Gurdal came up with the idea of dedicating sales of a single, popular product to Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union, our pimento cheese, a comfort food and a family recipe, seemed like the perfect fit. Valerie grew up in the South, Continue Reading »

Creative Cheese Pairings

Ideas for Your Next Cheese Plate from the Formaggio Kitchen Cheesemongers When it comes to pairing cheese with beverages and condiments, there are a number of classic couplings and rules related to selecting a great pairing. Rules like “if it grows together, it goes together,” or concepts such as matching like flavors (fruity with fruity) or contrasting Continue Reading »

Cheesemaking: Raw, Thermized, or Pasteurized Milk

What’s the deal with using raw, thermized, or pasteurized milk for cheesemaking? All cheesemaking starts with milk, most commonly from cows, goats, and sheep. Healthy, grass-fed animals of any breed are most likely to produce equally healthy milk that creates the most delicious, flavor-packed cheeses. Early in the cheesemaking process, the cheesemaker decides whether to work with Continue Reading »

Raw Milk Appreciation Day: Highlighting our Favorite Raw Milk Cheese!

Happy Raw Milk Appreciation Day! (#Oldways #CheeseofChoice) While we love any and all well-made cheeses, there is a special place in our hearts for cheesemakers who opt to use raw milk in their production. It can be a challenge as there are many good reasons to choose pasteurization, but in our experience, it is the Continue Reading »