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Today we explore some of our fabulous Italian cheeses. Whether you have visited the land of pizza and spaghetti or not, these cheeses are sure to give you a taste of Italy!
Italian Cheeses: Romano Pecorino
Romano Pecorino is a cheese imported from Southern Italy. It is salty and firm, which makes it an excellent grating cheese. It has a distinctive, tangy flavor, and it’s an important ingredient in many southern Italian dishes. It is sharper than the similar Parmesan cheese with a rich saltiness to it. It is excellent with fruit such as apples and pears. We also like to serve it at the table for diners to grate over their dishes.
Italian Cheeses: Parmesan
Parmesan Cheese is a hard, dry cheese, which has a complex, sharp, nutty flavor and a somewhat grainy texture. It is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. Parmigiano Reggiano cheese gets its name from the Italian regions of production: Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna, and Mantova. This is another fantastic grating cheese.
Italian Cheeses: Provolone
Provolone Cheese, like mozzarella, is a pulled or stretched curd cheese with two varieties. It is a semi-soft, mild, smooth table cheese and its flavor depends heavily on how long it is aged for. Dolce (mild Provolone) is aged for just two to three months and is rather sweet, whereas Piccante is aged for six to twelve months and has a much stronger flavor. The term Provolone (meaning large provola) appeared around the end of the 19th century when it started to be manufactured in the southern regions of Italy. Modern Provolone has smooth skin and is produced mainly in the regions of Lombardia and Veneto. This is definitely a cheese to use in any dish that calls for melting cheese!
Italian Cheeses: Asiago
At Shisler’s we carry the aged version of Asiago (ah-SYAH-goh) Cheese, an Italian cheese more specifically known as Asiago d´Allevo. It is aged anywhere from three months to up to a year. The texture also varies from semi-firm to firm depending on how old it is. It has a sweet and nutty flavor, reminiscent of Parmesan. It is popular as a table cheese and is good when enjoyed with crackers, fruits, and red wine.
Italian Cheeses: Mozzarella
Mozzarella is a semi-soft cheese. Due to its high moisture content, it is traditionally served the day after it is made, but can be kept in brine for up to a week or longer when sold in vacuum-sealed packages. Derived from the Neapolitan dialect spoken in Campania, mozzarella is the diminutive form of mozza (“cut”) or mozzare (“to cut off”) derived from the method of working. The term is first mentioned in 1570, cited in a cookbook by Bartolomeo Scappi, reading “milk cream, fresh butter, ricotta cheese, fresh Mozzarella, and milk”. This is the cheese usually used on pizzas but it is also fantastic in a fresh salad.
Which is your favorite Italian cheese? Let us know in the comments below!