Destined for grating

This article was originally published in May 2015

Whatever their origins, grating cheeses are firm, crumbly cheeses that are typically the final step to finishing a dish. They are fairly interchangeable, but knowing their differences is useful when deciding your next purchase. Whichever you choose, be confident that you’ll never find rBGH in cheese at PCC.



Parmigiano-Reggiano has strict regulations: it’s made in either Parma or Reggio Emilia in Italy, from cow’s milk that’s been heated in copper kettles by certified cheese makers, and aged for at least 12 months. It’s rightfully famous for its nutty, almost spicy flavor. Unregulated Parmesan is far simpler. While it’s almost always made from cow’s milk, its
flavor and production processes are more varied between brands, and it’s easy to find U.S.-made or pre-shredded bags.


Milder and creamier than Parmigiano-Reggiano, Asiago is a terrific cheese in salads, or shaved over crisp springtime vegetables or sweet root vegetables like yams or parsnips.

Pecorino Romano

Similar in many ways to Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino is made from sheep’s milk rather than cow’s, and so has a somewhat sharper, stronger flavor (some say saltier, too).
It stands up to big, complex flavors — try topping your next lasagna with it, or stirring it into soup.


While this cheese is available in three styles, PCC carries Curado, which is aged for six months. Made from sheep’s milk, it has a flavor that is both bright and nutty,
which pairs nicely with many kinds of fruit and is terrific alongside sweeter hard ciders. It’s also a classic pairing with quince paste for cheese plates.


A classic topper for tacos and other Mexican dishes, this dense, crumbly cow’s milk cheese is coming into its own and being seen more often on salads,
grilled vegetables or served alongside fresh, tropical fruit. Its round, nutty flavor earns it frequent comparison to Parmesan.


5 recipes to try

A world of grating cheese: Use these recipes are a way to explore their differences and find your favorite!

Quick tip: It’s a wrap

When you’ve invested in quality cheese it’s worth the effort to wrap it correctly once the package is open. The PCC Deli stocks Formaticum Cheese Paper, which has two layers: one wicks moisture away from the cheese surface, the other traps humidity in the package itself.

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