Romano Vs. Parmesan Vs. Asiago – Know Their Differences

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If there’s one thing we can all agree on, cheese is a must-have for most foodies. It will always give your meal another different yet unique flavor. Now whether you are looking for some saltier, milky, soft, and nicely melting addition to your meal, you can rest assured you will find it.

Generally, it’s important to note that sometimes you will have the difference being very clear than other times.

And today, we want to find and show you the difference between Romano, parmesan, and asiago cheese. You will commonly find them in pizza, but do you know the differences?

Asiago cheese

Here you have the Italian cow’s milk cheese that you will also find from Italy’s northern side. It was first made in Trentino, Italy. To date, it’s the cheese that’s more common there.

Notice that fresh asiago usually is pale white, but it also has some small holes all through the cheese.  

Asiago cheese

Sometimes you will have it coming in pale yellow color. Notice that this cheese comes in a medium texture that’s sometimes spongy.

You can also have it being aged, and this one will come in pale yellow to amber color, but then it also has some nutty and robust flavors. Unlike the one before, it has a firm texture; you may also have it taking on the yeasty aroma.

But how is it made?

The difference is that they make it using two different types of milk. They use whole milk to make fresh asiago. Again they use whole milk and skim milk to make the aged asiago. Notice, therefore, that you heat them to about 95°F before you add the rennet and enzymes.

The essence of adding the rennet and enzymes is to make sure they form the curd too. After they knead it, then they will continue to cook it to about 115°F.

Now when you are using the fresh cheese, then you have to add some salt for tasting. Again they soak it in brine for two days. After this, they will start to make it age for about two months, and at the time, we can say it’s getting ready.

So for this one to age, they will set them in the mold turn it several times to release the whey. At the time then you will have the cheese soaking in brine and then rubbed with salt. You can then age it for a few months, but if you want it to age properly, you give it up to two years.

Types of asiago

As earlier mentioned, we will divide the asiago into two categories, and this is all based on what type of milk you are using.

Fresh asiago

It’s normal for you to hear some people refer to it as asiago pressato. Here they make it using whole milk, but then the aging takes a shorter time of just a month.

This asiago cheese often has a milder flavor, softer texture that is also smooth.

Aged Asiago

Here you also have the asiago d’allevo, and this one you will always age for between a few months and a year. Depending on how long you age it, therefore, you will have it receive its name.

Mezzano: this one they will allow to age in three to eight months. It features a compact with a lightly sweet and vegetal taste.

Vecchio: this one they will age for nine to eighteen months. It comes in a more rigid texture, but it’s also slightly bitter.

Stravecchio: here, then you will age this one for 18 months to two full years. Since it has stayed for a little longer, then you expect it to be harder, crumbly, amber-colored, but also spicy.

What is Romano cheese?

This one is different from the other types of cheese. Also known as Pecorino Romano, this cheese they produce in regions of Rome in sardine. Contrary to most other types of cheese, this one they make using the sheep’s milk.

Pecorino Romano cheese

It comes in a snow-white color, and this is one of the oldest forms of cheese in the world. It usually has a granular texture and a highly different taste. It has tangy, salty, and sharp flavors. This one then you can grate over other meals. You can also sometimes decide to use it plain.

They don’t often use cow’s milk, but if they do, then you can expect it to be creamy yellow. This is also one of the cheese types that they give the protected origin-destination. This is, therefore, to say that only certain cheese types are called pecorino Romano.

They further sometimes make the caprine Romano from the goat’s milk. They further also have the milder ones that they make using the cow’s milk. For example, if you are buying cheese from America, you can expect it to be made cow milk.

It has a salty, sharp, piquant flavor, not like the parmesan and the asiago that maintain the nutty but also less intense flavors.

Since it uses the sheep’s milk, it has a different flavor that’s also earthier but with peppery notes. You see, the way it’s firmly flavored makes it ideal for cooking your salty dishes.

If you want to, however, use the aged version, they will come in grated form. This is the same way you have the parmesan.

How they make it

Notice that they make it using the raw milk, which they first off thermalized. Next, they use the natural culture on it, which they also call the scotta fermento. This one will happen when they acidify the scotta using the whey from ricotta cheese.

They will then coagulate the milk at 37-39°F, and they will then use the lamb rennet paste. After they finish cutting, they will cook the curd for 45-46°C. Next, then they will set the curds in the mold and press them manually. They then pierce them with their fingers or the stick to make sure you then increase the whey drainage.

These cheese they will then set aside to ripen for the next eight to twelve months. Again they further set it at about 10-14°C, which will mean you develop a unique characteristic flavor. Now the lipolysis enzyme will also determine the sensory characteristic of this cheese.

This is then what will become the Romano cheese over time. It develops the piquant flavor, which most people refer to as spicy or hot cheese. Notice that this is not only about the flavors; instead, it has a unique aroma. This comes from the fact that the cheese takes a little longer even to age.

How it came to be

If you are talking about the different kinds of cheese, one of the choices you will hear people talk a lot about is the Romano cheese. We heard about it from Collumellas’s book, and he lived in the first century.

He gave us a lot of detail that regard this cheese. This cheese has been in existence for the last 2000 years. They produced this cheese in the Latium region of Rome. But in 1884, the city council stopped the process of salting the cheese, and then the producers moved to Sardinia.

Romano cheese

Soon, the northern part of Italy’s population was very high, which meant that the cheesemakers weren’t able to meet all the demand. At the time then, not all the pastures could work to make the flocks deliver the milk they needed to.

So the pastoralist searched for pasture, and soon they would find them in southern Italy Tuscany. Of course, this then meant that a good population again moved.

Notice that the pecorino cheese, though made from sheep’s milk, doesn’t use any sheep’s milk. They use the one from animals that have grazed on a particular pasture combination. Notice that these animals also impart a particular flavor to the cheese milk.

How come it’s salty?

As we have said already, this cheese was made in the olden days, and this then means that the cheese they made was when there were no freezers or refrigerators yet. So mostly, they would make the cheese to be consumed immediately or preserved.

They, therefore, used the salting preservation for them. The salt would then preserve the cheese under the warm Mediterranean climate. So when you heavily salt the cheese, then you are sure it will keep your bacterial and molds from forming.

Of course, since it’s heavily salted, it makes the best cheese to use when cooking and not eating it plain. Like the olden days, therefore, you will have the cheese being grated over your meals.

What is parmesan cheese?

Here you have another one of the Italian styles of cheese that is extra hard. The real parmesan you will only find in Italy from Parma. In most cases, this cheese will go with the different kinds of pasta we may have.

parmesan-cheese4

This is another one of the most important parts of Italian cuisine. They sometimes consume it grated, but other times then they consume it sliver. Some people believe that this is the ruler of the different cheese types in the world.

This is another one they make from skimmed or partially skimmed milk. Whenever you buy the real cheese, you can be sure to spend a lot more than other types of cheese, and we should attribute this to the work that goes to making it or rather the flavors involved.

This cheese is also what they refer to as the ‘grana’; this is a term they use to refer to the cheese’s grain texture. It’s important to mention that most of the cheese types you use are also delicious in their way or light.

Parmesan is unique in its features but also delicious and used over most foods too. Parmesan is, therefore, a translation of the Italian name Parmigiano Reggiano. Around the 17th and 18th centuries, people referred to the same cheese as parmesan. This is also the name embraced globally today.

Notice too that you will find the parmesan cheese in Australia and Argentina, but it doesn’t compare to the real one they make in Italy. So if you are buying this cheese from Europe, then you know it will have the guard of the European law too. Therefore, it refers to the authentic Parmigiano Reggiano.

The history

The legends suggest that the Parmigiano was first founded in the middle ages and was also in the Reggio Emilia province. But at the time then the production of the cheese went on to the parts of Modena and Parma.

By the 13th century, the parmesan they had then was already almost the same as the one we have here today. So between the 17th-19th century, they used the name parmesan for the same but later changed it to the parmigiana Reggiano.

Its aroma and chemical compound

This one has the aroma of active chemical compounds. It contains the aldehydes but with the butyrate too, all of which give out a distinct aroma. Notice that it often contains a lot more glutamate.

The defining taste and flavor.

This one is sweeter than other types of cheese. As you continue to let it age, it will get salty, and when it’s entirely aged, you can expect some level of bitterness. What I can say about the flavors is that it’s intense but also complicated to match different subtle and unique meals.

The difference between Romano, parmesan, and asiago

Romano, contrary to what you would expect, is sharper and saltier than even the parmesan cheese. This is the reason why people use it in salad sauces and pasta.

Parmesan cheese is, on the other hand, drier but also subtle. It has a nutty flavor, but it’s also flaky, and you can have it being quite hard. You can use it best in pizza. You can also use them on pasta.

Asiago cheese is nutty but also creamy flavored cheese. Note that it will maintain the sweet flavors too. This one you can even eat alone but you should also grate them in your past or cheese.

Which one is better?

It depends on what you are looking for from the cheese and the purpose too. Sometimes the asiago is the best and other times you will find the Romano or parmesan is better. It’s mostly about the preference because all the cheese types you see here are great.

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