The word Parmigiano describes a group of Italian cheeses, of which Parmigiano Reggiano is the undisputed grand classic of the Italian kitchen. Its history dates back to the 13th century, its glories were chanted by Boccace a century later and it was already being sprinkled on pasta in the 16th century. The Duchess of Parme, who married the grand son of Louis XV, introduced this remarkable cheese to France. The period of its fabrication from the regions of Parme, Mantoue and Bologne is between April and November. The cheese is presented in the form of a large wheel (meule) that are required to weigh at least 33 kilograms ( 66 pounds) with a maximum weight of 44 kilograms ( 88 pounds). The cheese must be matured for at least 14 months (the nuevo one year; the vecchio two years; the stravecchio three years and the stravecchione, at least four years or more). Its thick dark rind hides a pâte (dough) that on a young cheese is yellowish-white and with age it turns straw-colored with a more brittle texture. The cheese has a huge flavor full of fruity savors with a slight piquant note on the last gustative sensation. Truly a fantastic cheese! Ideally served as an aperitif in form of small dice shapes with Champagne, or on a plateau of cheese accompanied by a robust red wine.