Confused between Romano Cheese vs Parmesan? In this article, we will discuss the differences between these two types of cheese. Romano Cheese is actually an American term for cheeses that are similar to Pecorino Romano, whereas Parmesan is a generic name for cheeses that are similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano but produced outside Italy. They have similarities as well as differences.
Continue reading below to learn more about:
– The origin of each cheese
– The type of milk for making each cheese
– The color and texture of each cheese
– The flavor of Romano Cheese vs Parmesan
– The suitable uses of Romano Cheese and Parmesan
– Which type of cheese that you better use
Romano Cheese is a term used by Americans and Canadians to refer to a group of cheeses that are similar to Pecorino Romano. The original cheese is named “Romano” because of its origin, the countryside area around Rome. Nowadays, Pecorino Romano is still produced according to the original recipe and is one of Italy’s oldest cheeses. See also: Asiago vs Parmesan.
Pecorino Romano actually has a PDO certification which restricts the production only to specific areas in Italy, which include Sardinia, Lazio, and the Grosseto province of Tuscany. However, in the United States, similar cheeses are allowed to be named Pecorino Romano. So, many people refer to such cheeses as Pecorino Romano or simply Romano Cheese.
Parmesan is a generic name for cheeses that are similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano. It is named “Parmesan” because of the original cheese is produced in Parma, Modena, Bologna, Reggio Emilia, and Mantua. Parmigiano-Reggiano is protected by a PDO certification so that the cheese may be produced only in those areas. The European Economic Area actually prohibits cheeses produced outside those areas to be named Parmesan. But, in other countries, similar cheeses are simply called Parmesan.
There are several notable differences between Romano Cheese vs Parmesan, and one of them is the type of milk used for making the cheese. These cheeses are made from different types of milk.
Romano Cheese, according to the US Food and Drug Administration as noted by Wikipedia,may be made from sheep’s milk, goat’s milk, or cow’s milk. Furthermore, the milk should contain at least 38% milkfat and less than 34% water. Hence, producers often add or remove dry milk, skim milk, cream, and water in order to correct the milkfat level.
The milk may be bleached, but vitamin A must be added after the treatment. Artificial blue or green coloring may be used to counter the yellowing of the milk. Rennet is not mandatory. Any milk-clotting enzyme may be used for making the curd. Finally, the resulting curd is processed and aged. Romano Cheese must be aged for at least five months.
Parmesan should be made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. The cows are milked twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. The whole milk from the morning is then mixed with the skimmed milk from the previous evening to create a part skim mixture. Then, the starter whey is added, followed by the calf rennet.
The resulting curd is then mechanically processed into wheels, and finally the aging process takes place. Parmesan is usually aged for one or two years. The longer the aging, the stronger the flavor will be.
Color and Texture
Romano Cheese has a white creamy color. However, the color is not even across the surface. Some parts may be darker than the others. It is not very yellow because either the milk was bleached during the processing or the use of coloring.
The texture of Romano Cheese is hard and solid. Because of the hardness, it is quite easy to process. It is suitable for grating. You don’t need to freeze it prior to grating. You can also slice it easily into thin sheets. However, it is not ideal for melting, as the cheese won’t completely melt into a liquid form.
Parmesan has a yellow color. The outside may have a darker yellow color, whereas the inside is a lighter whitish yellow. Parmigiano-Reggiano typically has the plant’s number as well as the month and year of production imprinted multiple times on the rind. Parmesan produced outside Italy may or may not such information imprinted on the rind.
The texture of Parmesan is hard. Even if the cheese hasn’t been aged for a long time, it already has a hard texture. It is also quite flaky. As the effect, this cheese is quite easy to process. You can grate it fairly easily. You can also slice it into thin sheets without any significant difficulty.
The flavor profiles of Romano Cheese vs Parmesan are quite similar. This is why they can be combined and are often interchangeable for some dishes. Still, there are notable differences. Romano Cheese is typically stronger and more intense than Parmesan.
Romano Cheese is a salty cheese. The flavor is a bit sharper and saltier than Parmesan. As the effect, when using Romano Cheese in place of Parmesan, you may want to decrease the amount slightly in order to keep it from overpowering the dish. You may eat it alone, but some people may find it a bit too salty for their liking.
Parmesan has a rich, nutty flavor. However, compared to Romano Cheese, Parmesan is actually a bit subtler and milder. Even so, keep in mind that the flavor gets stronger and more intense the older it gets. An old Parmesan that has been aged for two years can have a very strong flavor, so you need to use the old cheese sparingly.
Both Romano Cheese and Parmesan are suitable for a variety of foods, including pastas, risottos, and soups. You can grate these cheeses over your pasta to enrich the flavor. They can also be shaved over salads, or sliced for sandwiches.
Because of their hard texture and richness, the hardest parts of their chunks are sometimes simmered in soups. They can be roasted and then cut into small slices for snacks.
Romano Cheese vs Parmesan
|- Made from sheep’s milk, goat’s milk, or cow’s milk||- Made from cow’s milk|
|- Doesn’t need to use rennet, may use coloring||- Uses rennet, doesn’t use coloring|
|- Aged for at least 5 months||- Aged for 1 – 2 years|
|- Creamy white color, hard texture||- Yellow color, hard texture|
|- Sharper, saltier flavor||- Relatively subtler flavor|
Romano Cheese is made from sheep’s milk, goat’s milk, or cow’s milk. The aging may be shorter, but the flavor is actually sharper and saltier. Parmesan is made from cow’s milk and goes through a relatively longer aging process. The flavor is relatively milder, even though it is actually quite rich and strong as well. Both cheeses are great for various pastas, risottos, soups, salads, and sandwiches.