Blissfully ignorant vegetarians had their hearts broken this week when they learned Parmigiano-Reggiano is not really vegetarian. Well, not technically at least. It doesn't have meat in the traditional sense, but the beloved cheese, which is a staple garnish and ingredient for an array of foods, is made with calf rennet.
I just learned that Parmesan cheese isn't vegetarian and now I'm upset— not ashley hayes (@asthmatic_kid) June 2, 2017
I'm not saying that I just started crying after watching a video about how Parmesan cheese isn't vegetarian, but I can't say I'm not.— Miss Andry (@kboydee) June 1, 2017
What's calf rennet, you ask? It's found in the stomach lining of calves and it's what causes cheese to curd through the active enzyme chymosin. So, again, it's an enzyme taken from animal stomach lining, but not really meat. For some vegetarians this could be dismissible, but for others it's a deal-breaker.
Parmesan isn't the only cheese that could potentially be on the no-no list for vegetarians. The list of cheeses includes the following:
- Grano Padano
- Pecorino Romano
- Camembert and Bouchero