Asiago and Parmesan are Italian cheeses made from cow’s milk, and, depending on their ages, may have similar flavors. However, the similarities only go that far. In this article, we will talk about the differences between Asiago vs Parmesan, along with the suitable uses of each type of cheese. So, continue reading below!
What we will discuss below include:
– The origin of each type of cheese
– The varieties of Asiago and Parmesan
– The flavor and texture of each cheese
– The durability of Asiago vs Parmesan
– The suitable uses of these Italian cheeses
– Whether you should use Asiago or Parmesan for your dish
Although Asiagovs Parmesan both came from Italy, they actually originated in different regions. Asiago came from the town of Asiago in the region of Veneto, hence the name. Meanwhile, most people believe that the first Parmesan cheese was made in Bibbiano in the Reggio Emilia province. See also: Grana Padano vs Parmesan.
Asiago was made for the first time in Asiago, Veneto. According to Wikipedia, between the tenth and fifteenth centuries, this town was known for its good grass and sheep raising. Around 1500, cattle started to replace sheep as an effect of breeding modernization. However, only in the nineteenth century that bovine milk completely replaced sheep milk.
The traditional cheese-making technique has been improved with modern technology and is still preserved in the area now. Asiago remains produced mainly in the town, but the production has spread to the neighboring zones and the farms in Trentino.
Parmesan, which is formally known as Parmigiano-Reggiano (this name may only be used on cheese products from the permitted regions in Italy), has been around since the thirteenth century in Bibbiano in the Reggio Emilia province. However, historical documents show that the cheese in the period is already very similar to the modern cheese, so the origins may be traced to a far earlier time.
Nowadays, Parmigiano-Reggiano is produced in several provinces in the west of the Reno River (Reggio Emilia, Parma, Bologna, Modena) and in the south of the Po River (Mantua). However, the name “Parmesan” is often used legally for similar cheese products that are produced in other places.
In the world of cooking, having some variety is often a great thing. Different variations may introduce distinctive flavors into your dishes. However, variations may lead to inconsistent cooking results if you are not aware of what you are using.
Asiago has more variety. In general, there are two types of Asiago, which are Asiago Pressato and Asiagod ’Allevo. The difference?Asiago Pressato is made from fresh whole milk, and the resulting cheese has a thin, elastic rind with a soft, buttery paste inside. Meanwhile, Asiagod ’Allevo can be divided further into several types based on the aging duration.
Asiagod ’Allevo is made from a combination of whole milk and skimmed milk. There are three types of Asiagod ’Allevo, which are Asiago Mezzano (3 – 8 months aging, the cheese has a compact paste and a sweetish taste), AsiagoVecchio (9 – 18 months aging, the cheese has a hard paste and a bitter taste), and Asiago Stravecchio (>18 months aging, the cheese is very hard with a grainy paste and a bitter, spicy taste).
Parmesan doesn’t have as many varieties. It is available in some aging levels. However, it remains relatively hard across the aging stages. The only thing that changes throughout the aging stages is the flavor. The cheese’s flavor becomes stronger and more intense as it ages.
Flavor and Texture
We have mentioned quite a bit about the flavor and texture of Asiago vs Parmesan above. In a glance, Asiago and Parmesan may look similar. But they are actually very different.
Asiago’s flavor and texture greatly depend on the production process. Fresh Asiago typically has a white color and a mild flavor. The texture is very smooth. It is almost juicy. However, as it ages, it starts to harden and turns into a yellowish color. It may also begin to develop a pungent smell throughout the process.
Parmesan is typically hard. Even the not-so-old cheese products are already quite hard. It has a flaky texture. Hence, it is quite easy to grate and very easy to slice. The flavor is typically rich and nutty. The oldest type of Parmesan, Stravecchio, has an incredibly strong flavor and is used sparingly.
When it comes to durability, Asiago is not very good. This is especially important to consider if you have a fresh or young Asiago product, which is rather moist. The high moisture content creates an ideal place for bacteria and molds to grow. You may wrap it and store it in a refrigerator for about 6 months. A harmless mold layer may grow on the surface of the cheese during storage; you can just scrape off the layer.
Parmesan is quite durable, thanks to the relatively low moisture content. The cheese is usually dry enough to allow easy storage. In most cases, a Parmesan cheese product can remain good and safe for about one year since the purchase date. You only need to wrap it and store it in a refrigerator to prevent bacteria or molds.
Both Asiago and Parmesan are popular choices for various foods and dishes. Both are often grated or sliced for sandwiches. However, the distinctive flavors and textures still put them in some different fields in the end.
Asiago is frequently grated in pastas, salads, soups, and sauces. The relatively milder flavor makes a great match for enriching the food’s flavor without overpowering the other ingredients. It is sometimes melted in some dishes and cantaloupe. It is sometimes sliced for sandwiches or panini.
Parmesan is not so different. It may be grated over pastas and salads, stirred into risottos and soups, or sliced for sandwiches. However, Parmesan may be eaten on its own. Parmesan may be roasted to be eaten as a snack.
Asiago vs Parmesan
|- Came from the town of Asiago in Veneto||- Came from Bibbiano, Reggio Emilia|
|- Has more variety||- Fewer variety|
|- Relatively milder flavor and smoother texture||- Stronger flavor, especially the old ones, hard texture|
|- Lasts for about 6 months since purchase||- Lasts for about 1 year since purchase|
|- Great for soups, pastas, salads, sauces, and sandwiches||- Great for dishes, may be eaten on its own|
Asiago has more variety. More often than note, the flavor is milder and the texture is smoother. Asiago is suitable for various soups, pastas, salads, sauces, and sandwiches. Parmesan is typically hard with a more prominent flavor. Parmesan may also be used in dishes, but it may also be eaten on its own or roasted for a snack.