The Red Cows of Reggiana Breed

From nature and its colors, from the milk of red cows, from the green grass of our meadows, from the luxuriant waters that descend towards the great river and from ancient knowledge and traditions born tasty flavors and good aromas.

The Red Reggiana is a native breed of Northern Italy, brought by the barbarian populations in the 6th century AD, from whose milk in the abbeys of the Benedictine monks 8 centuries ago the Parmigiano Reggiano originated. The red cows can thus easily bear the title of "Mothers" of Parmigiano Reggiano.

In the last century this less productive, but more rustic and long-lived breed was progressively replaced by more profitable cattle breeds. The breed risked extinction and it was then that a group of farmers, tenacious and far-sighted, gave birth to a project of enhancement that encouraged a constant recovery in the number of leaders. The farms are mainly located in the province of Reggio Emilia and the milk produced is given to the dairy producers of the Consorzio Vacche Rosse where it is transformed into Parmigiano Reggiano of the "Red Cows".

The first references concerning the Reggiana cattle breed, in the Parma and Reggio Emilia area, are reported by some monks in the year 1000. The breed was presented at the Vienna Expo in 1873. The genealogical records began in 1950 and the standards of the breed were published in 1953. The breeders association was officially recognized in the year 1962.

Demographics and distribution of the breed
The population has reached the maximum size of about 140,000 cows around the 50s. From the 50s onwards, a strong process of substitution began with the cosmopolitan Bruna Alpina and Frisona breeds which, in the 1970s, led to a gradual decrease in the population of up to 8,000 cows. In 1981 the historical minimum of the population was reached: 450 cows. Subsequently, towards the end of the 80s, following the beginning of the production of Reggiana's Parmigiano Reggiano, there was a demographic increase. Today Reggiana cattle are mainly raised in the provinces of Reggio Emilia and Parma, for a total of about 3000 animals.

Description of the breed ... and of the cheese
The Reggiana is characterized by an inborn red cloak attenuated in the inner and lower areas of the limbs, around the eyes, the muzzle and the tail. The average milk production in 305 days of lactation is 5.557 kg (3.45% protein, 3.54% fat). Reggiana milk is particularly suitable for the production of Parmigiano Reggiano thanks to the high percentage of casein and good cheesemaking properties. In particular, casein type is best suited for prolonged curing, making it particularly suitable for the production of long-aged Parmigiano Reggiano. For this reason, the Parmigiano-Reggiano Cows Red is not placed on the market before the 24th month, with all the many advantages that this entails: its flavor and aroma are enhanced, the digestibility is improved, the presence in calcium,

Its good milk combined with a strict production regulation that includes the obligation to feed the cows with green grass, the prohibition of food techniques that force production, the use of non-GMO cereals, and the experience and skill of the casaro through a traditional process, give this Parmigiano Reggiano a strong flavor and a more intense straw yellow color, and unique characteristics.

In its grainy and fragrant paste, you can rediscover the fragrance and naturalness of the herbs typical of the production area. The Red Cows Parmigiano Reggiano can be accompanied with fruit mustards, honey or traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, tasted in flakes alone or in quick salads, used as an ingredient to give flavor to your best dishes. Traditionally married to Lambrusco, it goes well with red wines of high body and structure, white wines and Malvasia.

Why breed the Reggiana breed?
We invite you to download an interesting study carried out in collaboration with EURECA (Toward (self) sustainability of EUropean REgional CAttle breeds), the project aimed at the protection, development and sustainable use of local cattle breeds, through the exchange of experiences between different realities Europeans, between breeders and research:

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