Cheese-o-pedia: P

  1. Parmesan

    A classic Italian hard cheese made with cow's milk. Parmesan is pale yellow with a granular texture and a sweet buttery and nutty flavor that intensifies with age.

    Serve Parmesan as a table cheese shaved over salads and steamed vegetables Add freshly grated Parmesan to casseroles, pizza, pasta, mashed potatoes, risotto, soup or cream and tomato sauces.

    Pair Parmesan with red wines like Barolo or dessert wines like Vin Santo.

  2. Parmigiano Reggiano®

    Among the world's great and versatile cheeses dating back to the 13th century. Parmigiano Reggiano® is handmade exactly the way it was 700 years ago, by men called "casaros" who apprentice their craft for over a decade before they are allowed to make even one wheel on their own.

    Completely natural, very high in protein and easily digested, Parmigiano Reggiano® continues to grow in popularity around the world. One of the name controlled cheeses of Italy, Denominazione Di Origine Controllata or "D.O.C.", there are many imitators that call themselves Parmesan, but the real one is easily spotted by its name Parmigiano Reggiano® etched around the sides of every 75 lb. wheel.

    Parmigiano Reggiano® is a hard straw-colored cheese that is made with partly skimmed cow's milk. It has a compact grainy texture and an inedible natural dark oily rind. It is aged from 22-24 months up to three years.

    Grate Parmigiano Reggian®o onto pasta, soup and salad or serve as a dessert with dried fruits and nuts.

    Pair Parmigiano Reggiano® with Chianti, Barolo or Brunelo.

  3. Pasta Filata

    Cheeses whose curds are heated and then kneaded and stretched to become elastic. The Italian term for plastic-curd type cheeses.

  4. PDO

    Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) symbols were created by the European Union (EU) to protect the names and reputation of specific regional foods from misuse and imitation. The legislation for these seals was formed in 1992 and is enforced by the EU to ensure that foods such as Fontina and Asiago can only be labeled as such if they come from the designated region.

    This official labeling process has helped to eliminate unfair competition and protects consumers from misleading, non-genuine products which may be of inferior quality.

    To qualify for a PDO seal, a product must be produced, processed and prepared in a given geographical area using recognized know-how.

  5. Pencillium

    The molds in or on certain cheeses for the purpose of ripening. Penicillium Candidum is used to develop soft-ripened cheeses such as brie; Penicillium Glaucum is used for gorgonzola and Penicillium Roqueforti is used for Roquefort and Danish Blue cheese.

  6. Pepper Jack

    A creamy, semi-firm Jack cheese embedded with peppers for a tangy, sharp taste. A zesty offshoot of Monterey Jack flavored with spicy peppers.

    Use Pepper Jack in quesadillas, nachos and casseroles for a distinctive taste. Pepper Jack can also be added to omelets, cubed in salads and melted over burgers.

    Pair Pepper Jack with beer or iced tea.

  7. PGI

    Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) symbols were created by the European Union (EU) to protect the names and reputation of specific regional foods from misuse and imitation. The legislation for these seals was formed in 1992 and is enforced by the EU to ensure that foods such as Fontina and Asiago can only be labeled as such if they come from the designated region.

    This official labeling process has helped to eliminate unfair competition and protects consumers from misleading, non-genuine products which may be of inferior quality.

    To qualify for a PGI seal, a product must be closely linked to a given geographical area meaning that at least one of the stages of production, processing or preparation takes place in the area.

  8. Plastic Curd

    Cheeses whose curds are heated and then kneaded and stretched to become elastic. The Italian term for these cheese varieties is "pasta filata." Mozzarella, Provolone and string cheese are plastic-curd type cheeses.

  9. Provolone

    Richly flavored, all-purpose cheese with a mild flavor that sharpens with age. Ivory to pale beige in color.

    Serve Provolone with Antipasto platters or dessert platters featuring fresh and dried fruits, or broil a slice over a crock of soup.

    Pair Provolone with fruity white wines, coffee and fruit juices.