Italian cheeses are among the most popular Italian foods in the world. Yet, there are lots of variants of them; every variant features each own distinctions. Even so, some indeed may appear or taste quite identical. Pecorino and Parmesan are perhaps two Italian cheeses that are the most often to spark the question: is there any difference between the two?
Pecorino and Parmesan are both hard cheeses. They are both also salty and usually served grated. However, they are not fully interchangeable with each other.
Pecorino is a group of hard Italian cheeses made from the milk of ewes or sheep. There are six main varieties, but Pecorino Romano is the best known outside Italy. The other five are Pecorino Sardo, Pecorino Toscano, Pecorino Siciliano, Pecorino di Filiano, and Pecorino Crotonese. Pecorino is typically white in color and features a waxy mottled black rind. The more matured the cheese, the harder the texture and the stronger the buttery and nutty flavors.
At the contrast, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, or better known as Parmesan cheese outside the EU, is made of unpasteurized cow’milk. It is hard in texture and golden in color. The rind is waxy and stamped with its name in dot lettering. The taste is also nutty but milder compared to that of Pecorino.
Pecorino vs Parmesan
|- Made from the milk of sheep or ewes, fermented for at least 5 months and up to 8 months||- Made from unpasteurized cow’s milk, fermented for one, two, or three years|
|- Hard, white, with a waxy mottled black rind||- Hard, golden, with a waxy rind|
|- The taste is buttery and nutty, saltier and tangier than Parmesan cheese||- Nutty taste that is milder than Pecorino cheese|
So, Pecorino and Parmesan are actually different to the core, as they use different primary ingredients. Pecorino is made from sheep’s milk or ewes’ milk, and tends to taste saltier and tangier, while Parmesan is made from cow’s milk, and has a milder taste.