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Difference Between Manchego And Parmesan Cheese

Walking through the cheese section in the grocery store can be confusing especially if you don’t know which one to choose.

There are lots of cheeses to choose from, and each cheese has what makes it unique and better suited for a particular recipe than other cheeses.

Manchego and parmesan cheese are popular options when cheese with dense crumbly textures is required in recipes.

They can be sprinkled over different foods like pasta and soups to enhance their flavor.

Manchego is a Spanish cheese from the la Mancha region in Spain produced from ewe’s milk while true parmesan cheese is an Italian cheese produced from cow’s milk,

There are a lot of differences between these two varieties of cheese.

In this post we highlight what makes these two varieties of cheese different.

Manchego Vs. Parmesan cheese


Authentic Manchego is produced nowhere else apart from La Mancha region in Spain. 

True parmesan cheese is produced in the regions of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena and Bologna. 


Manchego is made from raw or pasteurized ewe’s milk; the milk is from a particular breed of sheep; the manchega sheep. 

Parmesan cheese is made from cow milk. The milk used is a mix of skimmed milk and whole milk.


The rind of the Manchego cheese is inedible as the cheese is often covered with wax.

The rind of Manchego cheese typically features a distinctive zig zag pattern that is imprinted on it. You may also find the pattern of an ear of wheat pattern pressed on the top and bottom surfaces 

The rind of parmesan cheese develops naturally and is edible. The rind could be used in recipes and also eaten as a snack 

Parmesan cheese is molded with a stencil which shows where the cheese was made as well as when it was made.


Manchego cheese can be aged for a few months up to years. There are four types of this cheese based on how long it is aged for.

Fresco is aged for 2 weeks, Semi curado is aged for up to four months, Curado is six months and Viejo is aged for one to two years 

The texture of Manchego cheese changes as it ages.

When mature it has a firm crumbly texture. However, the younger varieties may be semi firm.

Parmesan cheese is Aged for at least 2 years hence the Texture is Crumbly and Granular 


The flavor of Manchego cheese also changes as it ages. The younger varieties may have a mild flavor, but it becomes sharper in flavor with peppery notes as it ages.

Parmesan cheese has a sharp flavor that is more intense compared to Manchego 


Both of these cheeses have PDO status which means that they are produced under strict requirements by law.

In Europe, Parmesan cheese is the English name for Parmigiano-Reggiano.  

Parmesan has PDO status, and it is produced with strict requirements such as where this cheese is produced as well as the type of grass the cows feed on.

Therefore, only cheese produced within certain regions and under strict conditions can be called parmesan cheese in Europe.

Elsewhere it is less strictly defined, and cheese that may not meet the same requirements as true parmesan may be labelled as parmesan cheese.