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Parmigiano Reggiano: Wax Rind vs Natural Rind

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Having run a search on Google for an answer, I was lead to a post which made on this site. The poster claimed that true imported Parmigiano Reggiano is not waxed. Meaning that the rind naturally occurs as part of the aging (or drying) process. Then someone came along and stated that some of them ARE waxed, which is what has me a bit confused.

How would one know if the rind on a piece of Parmigiano Reggiano is waxed or not? Are there any tell-tale signs? Are you left no choice but to run a taste test or are there external indicator? Or perhaps it's just simply untrue that Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is ever waxed?

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  1. I have not seen waxed imported Parmesan , but have seen and purchased domestic Parmesan cheese that has been waxed, brand is Stella.

    It is very easy to differentiate between waxed and not waxed.......1) presence of wax, 2) price

    7 Replies
    1. re: Alan408

      I guess I mistook the hardened shell/rind on what I believe is imported PR (bought from Whole Foods) as being wax.

      So as long as it's imported, the rind will never consist of wax? Or has that just been your overall experience?

      1. re: SpencerTracy

        Parmigiano-Reggiano rind is not waxed.

        1. re: SpencerTracy

          The designation Parmagiano Reggiano can only be used for cheese that meets the DOC ("Controlled designation of origin") criteria. Thus, if it is labeled "Parmagiano Reggiano" it is by definition imported and it by rule will not be waxed. The rind is hardened, but not waxed (it is edible, in fact, and many people use it to flavor soups).

          If it's just "parmesan" it could be anything from anywhere.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Makes perfect sense. Thanks for clarifying that, Ruth.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              For the record, Parmigiano Reggiano, like other such food products in Italy, is certified under Denominazione d'Origine Protetta (Protected Denomination of Origin) control, not DOC, which is currently used for wine.

              1. re: bob96

                Thanks for clarifying, Bob.

                1. re: bob96

                  Thanks, I can never remember which of the several variations of controlled origin applies.

          2. BTW if you are new to Parm Reg, *never* throw the rind away. Use it in soups, stews, stock. Then fish it out before serving, but you can re-use it later.