When you think of Italian food, pasta certainly comes to mind but so does cheese. The Italians are famous for their variety of delicious cheeses that have made their way into the American diet. Read on to learn about five of the best cheeses to come out of Italy.
1. Parmesan Cheese
This cheese is named after the area around Parma, where it originated. Parmesan cheese is a hard cheese with a grainy texture, a strong aroma and sharp, savory flavor. In fact, it is considered to be the cheese of all cheeses according to cheese connoisseurs. It tastes best sprinkled over pasta and used as an ingredient in soups and risottos. Italians love to munch on it as a snack, as well.
2. Gorgonzola Cheese
Hailed from the Gorgonzola region, this cheese is soft and crumbly. It can be made into a sharp or mild flavor, depending on its age, and has a nutty aroma. It’s an "old-world" blue-veined cheese made from unskimmed cow’s milk and takes up to four months to create. Serve it with red wine and your favorite pasta dish.
3. Mozzarella Cheese
Originating from the regions of Puglia, Molise, Abruzzo, and Campania, this famous Italian cheese is semi-soft with a stringy texture. It’s white in color and has a milky flavor and aroma. In the past, mozzarella cheese was made from buffalo milk but today it is made from cow’s milk. Unlike most cheeses, mozzarella cheese doesn’t need to age. It’s eaten fresh. It tastes great on salads, meats, and with fish and vegetable dishes.
4. Provolone Cheese
From the Po valley Region, provolone cheese is firm and grainy with a mild or sharp buttery taste and pale yellow color. As an artisan cheese, provolone is semi-hard with a pleasant aroma. It has high amounts of calcium and protein but is also high in salt. Provolone goes wonderfully with red wine and served with fresh, homemade bread still warm.
5. Ricotta Cheese
This fresh Italian cheese is made from either sheep, cow, goat, or buffalo milk whey that is left over after making other types of cheese. It’s smooth, tastes sweet, and is high in protein but low in fat. It goes well with many Italian dishes such as lasagna, cheesecake, pizza, clazone, ravioli, manicotti, and more. Ricotta can also be used as a sauce thickener.