The chilling truth about how parmesan cheese is made

If you go to an Italian restaurant that’s worth the money, and even a few that aren’t, you’ll see it, or at least offer it. I’m talking about parmesan cheese. It’s a staple in many Italian dishes and many of us enjoy sprinkling, shredding and sprinkling some of its spicy goodness onto a large number of dishes.

But did you know Parmesan cheese has a sordid backstory that amazed many Parmesan fans? A recent tweet posted by @dtheebae caused quite a stir around the internet and I have to admit I was “old today” too when I learned this amazing fact about parmesan cheese.

Okay, just for the record, I’m not giving up mine parmesan cheese but I was totally unaware of the manufacturing process. For those who know and love cheese, this isn’t shocking, but for those of us who just eat the stuff, who knew all this weirdness was going on?


Martin Hunter/Getty Images

To make the cheese, the cheesemakers have to obtain enzymes from the stomachs of young grazing animals such as goats, calves or lambs. The substance is called rennet and you can’t make the cheese without it. Unfortunately, the process of obtaining rennet from baby animals is not pleasant. So there would be what many see as “suffering” on the part of the beast.

Many online commentators noted that today’s modern parmesan cheese makers don’t always use animal rennet. These manufacturers have evolved artificially created bacteria to achieve similar results.

The operative word there is “similar” to make the real stuff you have to use the real stuff. In countries like Italy, where cheese is so much more than a food, it’s more of a way of life, the product must be made using traditional methods if it is to bear the name parmesan cheese This is the gold standard of parmesan cheese and if you are a chef or cook of any caliber this is the only stuff you would use.

Sean Nyatsine via

Sean Nyatsine via

So now you know a little bit more about where the cheese that guy wants to sprinkle on your pasta comes from. Just try not to think about their cute little cow faces as you enjoy your meal. I won’t because I’ll probably eat a steak with my pasta.

Never put these things in the microwave The chilling truth about how parmesan cheese is made

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