Say cheese! You cannot think of Italian cuisine without the generous use of cheese. From freshly grated ricotta-filled lasagna to creamy Parmigiano over pasta, Italian cheese is one ingredient that makes all the significant dishes so delectably crave-worthy. Cheese in Italy is even used as part of desserts and also as a delicious alternative to desserts. Boasting of more than 450 varieties of cheese, Italy is a vast cheese-producing region of the world. Every region has its variety and manufacturing procedures. While it might require one full book to cover all the varieties adequately, here we are starting simple with the common ones used in the majority of the Italian dishes.
The Popular Varieties of Italian Cheese
This creamy variety is from Southern Italy. You need to handle it with great care as it has an almost liquid center ready to explode at any moment. This typically soft cheese is either tied up or knotted using threads. Sometimes, it is brined in plastic pots also. Use it widely for flavoring dishes like Caprese salad and in the form of a creamy upgrade to the bruschetta. Nevertheless, you can use it almost anywhere you require fresh mozzarella.
Famous Cheese of Italian
It is a famous cheese, not only in Italy but across the world. This cheese type is commonly famous as Parmesan. This grated cheese is the perfect accompaniment for the rice and pasta dishes. You can buy it as a huge block. It takes around two years for this variety to mature to the ideal flavor. Coming from the Emilia-Romagna region, this cheese becomes all the more flavorful with age.
Made of cow’s milk, Fontina hails from the Italian Alps. While it is manufactured all throughout the year, majorly valued Fontina is generally obtainable during the summer months. This is when the cows have a tasty feast of abundant and fresh grass that offers the cheese its inimitable and exclusive aroma. Mature Fontina seems to have a hard texture while young Fontina is soft. Regardless of what age it is, this cheese variety is famous for its rich, nutty and mild flavor. Do not take it to be an overpowering assortment. You can pair its flavor with different ingredients.
Creamy Cheese of Italian
Rich and smooth, Mascarpone is a creamy cheese that appears more like a dual cream in its texture, production, and taste. The cream from cow’s milk goes into making this variety. The cream is coagulated and thickened before using. The use of Mascarpone in chocolate-chip cake recipes is quite popular. You can also pair it with ripe fruits and spoon on simple desserts because of its rich fat content.
Provolone is a semi-soft cheese variety that is widely made in Veneto and Lombardy. You can get hold of two different types in this category, namely salt & sharp Piccante and sweet Dolce. This cheese form is generally used in different sandwich recipes.
All the different Italian cheese varieties detailed above are flavorful and interesting. Experiment and use them in your recipes. You will love cheese more than ever! Buon appetite!